Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
News outlets will need public support to battle governments set on chilling investigative journalism
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
April 11, 2013, 1:15 p.m.
LINK: gawker.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   April 11, 2013

Or maybe just: Denton: Shorter headlines.

Gawker Media boss Nick Denton is instructing the staff of his sites to cut down their headlines to a more manageable size. How manageable? No more than 70 characters. In a memo to staff, Denton says the “inescapable reality” is the sites need places like Google and Facebook to help drive traffic:

Why this drastic measure? Google and others truncate headlines at 70 characters. On the Manti Teo story, Deadspin’s scoop fell down the Google search results, overtaken by copycat stories with simpler headlines.

Deadspin’s headline was 118 characters. Vital information — “hoax” — was one of the words that was cut off. Our headline was less intelligible — and less clickworthy — than others. And Google demotes search results that don’t get clicked on.

“Nick Denton wants shorter headlines for Gawker Media stories” has 60 characters, so it would still meet the bar. “Denton: Shorter headlines” has just 25.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
News outlets will need public support to battle governments set on chilling investigative journalism
Recent police raids against journalists in Australia and the United States seek to instill fear in the minds of journalists and their sources — less to punish the last story than to discourage the next one.
As the Christchurch massacre trial begins, New Zealand news orgs vow to keep white supremacist ideology out of their coverage
“We’re going to do our job — we won’t chill our coverage in any way — but we’re not going to spread hate or misinformation.”
Populists prefer television to online news — but are sticking to Facebook as others leave
“In the U.S., though there are some outlets with populist audiences — such as Fox and HuffPost — it is clear that the majority of outlets have audiences that are predominately non-populist left, such as The New York Times.”