Definition of Headline
* at the top of an article or page in a newspaper or magazine: a front-page headline * (the headlines) the most important items of news in a newspaper or a broadcast news bulletin * A headline is the title at the top of a newspaper article or a page in a book. * An example of a headline is the title of the day's most important news story, printed in large type. * a head of a newspaper story or article usually printed in large type and giving the gist of the story or article that follows * usually only four or five words. It tries to attract the interest of the reader by telling them what the story is about, in a short and interesting way.
"The best headlines both 'tell and sell', that is, they tell the reader quickly what the news is and persuade the reader that the story is worth reading." (Ludwig, Gilmore, 2005)
Headlines are usually read first and the information expressed is used strategically by the editors or headline writers.
The main purpose of headlinese is to communicate an idea by using as few short words as possible, nevertheless, the meaning of the headline can sometimes therefore be misleading or misinterpreted. The reason for using as few short words as possible is constraint space provided for headlines in newspapers.
A good newspaper headline should be able to truthful the content of the story it introduces and persuade its readers to devote time to reading. That can be achieved by several characteristic means of headlinese, which is a special language used besides the means of the block language to do the trick. Most of these means function as 'space savers'. Headline writers have to squeeze as few short words as possible in very limited space, but, simultaneously, their task is to catch truthfully the subject matter. It often leads to a misuse or complete omission of words. The meaning of the headline is sometimes rather difficult to interpret, therefore, and further...
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