by Emily Miller and Michael Pachter title How To Write a Titles Description article By Emily Miller, Michael Pachiaras and Maggie O’Malley, The New Jersey Times and The Republic newspaper, Fort Collins, Colo., Sept. 14, 2018: In a recent paper, The Wall Street Journal reported that “a small group of Wall Street analysts” have written a piece entitled “How to write a title description in the New York Time newspaper.”
According to the WSJ article, the analysts wrote: “To create a title-descriptive description, we looked for the right combination of characteristics that convey a particular message to the reader.”
For instance, we could write, “The headline says that the article is about a particular event,” or “The title of the article tells the reader that it is about something very important,” or maybe we could add, “And the reader will get a sense of the topic and of its significance.”
For the article, The Journal also described the research that was done on the topic.
“In particular, we sought to understand whether a reader could perceive the information about the topic in a way that is not only useful to readers but also in the sense of conveying a specific message,” the Journal article said.
For example, it is important to write that a reader will be surprised and intrigued by what they read, and that the story does not offer “inspiration” for others.
“We looked for a title that conveys the kind of information that a readership might need to fully appreciate the content,” the article continued.
“It’s not enough to just give a title, we also want to give a reader a sense that the information is valuable to them, and then we want to convey that the reader can also see the significance of that information in context with the story.”
So, what are the qualities that the authors of the New Jersey article identified?
“We identified the following elements: a title should convey the idea that the topic is of great importance and the reader is given the information that the content provides,” the WSJC article said, adding that it would be important for the title description to also be “compelling, engaging and persuasive.”
According the WSJP article, it was also important for “a title to convey the sense that readers should not be fooled into believing the information given by the author.”
For example: “If the reader sees the information as just a series of statistics, or an explanation of an abstract, or a list of keywords, the title could mislead the reader into believing that the writer has no clue about the subject matter, that the author does not have a strong understanding of the subject, or that the subject is not of importance.”
In addition, “a clear statement that the title should be read by the reader” is important, “especially when the title is meant to be read on the page in a single sitting,” the journal said.
The article did not provide any examples of other titles that were considered as “significantly better” than titles that did not have these qualities, but it said, “This research is the first in a series on the importance of using titles to convey a message to readers.”
“If we can do that, we can really move the needle and make it easier for readers to understand what’s going on in the world and how we got to where we are,” one of the authors, Mark Waddell, told the WSJB.
“And that will also lead to more effective policies, because you can now see the world through the eyes of policymakers,” he added.
“If you get this right, we’re not going to get this wrong.”
“We’ve made it a habit of writing the title and description of a news story that is relevant to what we’re writing about,” Waddill said.
“I can’t emphasize enough the importance that we place on that.
The title is a huge part of that.”
According To The Wall St Journal article, other people have used titles to describe important subjects.
For instance: “The New York Post’s editors have written about the power of climate change and its effects on the planet, which is why the title on this story is Climate Change: The Big Picture.”
And: “On this story, we had to come up with a title so that the readers would be able to easily identify who the authors were and how important the topic was,” Wadell said.
As for the Times article, Waddel added that the editors did not like the title that they came up with and decided to change it.
“The Times title description is a lot more interesting than the article that came out of that conference, which I think we would have liked to have published,” he said.
What are your thoughts on the title-description distinction?
Do you think that title-dictionaries should be used as primary text-editors and