Group Highlight: Is your story hiding its magnificence below a colorless headline?


A compelling headline has an “engagement hook” that alerts the story’s matter with out gifting away the whole story. Utilizing headlines from Every day Kos, Hayden described what constitutes a strong headline and the way this differs from clickbait that over-promises or misrepresents your story. She gave an instance from a 2015 story of hers that arrange the story’s premise with out revealing the small print, thus attractive readers to click on by way of to share within the schadenfreude: “GOP congresswoman gets surprise on Facebook after asking constituents for Obamacare horror stories.” Evaluate that to MSNBC’s headline for a similar story: “McMorris Rogers gets an earful on ACA.

Don’t be in a rush, Hayden advises. Take time to consider what the story’s core message is to readers, then write a number of headline variations for every story with out making an attempt to craft an ideal headline the primary time. Maybe you may rope in family and friends for his or her opinions. DK headlines typically come from group brainstorming periods the place individuals bounce concepts off one another and refine the headline.

DK employees writers put together 5 to 10 headlines for every story earlier than selecting one which grabs probably the most engagement. “You’ll know while you hit the suitable one,” Hayden asserts. “It’s not at all times fairly, however every headline thought results in one other till we get that slam dunk concept that stands out.”

Just a few weeks in the past, I noticed after publication that the headline for my rescue roundup version misrepresented the core message. Right here is my preliminary headline: “Group Highlight: By Every day Kos’ many metamorphoses, Rescue Rangers have seen all of it.” That story primarily mentioned the totally different entrance pages through the years and the Group’s heated response to every change, though I additionally talked about that we’ve been rescuing tales since DK’s early years. So, I modified the headline’s emphasis: “Community Spotlight: Tuning in to Daily Kos’ many metamorphoses.” The improved headline additionally complemented the lead picture to snag readers’ consideration, one other matter coated within the workshop.

Hayden provided a number of further tips and examples.

  • Don’t at all times title names. Readers might not acknowledge the particular person’s title however will know their position. For instance, don’t title Tate Reeves, as an alternative use his title, Mississippi governor. Evaluate the headline used initially—“What occurs while you ask Gov. Reeves his plan to fight COVID-19? You get a legislative calendar”—to the ultimate selection—“Watch Mississippi governor give the oddest defense for his COVID-19 incompetency.”

  • Write as if readers are new to the neighborhood and web site. Don’t use inside jokes or nicknames—assuming individuals know them is a turn-off for brand new readers and makes individuals hesitant to leap in and become involved.

  • Keep away from ableist language (loopy, silly, lame, fool, and many others). They don’t belong within the headline or within the story.

  • Be playful but correct, have some enjoyable with the headline. Every day Kos isn’t the stuffy conventional media; it’s okay to interrupt the foundations, however don’t embody profanity within the title as that will get DK blocked by search engines like google and yahoo. Right here’s how DK launched one matter: “Fox News’ Lou Dobbs tries to rally Trump support with online poll—FAILS hilariously.” In distinction, right here’s The Hill’s headline for a similar story: “Lou Dobbs Twitter ballot backfires after most vote in opposition to Trump firing Mueller.”

Right here’s some bonus data that wasn’t coated within the workshop, name it lagniappe—the official Every day Kos headline type. For the blurbs, I edit the headlines of all rescued tales to convey them into alignment with DK type.

  • Capitalize solely the primary letter of the primary phrase, correct nouns, and, after a colon, the primary letter of the primary phrase

  • For quotations in headlines, use single ‘quote’ marks not “double.”

  • No interval on the finish of headlines. If it’s a two-sentence headline, put a interval solely on the finish of the primary.

Yow will discover extra ideas and tips within the story writing workshop video: storytelling fundamentals, discovering your matter, and structuring the story by Managing Editor of Group Content material Jessica Sutherland; the impression of publishing on DK together with examples from Content material Strategist Cara Zelaya; and Hayden’s part on higher engagement by way of sturdy headlines and pictures. And Writer Religion Gardner moderated the workshop, kicking it off with knowledge concerning the tales DK publishes—56,511 tales from Jan. 2020 by way of August 2021—and feedback—5,864,404.

