Breaking News On Line

Last spring as I taught Introduction to Journalism, I decided to put the New York Times on the big screen because Eliot Spitzer was expected to resign as governor. As we waited, we watch Spitzer’s car wind through the streets of New York. I was reminded of O.J. Simpson’s Bronco on the freeways of California. Spitzer did finally appear and make his announcement before the bell rang. Now the Online News Association has chosen that coverage for an award:

Breaking News, Large Sites:, Eliot Spitzer’s resignation “The winner ‘hit it out of the park.’ The winner could have held the story but chose
not to. They broke the story on the Web and used the Web to keep it going. They
used the tools. For almost an entire news cycle nobody else had anything. It was
a remarkable story remarkably handled.”

Headlines for Print, Newspapers, Online, Web

The Web opens some doors for creativity in journalism. But it closes others. Take headlines, for example. On a printed page a headline has to be accurate, same as for the Web. But a print headline also has the context of pictures and related stories, so it can use word play to get a point across and entice the reader to stick around. But on the Web, a headline has to be specific to the Who, What, Where, or it may never be discovered by a search engine. It anticipates the synonyms people might use in searching. Spelling matters more than ever because computers look for exact matches and don’t match the brain for fuzzy logic. I could say more, but other bloggers have beaten me to it.

My headline on this post doesn’t even have a verb, but in print I’d write the following with a deck:

Web needs headlines you can find
In print, they’re right under your nose