2005 Better Newspaper Contest — Headline Writing


Division 2, Dailies
Division 3, Dailies
Division 4, Semiweeklies
Division 5, Semiweeklies
Division 6, Weeklies
Division 7, Weeklies
Division 8, Weeklies
Division 9, Weeklies
Division 10, Weeklies

Headline Writing

Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1. The Beaumont Enterprise - "Shopping's not over until the fat man flies: Last minute shoppers are just finishing up as Santa's getting ready for takeoff" Clever; deck head supports the creative head so the read isn't left wondering. "Ring finder named Finger seeks right finger for find: West Brook '99 memento winds up in North Carolina" A natural for a fun head. Well done. Wish Megan Finger's name had been higher in story. Story writer perhaps didn't see what the head writer did. "Towns go bottoms up hands down: Port Neches, Groves approve mixed drinks by significant margin" Great head for a hard news story.

2. The Facts, Clute - "Gown and out: The first cut is the deepest Miss Texas advances" It works with photo. Clever. "Bone voyage: Excavation team prepares Asiel's remains for trip to College Station" Perfect. Clever. Works with lede of story. "April fuel daze: High gas prices won't keep RVers off the open road" Not as well connected to story. The RV couple was "undazed" by the gas prices.

3. The Paris News - "Tick Tock: Clockmaker's skills allow him to have time on his hands for work, family and God" "Vote puts brakes on truck stop" and "Gone with the wind: Storm rips roof off apartment complex, causes power outages" These weren't extra clever, but demonstrate that good heads don't have to be overdone.

4. Midland Reporter-Telegram - "Glove story: Fielding key for MHS" Nothing special. "Draw a conclusion: Villa denied title belt after fight was called for accidental headbutt" Clever, fits story. "In Herm's way: Stanton product overcomes obstacles to leave mark at Rice" Nice play on words; fit the story. Draws reader in.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1. Mineral Wells Index - "Hearts over Spades: PPGH turns dirt and a page in history with groundbreaking ceremony" Original and appealing to any card player. Nice play on words. "Leaping lizards! Three surprised after being cited for hunting geckos without a license" Nice and accurate. Not greatly original. "Muddy waters have officials singing the blues" Original. Good word play, clever.

2. San Marcos Daily Record - "New legal eagle to defend county's nest egg" Nice. It catches the eye, but is not overly original. "Safari, so good: Third time may be a charm for toughest boat race" Good original. "Melon rig ripe with cache of marijuana" Original.

3. Waxahachie Daily Light - "Having a bad air day: Latest ozone monitor reading indicating Ellis County in violation of federal clean-air standards" Cute. "Of mice and means: DA's office hands down capital punishment for four-legged violators" Clever. "Council, P&Z discuss SOBs" It certainly catches the eye.

4. Athens Daily Review - "Amazing feet: TVCC player courted by Mexico for possible shot at Olympic berth" So true! "Pets with a kick: Black Beauty Ranch is looking for adoptive homes for displaced burros" Cute. "Steer-rific! Oden takes top prize" Cute.

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1. Wise County Messenger - "Bore 'em forum: Candidates spend two and a half hours trying to woo voters" Gets right to the point; tells it like it is. "City Council high on Lowe's" Good play on words. "Tractor tales & painted nails" Nice contrast and rhymes.

2. El Campo Leader-News - "County nudists won't 'sob' over sex shop regulations" Interesting idea. Captures readers. "Hail-yes, damage-no: Storm spares area, but drenches already soaked ground" Funny headline. Describes story well. "Penny tax drop small change in most pockets" To the point. A little confusing.

3. Wharton Journal-Spectator - "Retiring in Wharton: Houston company relocates here" Great headline, fits story. "Kubala asks 'where's beef' on 'pasture'" Better headline would have been "Kubala asks 'where's the beef?'" Would fit story better and more obvious link to famous commercial. "No pain, No grain: Area farmers can expect more sales as Maxim expands its storage" Great play on words.

4. Hood County News - "Bees waxed: Pirates stay in hunt; swat Jackets" Cute headline, fits story. "Digging history: B.J. Woods' metal detector has unearthed various riches" Nice play on words. "Gold rush: Granbury's Dana Vollmer, 16, wins Olympic gold medal" Good headline, draws people in.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1. The Canyon News - "Boas & arrow: Deputies target missing snakes and motorist who shot at horse" Clever and original. "Rocketeers are - out to launch: Wayside site gateway to the heavens" Cute. "Welcome to Snovember" I like it.

2. Moore County News-Press - "Plum Muddy: Race and rain test the endurance of horses, riders, rangers" Clever, one of my favorite headlines today. "What lies beneath: City approves 'Sewer Cam' purchase specs" Catchy. "DHS tennis loves Perryton, 21-0" Cute.

3. Mansfield News-Mirror - "City's water:H2Whoa! - Unpleasant taste, odor temporary" Clever. "Soaking in the Reign" Nice play on words. "Returning to greener pastures: Mother, calf back on solid ground after getting swept away in flood" Cute and accurate.

4. Perryton Herald - "Guide dog provides new 'pair of eyes' for resident" Average. "The Rangers are going to the 'Big House'!" Cute. "'Splendid' spelling earns Orr junior bee championship" Clever.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1. Park Cities People, Dallas - "Sham Gams in a Can: Spray-on pantyhose is tested for benefit of masses" Headline as silly as the topic. "Getting Sirius & other Harry Matters: Evil Dementors want Harry's soul (and maybe yours too)" A nerd's dream headline. "Providence Growth Sparks Lovers Quarrel: Proposed school expansion, traffic, divides residents" Nice spin on old saying.

