Headline contest returns with two winners and words we hate

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The weekly headline stand-up and contest was absent last week, so there was some making up to do. Two winners were announced — one for each week. I doubled up on tips, too.

Tip 1: Be sensitive
Consider the content carefully. A lot of stories, like ones involving death or bodily harm, need a straight news headline. We shouldn’t be juvenile, not everything is fit to be joked about, we should be respectful and sensitive.

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Tip 2: Words to hate
We tend to use a lot of words in headlines that we don’t actually say. Let’s aim for conversational . Avoid using these words: Stymied, undergo, slain, in wake of, stirs, mulls, nods, taps, probes, nab, amid, seek, still, and remain.

Also, avoid using “under investigation.” The more active “being investigated” will almost always work in place of that and it is technically correct.

Headline of the week | Oct. 16
Man walks out of court after judge declares him legally dead - By Jillian Sederholm

Headline of the week | Oct. 23
Meet your new jellyfish overlords - By Jason Fields 

Other contenders
The Black Death isn’t quite dead in these places - By Jason Fields
George Clooney wants you to drink this coffee - By Jason Fields
This is what it looks like to be riding in a horse race - By Jeremy Binckes
Not affected by the shutdown yet? Just wait. - By Amber Phillips 
How an 8-year-old could help cure cancer - By Matt Grisafi
11 actual crises Congress has been ignoring - By Amber Phillips
You’ve never seen smog this bad before - By Jason Fields
Dramatic video shows woman’s rescue after train track fall - By Jillian Sederholm

Every Thursday, deputy breaking news editor Karen Workman awards the best headline written by Thunderdome staff and shares a tip. The ‘best headline’ is chosen by a top-secret panel of anonymous voters. The purpose is simple: To reward headlines that are clicky and shareable.

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