If you want to draw readers to a story, you need to make them want to choose it from a sea of other options. A strong headline is your best shot to do that. You want your headline to entice the reader and clearly communicate what the story is about — all without sounding too cookie cutter and without veering into clickbait. That can be a fine line to walk, but it’s important to find the balance.
Below, I’ve gathered some examples of strong headlines. I’ve tried to break them out into categories for some kind of framework, but it’s not an exact science here — the main thing they all have in common is that they are clear, direct, assertive, and focused on what is most interesting. …
I believe that we ascribe “smart” and “intelligent” post hoc to power. I believe that powerful people, particularly white men, believe that their power is justified by their genetic endowments.
I believe that a “smart woman” and “smart non-white person” is an oxymoron in this worldview. … The very idea of earning some objective smartness is antithetical to the way most powerful people see themselves and others.
In this worldview, which is the dominant one, beauty is seen as the only legitimate capital that women are allowed possess. But beauty is supposed to serve power’s interests. When beauty occurs in an “unruly body”, such as a non-white person’s body, then it is an existential threat.
I worked at TED for five years, from 2013 to 2018, and in that time, I watched over 2,000 TED Talks. In fact, I saw many of them multiple times — first in rehearsal, then onstage, then on video, and often again in a shorter cut of the video. I’ve seen talks on absolutely every subject, including a truly unreasonable number of talks about baby coral.
When people hear that I worked at TED, they often ask me to recommend my favorite talk. I never have a good answer for them; it’s an impossible task.
TED Talks might sometimes feel formulaic or trite, but at their best, they are an extraordinary performance of human creativity, ingenuity, and connection, and the best of them have profoundly changed and shaped me. Choosing a favorite means choosing just one of the many ways that watching so many TED Talks has affected who I am and how I see the world, so I’ve never been keen to do it. …
I arrived at the Javits Center last night, full of excitement and hope. One of my colleagues had VIP tickets and added me as her plus one. We picked up our blue ‘guest’ badges, pushed through the crowds outside, and were directed to a special line that landed us 30 feet from the podium where you would have given your acceptance speech.
We felt like the luckiest women alive.
As we took photos of ourselves in front of the stage, we thought we were about to witness a historic win for women. We looked up at the Javits’ glass ceiling and cheered that you would shatter that last, highest glass ceiling once and for all. …
On Friday, Susan Sarandon made yet another inane contribution to this already absurd election when she explained why she’s not backing Hillary Clinton by saying, “I don’t vote with my vagina. This is bigger than that.”
This accusation has been a running theme in this election — the idea that women who support Clinton are clearly not capable of using their brains and must have relegated this monumentally consequential decision to their genitals. It’s an insult to women, vaginas, and Clinton, all rolled into one.
Frankly, I’ve had enough of it.
It pisses me off for two reasons: One, it’s just insulting. Two — this is far more important — it disparages and discourages something women absolutely should be doing in this election. …