How to Write a Newspaper Headline

Updated July 12, 2018

The one thing that can make or break a newspaper article is the headline. A good newspaper headline is concise, informative and, at times, entertaining. When you write a newspaper headline, your goal is to hook the reader into reading the article. Writing a headline for your article is easy, if you follow these steps.

Reread your article; identify the underlying theme.

Express the theme in an active voice using as few words as possible. Active verbs lend immediacy to a story. If a reader sees a headline written in a passive voice, he or she might glance right over it.

Keep your headline in present tense.

Keep it simple. A headline is a short, direct sentence without extra adjectives or adverbs.

Provide enough information in the headline to give the casual reader an impression of the entire story.


Don't try to be overly witty.
Make sure you don't misrepresent the story by choosing a headline that doesn't cover the main subject of your piece. Make sure the headline can stand on its own.
Always lead with the latest information, even if the story happened yesterday. This also lends a sense of immediacy to the story.

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