You’re less likely to see a classic tabloid headline like “Ford to City: Drop Dead” (NY Daily News, Oct. 1975) on the Internet because MSM, bloggers and businesses alike need to optimize their headlines for top search engine placement. The New York Times says:
“…traffic means readers and advertisers, at a time when the mainstream media is desperately trying to make a living on the Web.
So news organizations large and small have begun experimenting with tweaking their Web sites for better search engine results. But software bots are not your ordinary readers: They are blazingly fast yet numbingly literal-minded. There are no algorithms for wit, irony, humor or stylish writing. The software is a logical, sequential, left-brain reader, while humans are often right brain.”
That also means that readers are more likely to be able to understand what a story is about when they read the headline, often in an RSS feed or in the subject line of an email.
But maybe it will curtail creativity and keep us from reading headlines like:
– Marla boasts to her pals about Donald: ‘BEST SEX I’VE EVER HAD'” ( February 16, 1990 New York Post headline)
– Headless Body in a Topless Bar (NY Post, April 1983)
via Steffen Fjaervik, Poynter.org