OPINION: Stories are more than a headline

According to The Washington Post, six in 10 people will read a headline. After reading the headline, the reader will decide whether they should share that post or not, without reading the full article. 

I believe people sharing without reading is not necessarily the fault of not only the audience, but the writers themselves. Nobody is going to want to read an article that is long and boring. They want more than facts, they want a story, something that flows and does not feel like it takes a lot of effort to read.

We are all guilty of sharing unread posts. We often scroll on Facebook or Twitter and see an interesting and heart wrenching title and instantly share the post. For example, “Ryan Reynolds runs into a burning building to save a family of puppies.” The problem with this is a lot of time, people do not know how to write headlines appropriately. Creating a headline is extremely difficult. Summarizing the main point of an article in a few words can seem overwhelming, especially to new writers. If a headline is not written correctly, the article is completely ruined. Journalists want to represent their articles as best as possible and a misinterpreted article can cause false information or even “fake news.” Reynolds may not have been the beloved actor and 2010 Sexiest Man Alive, but just a random civilian that works in the laundry mat next door. 

To me, headlines are the most important part of journalism. They evoke emotion and capture the attention of the audience. The headline also represents what the article will be about.

As a journalist, I understand not everyone will read my stories. That does not bother me. If I am writing about football, I do not expect someone who is not into sports to read my stories. However, when I have numerous people commenting on my stories stating their issues that can be answered if they read the full article, I get annoyed. Each time I want to say “Hey, you must have not read this thoroughly because I answered that question.”

I am a huge fan of constructive criticism. I know that I am far from being the best journalist to ever exist. In one of the first stories I wrote for The Sunflower, I discussed why I thought WSU should have a football team. I wrote this story right after I transferred to Wichita State and was unaware of how impossible this is. After reading the feedback, I learned a lot and now know it is impossible, at least for now.  If you give me proper feedback, I greatly appreciate it. My goal is to write and take photos for the NFL, so I want to learn how to become better. I want clear pictures that can perfectly capture the moment, and write captions that go beyond the photo. 

Before you share an article, I urge you to read the full text. Do not fall victim to sharing false news. Know what you are posting.