It may be formidable to launch your story right into a stream of others that features skilled employees writers. However metrics show that a number of the hottest and extensively shared tales have come from the Group, they usually aren’t all one sentence plus a viral tweet rapidly tossed collectively and well-liked due to a blue-check character’s zinger.

Take time to form your story, devise a fascinating headline—AND HAVE FUN.

11 STORIES rescued FROM 1 PM PDT FRIDAY, Sept. 24 to 1 PM PDT Friday, October 1, 2021

Our rescued tales this week embody one Rescued to Really helpful, two by the identical creator, and a primary rescue for an additional creator.

Group Highlight’s mission is to make sure that the best stories from the Every day Kos Group aren’t neglected. We encourage members who write glorious tales with authentic views to maintain writing by selling work that isn’t receiving sufficient consideration. We additional assist a wholesome Group by not rescuing subjects and particular tales designed to impress bitter remark battles, though we relish sturdy arguments introduced pretty and backed up by credible sources.

Excellent news: You don’t have to go looking to search out our rescued tales! The nightly Information Roundup, an Open Thread revealed six days per week at 7:30 PM PDT, contains hyperlinks to every day’s rescued tales.

Reminder: The numbers in parentheses after every creator’s title point out the 12 months they joined Every day Kos, what number of tales they’ve revealed, and what number of we’ve rescued.

Insidious bothsiderism of ‘The Social Dilemma’ by greenandblue (2011-91-14)

Greenandblue praises The Social Dilemma documentary whereas detailing the way it falls brief by failing to position social networking in historic context. Whereas the film additionally fails to query capitalism, even worse is the both-sidesing. “They discuss fact and details like they’re wispy fogs of indecipherable symbology which might be interpreted equally nicely throughout our political spectrum.” By failing to acknowledge that one facet is making an attempt to heal the nation and the opposite is actively making an attempt to cease that therapeutic, the film performs into and even exacerbates the present divisions in our society.

Oregon Republicans rescue Democrats from themselves in redistricting fight by AdmiralNaismith (2004-332-37)

The creator affords an in-depth take a look at the dynamic between Democrats and Republicans in Oregon, the place Democrats management the redistricting course of. Regardless of this benefit, nonetheless, the Republicans have stonewalled repeatedly, denying Democrats the quorum wanted to maneuver ahead. Just lately, when the Republicans refused to barter, the speaker eliminated them from the committee. The Democrats drew up a map providing a 4-2 break up, and the Republicans rejected it! “Assuming they don’t come again by the top of the day Monday, they are going to have ended their means to take part, and price themselves a Congressional seat and a few legislative seats, JUST for the good thing about crying crocodile tears and shouting the fiction that Oregon Democrats are too partisan.”

Pennsylvania Supreme Court and other judicial elections by deadpan (2014-52-?)

Supreme, commonwealth, and superior courts all have elections this 12 months. Deadpan explains the open positions, candidates, and voter demographics for every election. “We noticed final fall the significance of getting pro-democracy judges. … In PA, a Trumpy decide on our second-most-powerful court docket, Patricia McCullough, agreed with the fascistic lawsuits that mail-in voting is unconstitutional and tried to dam certification of the election. However as a result of the PA Supreme Court docket is run by pro-democracy judges, she was swiftly overruled and the election licensed.”

365 Days of Climate Awareness 45: El Nino-Southern Oscillation by agramante (2009-62-7)

El Niño and La Niña happen because of “large-scale wind circulation” within the Pacific Ocean “referred to as the Walker circulation.” Agramante explains how this “cycle of wind and ocean temperatures” impacts seasonal temperatures and rainfall, significantly within the western U.S.

365 Days of Climate Awareness 47: Physical properties of ocean water by agramante (2009-62-7) Second story rescued this week

“Water is … simply so essential. The fundamentals by no means cease mattering.” On this story, the creator explains how salinity pertains to conductivity and the way that differs throughout Earth’s oceans. “Probably the most fundamental instruments for oceanographers is the CTD, brief for Conductivity-Temperature-Depth. In analysis, the CTD is used to deduce density. In utilized science it’s used extra typically to find out the pace of sound in water, to be used in acoustical functions. Electrical conductivity is measured as a proxy for salinity.”

