Headline writing is one of the most enjoyable parts of working in a newsroom, but it’s not easy to do well. In fact, it’s easy to do crappy: Shut off your brain and pound out several words that sort of introduce the story without worrying about whether they are the best words to describe the story in the space available.
Hence, my one-man crusade against “Tis the season,” which I forbade my staff from using. Almost every seasonal photo from Thanksgiving until Christmas can run under the headline “Tis the season.” Every paper uses placeholder text to denote a headline. Some places it’s XXXXXX or ldpjfpoajei or what have you. The Rutland Herald has “PICTURE PERFECT” attached to the box where you put a standalone photo on a page. Sometimes, the placeholder text slips into the finished product, even if it’s XXXXXX or pqweroupmdl. It’s more common, although less traumatic, to see “PICTURE PERFECT,” because it’s never wrong, it’s just lame. “Tis the season” is exactly like that: Not wrong, just proof that the copy desk has its brain switched off for the night.
In the spirit of the holidays, here’s Jimmy Kimmel unleashing domestic hell on the season. Suggested headline: Ho-ho-oh?