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Gabrielle Gonzalez

Writing 2
Professor De Piero
April 13, 2015
Read This, Not That

Comment [ZD1]: Cool title. Weird. But cool


weird.

When you look at the cover of a magazine or the front page of a newspaper what is the
first thing that you read? The answer is most likely one of the many headlines that can be found
throughout the text. No two headlines are exactly the same, yet they are all shaped in a way that
classifies them under the same genre. In Navigating Genres, Kerry Dirk mentions that all
genres matter because they shape our everyday lives (Dirk 27). This is especially true when we

Comment [ZD2]: Excellent! I love how you


included this at the start!

go online or read through a news article. Three common media outletsUSA Today, The New
York Times, and BBC News discuss the upcoming 2016 presidential election. Although
headlines are used in multiple sources, each of these contain the same conventions that allow
them to be categorized under the same genre while focusing on Hillary Clintons running for
president.
Headlines are rhetorical genres that are found in nearly everything that you read. They
are intended to catch the readers attention to persuade him or her into reading the complete
source of text. Headlines are short, one-sentence phrases that identify the topic of the reading.
Their font is bold and bigger than the body content. Headlines are found everywhere that news is
reported like newspapers, magazines, and articles for example. Television and websites also
contain headlines, whether youre watching the news or a breaking story flashes across your
screen. Headlines are straight to the point. The tone varies depending on the issue at hand. It can
either be comedic or serious whether youre reading a headline on a celebrity website versus a
headline on CNN, respectively. The audience for this genre is relatively broad because headlines

Comment [ZD3]: Not too shabby, GG! This is


arguable and its clear to me what
sources/evidence youre basing this on. If I could
push you just a bit further to be more explicit: what
conventions are we talking about? If you key your
reader in from the get-go in your thesis statement,
itll likely be easier for them (ie, me) to follow you.

Comment [ZD4]: Who is you? Me? Beware


of using vague personal pronouns in academic
writing.
Comment [ZD5]: Way to describe the little
details like these conventions!
Comment [ZD6]: Redundant?

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are almost everywhere we look. Audience ranges from your average college student searching
through articles online to an older citizen who enjoys reading the Sunday paper.
In todays press, one of the major headlines in most news sources is of the 2016

Comment [ZD7]: Im wondering if you missed


an opportunity to address studying/learning genres
in this paragraph.

presidential election. Three sources a magazine, a newspaper, and a website focus


specifically on Hillary Clintons decision to run. USA Today is a popular magazine that focuses
on current issues specifically in our nation. Its headline reads, If Hillary runs, What will Bill
do? This addresses her second run in the form of a question. The purpose of this is to propose a
situation to intrigue the audience into reading the story. In magazines, the headlines are not

Comment [ZD8]: Yep

always serious and often play on puns. A second headline states, Hillary Clinton to Announce
2016 Run for President on Sunday. This headline featured in The New York Times newspaper is
direct so the reader automatically knows what to expect from the article. Newspaper reports are
more factual and typically less biased than other sources. The style of this headline can be seen
through the capitalization of each word except for the prepositions. Lastly, the third headline
from BBC News website is as follows, Hillary Clinton: There were so many obstacles as a
woman. BBC News focuses more on Clintons election as a female rather than just as a
candidate. This is an interesting approach because it takes a different direction from the other
two headlines.
Each of these headlines are from different sources yet they contain the same conventions
and topic of discussion. They are one sentence that gets to the point before delving into Clintons
decision. They mention Hillarys name because she is the reason behind the headline.
Additionally, they provide an overview of each article in ten words or less. However, these
headlines also contain dissimilarities between them. Notice that there is less capitalization in the

Comment [ZD9]: GG, youre repeating yourself


a bt too much here.
You might eventually get to this, but someone might
be wondering: so what? Can you find a way(s) to
address that question? Why is it important for a
reader to be able to see through headlines?

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BBC headline than in the newspaper headline. Websites are typically less formal than printed
sources therefore it is okay for headlines not to follow a strict format. Magazines tend to have a
younger audience so they try to keep theirs the least boring as possible. This is why USA Today
uses the form of question. Rather than focusing solely on Hillary, its headline tries to direct our
attention to Bill while still discussing on her run. Furthermore Dirk also mentions that the rules
change as the genre changes (Dirk 31). This is an important point to keep in mind because not
every genre shares the same conventions as each other. These sources offer an example of how
their conventions determine that they are headlines and not something else. They may not be
copied word for word, yet they are similar enough that they can be classified under one genre.
It is important to study genre for multiple reasons. For starters, Dirk says that, Knowing
what a genre is used for can help people to accomplish goals (Dirk 26). Being able to recognize
different textual genres allows you to identify each of their purposes in order to better suit your

Comment [ZD10]: Weaving in the


scholars/professionals into the body of your
argument is enhancing it.

audience. One should learn the convention of genres to help him or her better understand tone

Comment [ZD11]: Big time! Great follow-up.

and how to persuade the reader. Additionally, Janet Boyd notes in Murder! (Rhetorically

Comment [ZD12]: So Im wondering: who? Is it


worth adding some context to this person so this
quote carries more weight?

Speaking) that, Audience is always highly important when one goes to write anything (Boyd
5). Newspapers, websites, and magazines keep this in mind when creating headlines to make
their stories stand out from the rest to engage your attention. Laura Bolin Carroll mentions in
Backpacks vs. Briefcases that we are constantly judging books by their cover especially when
deciding what and what not to read. Carroll continues to say that audiences are constantly
swayed by such sources into thinking or acting in certain ways. She also makes a good point by
saying being able to analyze these situations allows us to make savvy judgements (Carroll 61).
When we are able to recognize rhetoric in anything we read, we can then determine how this

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makes us feel. Personal reactions and those from society as a whole decide the success or failure
of media sources. Magazines and websites know that they have to tailor their stories based on
what the general public will find interesting to read.
The importance of genre is just as important to the writer as it is to the reader. Every day
people should have the ability to comprehend the styles of genre because we are constantly
reading. Whether it be a headline or not, every day we are either reading a Facebook post or the
back of a cereal box which happen to be separate genres of their own. Moreover, The New York
Times article continues to argue in favor of Clintons Democratic nomination. Understanding
this tactic makes it easier to understand the headlines purpose of persuasion. USA Todays story
answers the proposed situation, What will Bill do? by explaining he is taking the backseat
during her campaign. The headline asked a direct question and responds to it to satisfy the reader
who decided to read it. BBC News tries to grab its audience by adding strength to Clinton
considering she has been faced with gender inequality. All of these headlines use rhetoric to
stand in favor of Clinton. By being able to understand this type of genre, we are able to
essentially judge each of these sources beyond their covers.
Ultimately, the three news sources may differ in word choice yet they are all considered
headlines by the definition of that genre. Each of these headlines gages the reader on the current
political topic in todays media. They focused on the nomination of Hillary Clinton yet they each
take their own spin on it without veering too far off topic. Learning genre allows us to be able to
dissect the conventions in order to identify their purposes and audience. As the reader, we can
then know what to expect when reading through a newspaper or scrolling a website online.

Comment [ZD13]: Yes maam.

Works Cited
Dirk, Kerry. Navigating Genres. Writing Spaces: Reading on Writings, Volume 1. Library of
Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. 2010. 26-27-31. Print.
Boyd, Janet. Murder! (Rhetorically Speaking). Writing Spaces: Reading on Writings, Volume
2. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. 2011. 5. Print.
Carroll, Laura Bolin. Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps toward Rhetorical Analysis. Writing
Spaces: Reading on Writings, Volume 1. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication
Data. 2010. 61. Print.