Compiled by Bill Derby
No newspaper is immune from writing sloppy or dumb headlines. It happens every week someplace in America.
In 2004 I wrote a series of stories about the Lewis and Clark expedition in celebration of their 200th anniversary following along on their trek across America. The stories generated a huge readership. I also won an award for the biggest flub in our newspaper association for writing a dumb headline.
“Lewis and Clark start westward expedition in May 2004.” Of course it was 1804.
Below are actual headlines written for news stories and a few ads.
1. 17 Remain Dead in Morgue Shooting Spree
2. Worker suffers leg pain after crane drops 800-pound ball on his head
3. Breathing oxygen linked to staying alive
4. City unsure why the sewer smells
5. Dam Road Sign Keeps Disappearing
6. Anthony’s Dry Cleaners has been working on same spot for 15 years
7. Fire destroys go-go bar and leaves 4 men homeless
8. Governor will help people with gas
9. Lawyers back despite use of bug spray
10. (Classified Ad) To all hunters who kill animals for food, shame on you: you ought to go to the store and buy meat that was made there, where no animals were harmed.
11. People think aliens must be more smarter than us
12. Beacon students will head to Kentucky to study ocean
13. Total lunar eclipse will be broadcast live on Northwood Public Radio
14. Man eats underwear to beat breathalyzer
15. Illinois executive to enter witness protection program (Showing large photo)
16. Fumes force bean workers to leave
17. Bill would make it illegal to break rules
18. Bridges help people cross rivers
19. Burritos at 6 a.m. followed by hot air (hot air balloon rally)
20. Pilots with DWI more likely to crash
21. Male student finds happiness living among women at college
22. Man with 8 DUIs blames drinking problem
23. Hospitals resort to hiring doctors
24. Rally against apathy draws small crowd
25. The bra celebrates a couple of historic milestones this year. (Sub-headline) After 100 years of innovation, the device still holds up.