Split the ticket

When writing multiple-line headlines, should copy editors consider how they break from line to line?

Awkward “splits” used to be something to avoid, though some editors have said that the readers don’t notice the difference. Editors writing headlines for the Web don’t seem to worry about this as much their print counterparts.

This print example splits the adjective (“hot”) and the noun it modifies (“topic”). That’s a no-no, according to this tip sheet on headline writing. Does the top line of this headline create a false impression about the story’s content, at least for a moment?

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One thought on “Split the ticket

  1. I’ve heard it said by people I respect in this industry that proper hed-deck splits are a non-rule akin to split infinitives or conjunction sentence-starters. That may be, but that doesn’t mean that taking care with deck splits is a practice that should be jettisoned. There is something to be said for smooth, elegant segues — this is the headline counterpart to a deft story transition. To me, it’s usually worth the bother.

    Jim Thomsen
    http://jimthomsen.wordpress.com/

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