2012 Texas Better Newspaper Contest - Headline Writing
Monday, 18 June 2012 20:43

Division 2
Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: “The force was with him…” – Good idea; jump headline also good – gives specific accomplishment of retiring officer. “Time of the signs” – Clever reversal of common saying fits story well; underline elaborates. “Star mangled banner?” – Excellent.

2. The Daily Sentinel, Nacogdoches: “Packing for college” – Clever, creative when combined with “Bill would allow…” “Don’t spare the rod” – No comments. “Crude tactics” – No comments.

3. Lufkin Daily News: “Cool ‘gig’!” – Not sure why quotation marks around “gig”. “Nutcracker…” – Excellent play on words. “Runaway” – Clever; underline head well-constructed too, especially for tight measure.

4. The Kerrville Daily Times: “…being green” – Captures message of story quickly, clever. “Birds” – Leads reader into story nicely. “Local hooker…” – Clever. Under headline and use of single quotes alert reader to meaning of the word in this case.


Division 3
Dailies Less Than 7,000

1. Athens Daily Review: “Finally…” – The tone of this headline is just right for a story about resolution. “Steeeeeriiiiike!” – A very nice label head for the showcase photo sets the tone. “Hay bale…” –  A play on words works wonders for this photo headline.

2. Waxahachie Daily Light: “DOPE” – If you’re going to use a label or hammer head, make it big for IMPACT! It works well here. “Donkey dilemma” – Here’s another centerpiece package with an effective large label head. “Time travelers” – Ditto for this feature.

3. Mineral Wells Index: “…bin Laden’s demise” – An interesting headline leads reader into an equally interesting story. “Hail fire” – Draws the reader’s eye to the photo and story. “The water didn’t burn” – Sure to bring a smile to the reader’s face.

4. Brownwood Bulletin: “Snow?” – The expectation of a white Christmas is promised in this hopeful headline. “Night out…” – The headline combo sets the scene for an unusual crime story. “A little hope…” A play on familiar phrasing makes this headline work.


Division 4
Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1. The Williamson County Sun, Georgetown: “Sermon…” – Great feature headline with a play on a well-known phrase. “Critters stall…” Another smooth play on words. “Wait…” – The word “Census” always makes for a potential great headline, such as this one.

2. Wise County Messenger, Decatur: “Wipe out” – Dark humor can be effective in stories – a little goes a long way. “The chick…” – A spritely headline for an evergreen story. “Mail tampering…” A clever play on words gets this judge’s stamp of approval.

3. Hood County News, Granbury: “Pretty is…” – Commentary headlines can be tough but this example shines. “Mouth trap” – Graphics can provide a good hook for a feature story as in this example. “Swimming pools…” – The play off the “Beverly Hillbillies” works like a charm.

4. Uvalde Leader-News: “UCISD maintenance gets brush-off” – This headline does an effective job of leading readers into a serious news story. “Stages of grief” – An appropriate label head on a continuing problem for the region – drought. “Medical breakthrough” – This is a little too light in tone but still effective.


Division 5
Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1. Burleson Star: “Oh snap!” – Catchy head is a real kick. “Gas drives economic engine” – Energy stories rarely make for good headlines – this is a notable exception. “Cain says he’s not able” – A nice play on words. Makes for a memorable headline.

2. Breckenridge American: “Breck serves Dublin…” – Sports team nicknames have the source of good headlines – and bad – for many years. These 3 examples are very good. “Bad hare day” – No comments. “Just enough bangs…” – No comments.

3. Kingsville Record & Bishop News: “Game over” – This headline draws the reader into the story. “Kleburg County Adult Literacy Council does what’s write” – Literacy stories are not typical sources of catchy heads, but this one is. “Three keys to a successful burglary?” – This nicely juxtaposes a well-know real estate phrase with a crime story – nicely done!

4. Kilgore News Herald: “Suspect’s teeth come back to bite her” – Crime stories are proof that truth is stranger than fiction. The headline here draws the reader into such a story. “Prank falls flat” – Vandalism is never funny and the headline combo here shows how serious it can be – and very effectively. “Death’s décor” – Decorating cemeteries can provide details for good headstone headlines.


Division 6
Large Weeklies

1. The Rockdale Reporter: “Hill over Dale” – A rare “natural” headline for a sports story. “Quote Le’Raven, nevermore” – Edgar Allen Poe is spinning in his grave. “June was hotter than…” – A great way to say the obvious – without saying it.

2. Port Aransas South Jetty: “She’s got mail” – No comments. “Rain, rain, come this way” – No comments. “Getting down on getting high” – No comments.

3. Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post: “City making vroom for bikers” – Great use of onomatopoeia. “Mo -11-11-11-y’s Day” – Nice gimmick headline says it all. “City voters give pool issue a good dunking” – A different kind of voting outcome headline.

4. Bandera Bulletin: “Free falling form found unfilled” – Alliterative and amazingly alright. “House Bill 1086 dead in the water” – Water headlines are standard fare in TX newspapers. This one is good. “Jacalito Burrito” – Nice feature headline, with more alliteration.



Division 7
Medium-Large Weeklies

1. The Smithville Times: “Water Forum is issue soaked” – Imagery works with water/drought theme. “Confounding census to be contested” – Nice alliteration. Not overpowering. “Solar power to melt energy costs” – Another very suitable image works in this headline.

2. Westlake Picayune, Austin: “Brice is right” – Very solid sports head. It just works! “Shoulder knees and toes” – Headline draws reader into story. “Hershey barred” – Another slick sports head.

3. The Ellis County Press, Ferris: “Mr. Sandman, nab me a thief” – Melodic phrasing on all 3 headlines was appropriate in each case. I just hope (s)he doesn’t run out of titles any time soon. “Gone with the wind” – No comments. “Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on” – No comments.

4. Hill Country Community Journal, Kerrville: “Eye on the pies” – A real groaner, but a tasty one. “iHappy” – iDon’t know what to say about this label except to say it iWorks! “What?” – Single word label works with pair of related stories.



Division 8
Medium Weeklies

1. Glen Rose Reporter: “Rain brings out the ducks…” – A very clever turn of phrasing makes the headline work. “Walker, Texas Painter” – Another cute turn of phrasing. “So much ‘hogwash’” – Headline doesn’t go wild over feral pigs – just the right tone for a serious feature.

2. The Llano County Journal: “Chamber hands out groovy awards” – No comments. “Deer hunting season shoots off this week” – No comments. “The bucks stop here” – No comments.

3. The Castroville News Bulletin: “’Mathematically correct’ map doesn’t add up” – A very nice turn of words makes this headline flow. “Wily Coyotes no match…” – Cartoon names and sports go together like birds of a feather. “Water rates headed up – but just a drop” – This head is all wet from first word to last – NICE!

4. Refugio County Press: “Woodsboro’s water woes…” – Nice alliteration – but seems too light in tone for serious story. “Bobcats buckle Buckaroos” – A little alliteration goes a long way.  “Bobcats bamboozle Bulldogs” – Ditto.

Division 9
Small-Medium Weeklies

1. West Kerr Current, Ingram: “Hunt firm’s bee-line…” – Nice word play. “Buddy’s buddies coming to see ‘Buddy’” – Catchy phrasing. “Ingram VFD siren will provide blast from past” – One can almost hear the siren song in this head.

2. The Sachse News: “U won’t be turning around on Hwy. 78” – U-turn headline very clever. Well-played. “Winded” – OK head, perhaps tries too hard. “City puts brakes on drive-thru beer sales” – Nicely written, eye-catching.

3. Crowley Star: “Most valuable essay” – Good use of graphic design to “light” up the hammer head – very effective. “Minister of the law” – Nice turn of words makes this headline go!  “Fire department has hope (bowl)” – Good headline on local sports even draws reader into story.

4. Muleshoe Journal: “Muleshoe to compete with Wal-Mart for RV business” – Straight, no-nonsense headline. “High court rules against ‘disrobing’” – Headline draws reader into story. “Wheels request comes up flat” – Nice turn of words on serious topic.

Division 10
Small Weeklies

1. Pflugerville Pflag: “Saying hello to Howdy’s” – Strikes just the right tone on a positive business story. “In church, testimony against monarch” – Clever play on words, but accurate! “Fashion, unbridled” – Nice use of double-meaning of word “unbridled”.

2. Alvarado Star: “Beating boardom” – This play on words is emphasized by use of color text. “Sex cells” – A good use of a label head on a significant trend among teens. “Bottoms up, Alvarado!” – Almost too cute and positioned with photo below detracts from meaning.

3. The Big Lake Wildcat: “He started it, reported it…and fought it” – Nicely written headline – especially for one column. “Taxing issues” – An OK label head. “Is there a doctor in the house?” – Nice head on a fairly run-of-the-mill meeting story.

4. The International, Presidio: “Pending bill on aerial hunting…” – Clever head, almost too cute for a serious story. “Big Bend ultra…” – Nicely written head on an unusual sporting event. “City tests water for new pool” – Accurate, but little panache.