Some dissent on the WaPo op-ed, ‘Solar Energy’s Luster Dims in Rural Ohio’ by Gary Abernathy by Rory PNG (2021-3-2) Rescued to Really helpful

Utilizing an argument/dissent format, Rory PNG dissects a pro-fossil gas essay to determine the fallacies and straw man logic failures in 10 rah-rah coal and oil arguments. “Argument #7: what if photo voltaic PV decreases property values? What in the event that they make the land poisonous for future crops? Dissent: [grits teeth and resolves to play nice] Right here we actually begin to get into the weeds of actually dangerous religion arguments. That is nearly as absurd as if the creator requested ‘what if the photo voltaic makes individuals flip communist?’ Sigh.”

Friday Night Beer Blog: Sampling the brews, food, and scenery of the European Alps by pines of rome (2016-5-1) First rescue

Half travelogue and half beer weblog, pines of rome shares a visit to the Alps of Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland and native beers encountered within the wild. “I’m primarily an open air particular person, with explicit curiosity in mountain and lake nation. The vast majority of this diary will present open air surroundings and small cities alongside the way in which, with their culinary and beverage samplings.”

DistrictBuilder is a free and open-source redistricting tool by Alonso del Arte (2015-927-45)

Since final 12 months was a census 12 months, 2021 is a redistricting 12 months. Populations transfer round, altering the composition of legislative districts, which implies reconfiguring boundaries. Alonso del Arte describes the method of utilizing DistrictBuilder to attract a map that meets the authorized requirement for equal inhabitants and contiguity, plus 4 non-compulsory metrics. After going by way of the redesign course of with readers, he concludes that it “is a fairly good device for giving peculiar residents an thought of what kind of issues go into redistricting.”

RIP Cleveland Indians, I knew ye well by Mitch D (2018-6-2)

A private story about how figuring out with the Cleveland Indians helped Mitch D survive a tough childhood. “I grew up on a farm in Missouri with household, associates and neighbors being diehard St. Louis Cardinal baseball followers … I worshiped a staff that, again within the Fifties, have been nearly at all times within the gutter. I nonetheless bear in mind a classmate chiding me for selecting a ‘shedding staff named after a loser race.’ I instructed him I wished to assist the underdogs however nothing might be farther from the reality. The Cleveland Indians have been my heroes, as a result of unbeknownst to them (or anybody else for that matter), I belonged to their tribe.”

Charles Johnson’s 1990 novel, ‘Middle Passage,’ still speaks volumes on race & white nationalism by theaccidentalrabbi (2015-4-1) First rescue

The creator begins by noting he needs this e-book have been required studying in highschool, and continues with a synopsis of the novel and characters and reward for the writing. “This e-book is filled with lavishly written sentences that embody all types of interval language, in addition to nautical phrases and slang from many alternative sub-cultures.” Theaccidentalrabbi additionally finds parallels with what’s occurring within the U.S. proper now. “I used to be practically knocked out of my chair by a passage through which the captain of the Republic, the ‘ruthless and comically bigoted’ Ebenezer Falcon, describes his worry of what would possibly turn into of America if white supremacy and institutionalized racism lose management of the nation.”

Fighting dragons by vjr7121 (2017-198-26)

Utilizing the novel and film Large Fish, whose subtitle, “a ‘novel of mythic proportions, didn’t oversell,” vjr7121 imagines the story as “an allegory for the American journeywho we actually are and what acquired us up to now.” Outlandish tales instructed by a father within the novel remind vjr7121 of “the story of America from its founding … outlandish guarantees which might be so arduous to maintain as a result of they’re so valued and past our present understandings. Ours is a historical past made up of such guarantees which have but to be saved. A lot of what has been written about us has been massaged and elaborated whereas our shortcomings are trivialized or deferred. It’s what we do with unkept guarantees.”

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is devoted to discovering nice writing by neighborhood members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.

  • Every day’s assortment of rescues is reported within the Information Roundup revealed on the entrance web page at 7:30 PM PDT.
  • So as to add our rescued tales to your Stream, click on on the phrase FOLLOW within the left panel at our main page or click on on Reblogs and skim them instantly on the group web page.
  • You may also discover a checklist of our rescued tales by clicking HERE.

An version of our rescue roundup publishes each Saturday at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) to the Current Group Tales part and to the entrance web page at 9:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT).