Hedline Checklist from API
After you have written a headline, stop and ask yourself:
1. Does it tell the news clearly? If it's a news story, does the headline contain the latest developments? If it's a feature story, does it convey the basic sense of the story?
2. Is it compelling in approach, news angle and impact? Is it accurate and informative?
3. Does it contain concrete nouns and active-voice, present-tense verbs?
4. Does the tone fit the story, so that when there is emotion or a human element, irony or humor it is reflected in the head?
5. Does it avoid the obstacles to clarity: jargon, cliches, slang, headlinese, forced phrases, abbreviations, acronyms, obscure names and puns? Serious news stories should not contain any puns.
6. Does it have words or meanings that are as precise as possible?
7. Does it make each word count by being direct and dense with information?
8. Does it play fair by trying to reflect both sides of a story if an opposing view exists, or at least avoid overemphasizing one point of view?
9. Does it avoid danger of libel, take caution with sensitive material and include attribution when necessary?
10. Does it include the "where" when important? Does it signal any local involvement in the news when it may not be clear otherwise?
11. Does it avoid names that may not be well known?
12. Does it avoid elements of bad taste, double meanings, exaggeration and sensationalism?