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Copyreading and Headline Writing Discussed by Elma Concepcion A.

Herrera Division of Tacloban City

Copy editing or Copyreading is editing a copy written by a reporter before it gets to the typesetter. It is much like the work of an English teacher correcting compositions, except that the copyreader uses symbols universally known by printers.

Preparing a Copy (Reporter) Use a typewriter or a computer. Type on one side of the sheet only and double space. Begin the story (for news) about three inches from the top of the page. Indent deeply at least 5 spaces the beginning of each paragraph. Identify on the first page of the story with a slug line.
name of paper word/s to identify the story reporter date

Type the word More at the bottom of each page except


the last, where 30 or # is indicated.

Duties of a Copy Reader: The job of the copyreader may be condensed into one short sentence: Make sure its accurate. Copy editors do many things, but their most essential function is to watch for mistakes. A copyreader goes over the story once to get a general idea of what it is all about. This will likewise help him formulate the headline, which is part of his job.

Then he goes over it a second time to do any of the following

as the case may be: Straighten out grammatical construction. Shorten sentences and tighten paragraphs. See that the papers style requirement are strictly followed. Check names, addresses, titles, designations, identification, figures, totals, etc. Rewrite the lead whenever necessary but must never tamper with the facts unless sure of his correction. Delete all opinions, specifications, and statements which are without attribution of sources. Watch out for libelous statements. Cross out adjectives which tend to make a story sound overwritten. Challenge facts, claims, or reports when they sound anomalous, illogical, & incredible. Check slug lines and paging sequences. Write headlines.

Writing Headlines Headline writing is considered a nearly

impossible task because it entails choosing 5 to seven words that would tell an entire story consisting of five hundred words. And this must be done according to a rather strict set of rules. The headlines job is to lure the reader into the story. It must be done honestly, not promising something that isnt in the story. It must use lively, interesting and sparkling verbs, cramming as much information into those words as possible.

Type Size: Heads are measured by points. A point is 1/72 of an inch high.

Thus a 72-point head is 1 inch high, a 36 point head is inch high, and 18- point head is high. For body type, the type of the story itself is set in, is usually 8 point, 9 point, or a maximum of 12 points. Width: An example of a technical instruction for a headline is the following. 3 20 BB UN w/ KICKER The first number (3) means that the head will run across three columns of the page. The second number (20) stands for the type size to be used. BB refers to Bodoni Bold, a type family with the corresponding weight (how thick and black the letters will appear on the page). UN stand for universe a type of style. Kicker refers to the preliminary head. The line below refers to the number of lines or decks your headline will have.

Supreme Court Ruling - (Kicker) Govt plan to register aliens unconstitutional (main headline) The Unit Count System: Making headlines fit into the space and at the same time tell story

requires skill and a lot of patience. This numerical system is very useful to headline writers. Letter Count Letter Count Capital I 1 Spaces Capital M, W, O 2 Numerals 1 All other capitals 1 The numeral 1 Lower Case j, l, t, f, i Question Mark, dash 1 Lower Case w, m 1 All other punctuations All other lowercase letters 1

KINDS OF HEADLINES A one-line headline is basically a single, unbroken sentence.


Typically, the one-line headline is a teller.

NBI mounts manhunt for Dacer slay


A two-line headline is one sentence broken into two lines. Each line is counted separately. A gap of white space is unsightly at the end of one line of a two-line headline.

HALLOWEEN Flooding Devastates Residents


A three-line headline is one sentence broken into three lines. HRMS choir wins first place at music festival
Typically these are teller headlines. Remember that each line counts separately.

A deck is a secondary headline that is positioned under the main

headline and is typically a teller. The deck can go under another teller headline. The deck always adds information and is helpful in explaining complicated stories.

Cancelled permit foils annual parade Job fair to replace Homecoming tradition
The hammer is a short phrase or even a single word that is set in a
point size much larger than the headline underneath.

STUCK Juniors denied off- campus Lunch lines longer than ever

A tripod is a combination of a large word or phrase followed by a two-line headline set in type half the size.
12 seniors selected as high

Meriting recognition: Achievers on NSAT

HEADLINE CONSTRUCTION RULES Headline-writing rules are continually changing among professional newspapers and magazines. The New York Times, for example, now uses articles such as a, an and the more often than it used to. The use of past tense verbs is more accepted to make sure the headline is clear. Still most publications adhere to the following guidelines:

Avoid padding . A, and, the, their, his or her should not be used in Director calls (the) possibility of drug testing athletes
highly unlikely

hard news headlines. Notice the delegation of the word brackets in the following headline.

However, use of the in the following headline is necessary to keep


the headline from sounding awkward.

All in the family Students suffer when mothers battle disease Use active verbs in teller Sick and tired Rare disease drains seniors energy, health Omit forms of the verb to be, if possible. Notice the correct
deletions of the words in brackets.

Senior party preparations (are) underway as graduation


nears flu bug attacks; many absences (are) reported

Opt for the active voice over the passive voice whenever possible.
The first headline shows the correct use of the active voice; the second the correct use of the passive voice.

