Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This newspaper I been doing stories for is starting to get on my nerves. They keep changing my titles. Its been my contention that a good title should serve to mystify the reader, and even after reading the article they are compelled to read it again to see if there is any rational connection between the article and the title.
That just seems to be good journalism to me, though I have had no training at all.

They changed my title from "I Got Sasquatch Fever" to "Bigfoot prank has positive outcome".
They changed one from simply "The Gullywampus" to "Shopping for fishing lures leads to good times".
They changed "Boy Scout Eggs" to "Scouts find solace in pancakes"
Then they changed "Jelly Omelet" to "Bzzing sound wasn't the clothesline"
I mean, in addition to boring the fuck out of the reader they are practically giving the story away with the title!
Am I being too sensitive? I don't think so!
For what ever reason they changed a Mothers Day story from 'Thanks Mom" to "Thanks Mom for everything". Everything? Really?

I kind of imagine they might take a title like 'The Red Badge of Courage" and change it to "Wounded soldier wins award". I figure they have been writing newspapers too long. They have lost their soul.

Anyway, I sent my last story in a couple weeks ago and added a little note that said "I think you do a great job of editing my stories but if you would like to change my title, please let me look at it first". Seems reasonable, yes? I got a reply that said "What do you mean?". So I thought about it a bit and said "I mean you do a great job of editing the text".

I haven't heard from them since. Maybe I'll send them this.


Martijn said...

Another one in the bullseye. I can so relate to this! You think if TITLES, good, creative, artistic, delicious, crispy titles. And what do they do? They spray thicko all over it! I don't know how you can put up with it in the first place.

It's for readers who don't want to be surprised and want to see the whole story in one line. Shoot 'm, I say!

bulletholes said...

Well, none of mt titles is as good as "Red Badge of Courage" (what a GREAT title) but when I saw "boy Scout Eggs" changed to "Scouts find solace..." i just lost it.
I will cut off my nose to spite my face any ol day.
Hey Martijn!

Martijn said...

I love your titles! Hê hê. I may use that on a t-shirt one of these days...

What I also may use are those fabulous word verification things you have on this blog. "Pubogreo" is the one I'm using now. It sounds like a product for scrotal maintenance.

Hey Steve! Keep your nose on!

bulletholes said...

Martijn, i asked a friend that would know about this and she told me that it is standard practice for edirtors to title all articles reporters turn in. Some large papers even have a whole staff that does nothing but headlines, and that most every reporter in the world resents the shit out of it.
She also said the titles my editor has been providing are "Lame".

Martijn said...

I'm an editor myself, sort of, but luckily no one changes my titles. I can get away with the weirdest shit! Ha ha. That's because no one of the 'head office' reads it. I have done things like "David Sedaris - Author of Funny Humour", "Katy Perry - The Girl From I Kissed A Girl", "Miljonair Fair - Rich Bastards Laughing it Up".

Yes, your editor's titles ARE lame... so I'm sure lots of people are buying them.