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When Headlines Go Bad

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 9th December 2009

Bad Headline: GWAVA Releases Version 3.1 of its Novell GroupWise Disaster
Bad Headline: GWAVA Releases Version 3.1 of its Novell GroupWise Disaster

Newspaper editors have it easy — whatever they write, the printers print. On the Internet it’s not that easy. On the Internet, Atom/RSS feeds of articles mean that editors can’t control the presentation on the reader’s computer. That makes it all the more important to craft headlines so that they can’t be misconstrued, or at least so that they can be truncated safely.

The headline I read was GWAVA Releases Version 3.1 of its Novell GroupWise Disaster, which doesn’t sound like an appealing product worth buying. GWAVA’s full headline was GWAVA Releases Version 3.1 of its Novell GroupWise Disaster Recovery Product. Sadly, even the headline on GWAVA’s web site is mangled, running the main headline into the secondary headline:

Even full headlines have problems of their own
Even full headlines have problems of their own

"Too Cool To Do Drugs" pencil
Sharpen this pencil, I double-dog dare ya!

Pencil manufacturers should take note also: As the Too Cool To Do Drugs pencil is sharpened, the message transforms to Cool To Do Drugs, the semi-Hamlettian To Do Drugs, eventually to just Do Drugs and finally the non-judgmental declaration Drugs. Just the kind of thing that will go over well at school.

–Bob.

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