My book has received great press and I’m very appreciative. But the headlines have been, how can I say … lackluster? As a former headline writer, among other things, I know how challenging it can be to fit a “hed” into the prescribed space, and make it clever, and give it as much meaning as possible. (As my partner knows, one of my pet peeves is when a pun hed doesn’t work both ways. Like saying a basket weaver is a “basket case.” Only if she’s nuts. Which you wouldn’t say anyway.)
So when I read “Ee-i-ee-i-go” atop this Farm Fresh story that ran in the Travel section of the Charlotte Observer last month, I was joyous!! The drop-hed fleshed out the idea: ”Get a taste of NC farm life with these 6 weekend field trips.” Field trips — get it?
I asked Travel Editor John Bordsen about the evolution of the hed and here’s what he told me, in his own special, loving way:
”Head is by Trent Roberts, one of the desk slots, who is from some anthill in the bowels of southern Mississippi and got here via the Detroit Free Press and other papers. Working head I had was OVERALL ENJOYMENT. [Apologies to John, but it begged for a bit of zip and zing.] He wanted to up the ante, and we started goofing around with “Old McDonald.” He wouldn’t let it go. Ended up with him and Jason (the designer) Googling around for the proper spelling of what ended up being the headline. (Is it “E” or “EE”? etc.) [Editors after my own fact-checking heart.] Then they both started singing. Trent got away safely. Jason eventually got the phone receiver out of his throat.”
From Diane: Jason, I hope you’ve recovered, and thanks to John and of course Trent. As a former award-winning headline writer (we used to have a weekly/monthly? contest at the Boston Globe), I salute you.