Debate team ranks first in district, state contests

First 09 graduate given top awards at commencement

Use the present tense to describe past events. This is known as historical present. Congress approves P87 billion budget The past tense is showing up in more publications, especially when it enhances clarity. In the following Dallas Morning News headline, past tense is used because the killers were dead by the time the story ran. Pair made video before Littleton killings Use the infinitive form of the verb for future events. Any other tense would only confuse the reader Craw-space renovation To begin within month Do not separate the following items from one line to the next. Avoid these breaks: Preposition and its objects PNU Arts students pressured to Finish portfolios, pass exam Parts of the same verb Science club presidents to Promote plastic recycling Parts of the names that belong together Senior waits 10 hours for Star Wars premier in pouring rain Abbreviations Alum wins NC AA top honor Noun and its adjacent adjective HHS Band involves feeder-school Bands to boost future participation Compound words Nat Perez elected vicePresident of Creative Club

Dont repeat words in the headline Test scores fall Students test results fall for third consecutive year

Generally use numerals, although numbers through nine may be spelled out Tennis team dominates: Eight head to leagues after an almost flawless season Senior class collects 123 pints in blood drive nouns, has become the preferred style of most publications. Irmo experiences two fires in two days

Down style, or capitalizing only the first word of a headline and all proper
Instead of general words, as in the first headline, opt for specific words that
fit the same space. The second headline has been written with stronger, more precise language. New bill requires increased language requirements DepEd may require Spanish in high school

Punctuate headlines correctly: omit periods Commas are often used to replace and. In all other cases, Standard
English usage rules that apply for commas apply in headlines. Yellow Ribbon Week reminds friends, family to listen Use the semicolon to attach two related thoughts, Floods destroy field house; cleanup to take three weeks Use single quotation marks rather than double. Putting the boot down Do not use obscure or unnecessary abbreviations. Wrong: New FHS principal changes discipline Right: New principal changes discipline Never abbreviate a day of the week. Never use a day of the week and the date together Do not abbreviate months except when a numeral follows (Jan. 27)

Write nothing in the headline that isnt in the story. If you know

something interesting or important has been omitted, insert it in the story. Do not use names unless the persons are commonly known. Use a synonym that would be more meaningful. Avoid placing headlines and nonrelated pictures near each other, especially when an unexpected connection may be perceived.

Ferguson, Donald and Jim Patten. Journalism Today!, Fourth Edition. Illinois: National Textbook Company Malinao, Alito. Journalism for Filipinos. Mandaluyong: National Bookstore.

School Paper Advising.

References: Cruz, Cecillano-Jose. Campus Journalism and

Copyread and give a head of not more than 37 counts. Give

printers directions. ___________________________ The alone fatality were identified by Arson Investigators as Andres Donamico 32 who suffocated smoke that filled his house in Barangay damayang lagi. The flames however did not reached his home. A MAN DIED WHILE THREE others were injured in a twelve hour fire that raged from Sunday P.M. until early yesterday morning on E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave in Quezon City. Probers said Donamico was reportedly drunk and sleep when the fire out broke. Arson Investigator SFO1 Rosendo Cabille said the blaze destroyed around eight-hundred homes and leaves 3,000 families home-less as it ragged for more than twelve hours. The injured was identified as Anthony Jose who suffered from lack of oxygen, Romel Pilbe who sustained burnt on hi chest and Victorio Almen, who suffered 2nd Degree burns on his left hand. The fire began at around 3:47 p.m. on Sunday and soon reached Task forced echo. The damage to property was estimated to aroud P10m.

Fire fighters were able to place it under

control at around 7:50 p.m.but it was only put out at 4?22 a.m. yesterday, cabillo said Write a summary lead based on the following information, which is from an Associated Press story.

There has been a police shooting in Hollywood,

Fla. A man was killed after an officer fired an M-26 Taser stun gun and hit the man in the chest. The stun gun shoots probes that transmit 50,000 volts of electricity into the body for up to five seconds. Police said the man was behaving strangely in from of a hotel Officers shot him with the stun gun, then wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him because he had not been subdued.

The man, who police believed was on drugs,

refused to get on his knees and out his hands behind his back when police arrived at the hotel Sunday. When he was shot, the man ripped the darts out of his chest and went after a police officer, a police spokesman said. Thats why officers wrestled him to ground and handcuffed him. Officers quickly noticed the man was having trouble breathing and called paramedics. When rescue crews arrived, they found the suspect on the ground in handcuffs with no heartbeat. He died at a hospital.

Write a summary lead based on the

following information, which is from a story in the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. A 71-year old woman was walking to her car in the parking lot of Skyway Plaza, near 62nd Avenue S and 10th Street, Sunday afternoon. According to St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Rollin Lightfield, two men came up to the woman and tried to steal her purse.

Write a summary lead based on the following information, which is

from a story in the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. A 71-year old woman was walking to her car in the parking lot of Skyway Plaza, near 62nd Avenue S and 10th Street, Sunday afternoon. According to St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Rollin Lightfield, two men came up to the woman and tried to steal her purse. The incident occurred shortly before 4 p.m. The attempt to steal her purse was unsuccessful because the woman refused to hand it over to the two men. After the unsuccessful attempt, the two men got into the a gray Oldsmobile with tinted windows, Lightfield said. He said that as the woman walked to a store for help, the two men drove by her and shot her in the lower back. The woman then walked into a hardware store, where she asked clerks to call police. Lightfield said that she was not injured seriously.