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10 questions to help you write better headlines

I already have some handouts on writing titles for web pages and writing titles for college papers. I don’t (at the moment) have a full handout on writing headlines for news stories. In this age of clickbait (“Clickbait Tactics Drive the Writing of Headlines on ABC News,” 2015), revisiting Poynter’s advice on writing traditional news headlines is worthwhile. Clickbait headlines generate visits, but they don’t generate shares or trust. If…

Telling Trump’s Story to Children: For Book Publishers, It’s Tricky

This is a challenging writing task. Presidential biographies are a staple of children’s book publishing, and of classrooms across the country. Nonfiction for children is a surging category, particularly in light of a Common Core mandate that schools put greater emphasis on it in their curriculum. Publishers like Penguin Young Readers, Scholastic and Time for Kids chronicle stories like the rise of Mr. Obama from Illinois state senator to president,…

Computer scientist Leslie Lamport to [Brandeis] grads: If you can’t write, it won’t compute

I like introducing my English majors to coding. Here’s a computer scientist who’s returning the favor, advocating the importance of writing skills. “If you succeed in attaining a position that allows you to do something great, if you do something that really is great, and if you realize that it’s great, there’s still one more hurdle: You have to convince others that it’s great,” he told the graduates. “This will…

Prototypes in Technical Writing: What are They?

Many a high school student has muddled through a book report in a single caffeine-fueled sitting, but successful research term papers or quarterly progress reports require planning. In technical writing, a prototype might be a full table of contents (with summaries for each major section) and one or two complete chapters.   If conducting a survey is an important part of your project, your prototype might be a complete survey of a…