Why online headlines are different

Chris Kirk

A commenter on our website have noticed that our online headlines are occasionally different than our print headlines in the newspaper, even for stories that are exactly the same online as they are in print.

The Daily sometimes differentiates print headlines from online headlines to optimize each headline for each medium.

Print headlines are highly constrained by space, and verbs tend to be more crucial toward capturing attention. Often, copy editors must sacrifice depth or representativeness because a headline can’t be more than a few characters.

Online headlines, however, are not so constrained. Nouns tend to be more important than verbs because they act as keywords for Google searches, which are a major source of our traffic.

In short, online headlines are different not because somebody is attempting to downplay a particular detail of a story. Rather, we optimize some headlines for each medium.