Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Watch out for headlines, they may not mean what they seem.

Posted Saturday, August 5, 2017, at 2:15 PM
View 6 comments
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  • Having written many articles for magazines and newspapers over the past 40 years, I want to disabuse the notion that the headlines have any purpose other than drawing attention. The headlines are rarely if ever written by the person who wrote the article, and it is not uncommon for them to be completely the opposite of the actual content.

    The people who write articles are frequently blamed for the headlines, but they have no control.

    -- Posted by lazarus on Sat, Aug 5, 2017, at 5:06 PM
  • I have heard there are "specialists" writing headline Ned and also editors who can often change an article to be something totally different than intended. That would end mybassociation with a company/editor/publisher.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Aug 5, 2017, at 6:46 PM
  • The headlines (or article titles) can sometimes be strange, but I will say that most editors I have encountered have done a pretty good job. Most of the time, editing is done for space, and a good editor can shrink an article without losing its basic meaning and flavor. These days, the pressure is on the writer to make things shorter, because today's reader has a shorter attention span, and likes colorful, busy pages with lots of pictures and graphics, and less print to read. It seems like it would be easier to write less for the same pay, but you still have the same amount of information to convey. Editors who do not do a good job do not encourage you to submit to the same place again, but once they have paid you for the article, it is really theirs to do with as they will. If someone changed my meaning, I would not submit anything else to them.

    By the way, I want to thank you for the juicy, delicious tomatoes. Business has been so good this summer, and kept me so busy, that I did not even realize I had missed out on that special summer treat; thick red slices of juicy vine-ripe tomatoes. Those things you buy in the store are not even really tomatoes. Yours were wonderful.

    -- Posted by lazarus on Tue, Aug 8, 2017, at 11:46 AM
  • Thanks for the compliment. I would not have even grown any if not for a friend who encouraged me with seedlings of heirloom plants. Our grocery stores have to source from so far off now that the tomatoes are grown for storage and handling more than taste.

    Regulations may also keep them from local sourcing so getting them from a backyard enthusiast, or farmer markets (in-season)are about the only option if you cannot grow them yourself.

    For several weeks now we have been giving them away as fast as we can. Just gave a bunch to a visiting nurse which will give me a few days to re-stock. :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Aug 8, 2017, at 1:51 PM
  • So a friend of mine just did a story for a national magazine. I read the story, and saw that there were several "facts" that were a little off. And the emphasis of the story was different than the one he had talked about writing.

    It was not that the article was significantly changed. They just inserted additional material in one part, and edited down another. In the course of doing so, they changed some detail, and did not do so with total accuracy. No one, except an expert, would ever know the difference. Neither the tone nor meaning of the article was changed. None the less, he was not happy. He did not want people he had interviewed thinking he got arcane facts wrong. His comment to me was that "I had never written for them before... and I am not likely to do so again." "Not likely" is that concession to adult reality. If they offer the right money, you write for them again.

    If someone changes your meaning, then there is no right money to write for them again.

    -- Posted by lazarus on Sat, Aug 12, 2017, at 1:29 PM
  • I've had that happen when I was the one being interviewed. Most of the facts were right but the end result made me call a few folks to clarify what I had actually said.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Aug 12, 2017, at 8:04 PM
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