2. Jackson County Herald-Tribune - "Funny money no laughing matter for local victims" Immediately lets you know what the story's about. "Bee calls keep fire department buzzing in Edna" Nice juxtaposition. "Lung transplant 'breathes' new life for Shelley Larson" Charming take on old saying.

3. Cedar Hill Today - "City sprouts tree-lined 'Neighborwoods'" Head gets at the root of story! "Online grocer brings home your bacon: Underdog entrepreneur joins revitalized industry with streamlined product" My favorite. "Rapid Response: Need for speed powers tri-city alliance to turbo charge emergency dispatch system" Very, very silly, yet informative.

4. Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post - "High and Going Higher... Gasoline pumps guzzling motorist dollars" Mildly amusing. "Halloween Scaring up Weekend Time Switch" Nice combination of holiday and time change. "Ball Field Plans on Deck: New Softball, Improved Baseball Facilities Studied" Best of three headlines. Both accurate and clever

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1. The Progress, Three Rivers - "Voters go with Johnny Joe" Cute headline. Immediately delivers message. "In the rough: Members hope Mesquite Country Club will bloom again" Fits story. Gets to the point. "Bees kill dog, injure horses, attack people" Clear headline. Gets right to the point. Presents lots of information in a few words. Pulls readers in.

2. Westlake Picayune - "Reining Queen: Rollingwood resident wins regional cow horse championship" Nice play on words. "WLH gives Chik-fil-A its wings: City approves fast-food restaurant for The Village at Westlake" Good idea for headline. Explains situation well. "Fit to be tried: World champion triathlete takes life, world in stride" Nice headline. "Tried" is a little confusing but good overall.

3. Colorado County Citizen - "Lady Cardinals swat Hornets" Cute. "Burn ban rules spark discussion" A little confusing, hard to read. "Spark" works well. "Late charge by Tigers folds Cards" Cute headline. Fits story well.

4. Burnet Bulletin - "Crusher quashed" A little confusing, but fits story. "Bulldogs poised for foray into 4A: UIL realignment pits Burnet, Marble Falls as district rivals" Love "4A & foray"! Nice idea. "Groundwater issues boil to surface: Commissioner: 'This is a run on our water'" Cute and fits story.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1. Springtown Epigraph - "Raising a stink: 'Smelly' tank removed; health, environmental concerns raised" Perfect. "Question: What does a dog do when it retires? Join the AARF?" Great! Gotta read this one. "Hood times... Classics converge at car show for a day of fun, awards" This is the weak link of the three.

2. Lancaster Today - "Families hot under the collar about Lancaster High School dress code" Solid. "Visionary developer shows Lancaster 'the full Monte'" Ha, good one. But why put 'the full Monte' in quotes? "Liquor opponents give their message a dry run" Funny.

3. The Smithville Times - "Study starts waters roiling: Redesignation of Pecan Shores as flood way draws ire" Obvious. "Visitor: Smithville is lovely but could you turn down the trains?" Funny. "Cool summer burns budget: City's utility fund fell short when electric, water usage declined" Not bad.

4. The Frisco Enterprise - "Traffic signals get green light" Obvious. "Judge kills Robin Hood: New funding options sought; Reedy says tax reform only way" Great! Makes this a must read. "Valkommen to Frisco: Swedish furniture retailer IKEA to open store" OK.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1. The Canadian Record - "Beam me up, Scotty..." How perfect is this headline for this story. Simply perfect ... and humorous! "Barking up the right tree" Mr. (John) McGarr hit the nail right on the head with this one! "Opposition to TxDOT tree removal project takes root at Tuesday meeting" Like the play on words. Makes you think!

2. Lexington Leader - "Dog Days Demand Demonstration" The D's are delightful and original. "Pie in the Sky and Mud in Your Eye!" This play on words is creative and clever. "Sheep Attacks; Horse Leaves Deposit" Makes reader want to read story - funny and creative!

3. The Leonard Graphic - "Alcohol petition swiped from stores just before last call" Pretty much says it all. "Alcohol" ... "last call." "Home Alone: Waiting for a Soldier's Return" Very touching. Also like the treatment graphically! "Hall-lelujah! Leaders gushing over water money" Makes me chuckle. Great play on words.

4. Hico News Review - "Sudden shutting of Shell, Subway surprise some" Makes the reader want to know more. Creative and original. "Hico Tigers turn out the lights on tough season" Liked this. Actually forms an immediate visual. "Hico schools will begin August 18 ... but where?" Certainly raises an emotional question. Well done!

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1. Joshua Star - "Tests ... Take 2" Creative headline for an otherwise dull testing story. "Letta Jetta get you there" Very cute! "Lucky dog" Accurate and clever play on the dog's new name.

2. Burnet County Citizens Gazette - "The final verse - a bittersweet tune" Cliché, but effective. "It's The Principal of the Thing: Shady Grove's top man to retire at year's end" Great play on words! "A A A A - Burnet moves up to 4-A classification" Simple, yet powerful.

3. The Morton Tribune - "Time in a bottle: Crockett, McCall reunion recalls story of thirty year journey of a note in a bottle" Accurate and clever! "The ties that bind: Donated kidney gives sister-in-law new lease on life" Very dramatic. Draws reader in. "It's a family affair: Medal of Honor recipient's flag handed down" Creative headline has a large impact on the reader.

4. Stonewall County Courier - "Lady Hornets whiz by Lady Yellowhammers" Good action word choice. "Lady Jaguars zapped by Lady Hornets, 67-24" Those action verbs just keep coming... "Fun-Night cut short by raging West Texas Weather" Raging is an excellent underused word.