Newspaper Asks Readers to Stop Buying Print Edition

May 16, 2010 by Thad McIlroy

It’s Sunday, so a good day to keep blog entries light and fun. I should save serious for weekdays.

I bought the June 2010 issue of ConsumerReports the other day. The inside back cover has a regular offering called Selling It: Goofs, Glitches, Gotchas featuring humorous reader-submitted illustrations of products and promotions that perhaps never should have come to market. Here’s one I could identify with:

sellingit-letters3

 According to the magazine: “Apparently, the Kansas City Star—a newspaper, after all—realized that the top envelope sent the wrong message. The bottom envelope, our reader said, arrived later.”

The overwrought headline for this post is inspired by David Carr’s Media Equation column in today’s New York Times. Titled “Taylor Momsen Did Not Write This Headline,” Carr offers a humorous analysis of how headline writing has radically changed from the days of print-only newspapers to today’s web. “Headlines in newspapers and magazines were once written with readers in mind, to be clever or catchy or evocative,” Carr writes. “Now headlines are just there to get the search engines to notice.”

Indeed Carr’s piece is already #1 in Google’s search results. (If like Carr and most of my readers you’re wondering who Taylor Momsen is check Carr’s article…or just Google her [that sounds slightly obscene].)

Carr concludes with a reminder of one of the great all-time headlines: “People who worry that Web headlines dumb down public discourse are probably right. But some of the classics would still work. Remember “Headless Body in Topless Bar,” perhaps the most memorable New York Post headline ever? It’s direct, it’s descriptive, and it’s oh-so-search-engine-friendly. And not a Taylor Momsen in sight.”

(If you enjoy funny headlines as much as I do, a Google search leads to some good sites.)

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