Copy editors reward headlines that make you read between the lines

American Copy Editors Society
The award-winning headlines announced at the ACES convention make you think twice:

  • “What goes online, stays online,” Jason Bennett, The University Daily Kansan (Story about students’ use of social media)
  • “Spells like team spirit,” Becca Clemons, Kentucky Kernel (Story about graffiti related to an upcoming basketball game)
  • “For couples in close quarters, squeeze-y does it,” Rick Schindler,
  • “At age 102, this therapist is still psyched,” Rick Schindler,
  • “Turtles slow things to a crawl at JFK airport in New York,” Lion Calandra,
  • “Workers hold their breath, but employers worry they’ll take a hit,” James Tehrani, Workforce Management (Story about medical marijuana)
  • “The yawning of a new era,” James Tehrani, Workforce Management (Story about worker stress and fatigue)
  • “Bridge over tribal water?” Damen Clow, Scripps Central Desk (Story about controversial bridge)
  • “Atlantic City’s safe bet: Sex,” Tom Meares, The Journal Gazette (Story about casinos’ attempt to get more customers)
  • “Desperation is the only thing growing,” Michael Roehrman, The Wichita Eagle (Story about local drought)
  • “Maybe he should have gone with a driver,” Rich Mills, Omaha World-Herald (Story about a disoriented lawyer, well-known for representing DUI defendants, who broke into a golf pro shop)
  • “On the roadside, it’s catch as kitsch can,” Rich Mills, Omaha World-Herald (Story about quirky roadside attractions)
  • “Twilight for a NASA star,” Peter Donahue, Providence Journal (about the last shuttle flight)
  • “For chronic truants, advanced placement,” David Bowman, Los Angeles Times (about using GPS devices to keep students in class)
  • “Facing the loss of a stamping ground,” David Bowman, Los Angeles Times (about post-office closures)
  • “Ssssearch is over: Missing Bronx Zoo cobra found,”

The complete list of winners and winning headlines is at

Related: Copy editors destroying America’s papers with puns (The Awl)

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  • Guaranteed Seo Services


    Its really wonderful work. I got some very nice tips for title.

  • Anonymous

    google ATOMIC TYPO, useful newsroom term coined by CF Hanif

  • Brian Haas

    Oh, I fully get that. My point is that web readers shouldn’t have God-awful headlines because we’re writing to please robots.

    Robots, that I might add, that can (and have) change their algorithms at any time rendering yesterday’s SEO useless in an instant.

  • Emerson Schwartzkopf

    Since print stories are often tossed verbatim onto newspaper websites — with headlines intact — Mr. Haas’ comment (which he tagged as sarcastic) isn’t far off the mark. I like snappy headlines, but there’s a point to thinking about SEO … unless you’re OK with aggregators writing search-friendly heds and skimming off the readers with higher search-engine placements.

  • Poynter

    Most of these are print headlines, so they aren’t written with that in mind. Just a few of the ones on the list were written for online.

    Steve Myers

  • Brian Haas

    Those are all terrible headlines. Clearly these people aren’t up to date on the latest SEO techniques. Google doesn’t like intelligent, clever or creative. These headlines should all be SEO optimized to please google by spamming common search terms as keywords throughout the headline, subhed and story as well.

    It’s a shame that universities and media outlets are putting creativity in front of accumulating more “Google juice”.