From ASBPE Kansas City: A bit about blurbs

Former University of Missouri j-school professor Don Ranly argues that the writing of titles and captions should get much more attention than they often do. They are read five times more than body copy, yet are given short shrift, often added at the last minute.

Ranly made the comment at the session “Writing Brighter Headlines and Captions” at ASBPE Kansas City's Oct. 19 Magazine Boot Camp, a half-day workshop series that the chapter holds annually. Some of Ranly's tips, taken from Jody Shee's report on the Boot Camp:

  • Don’t be afraid to write creative headlines. They can even be a bit cryptic if you include a blurb or deck underneath that summarizes the article content.

  • Write photo captions as if no one is going to read the copy. Make them say something the photo does not say. Give useful information.

  • Write the most complete captions under the largest or dominant photo.

  • Give simple, consistent directions. “From left” works fine, written out and without adding, “to right.”

For more of Ranly's tips on writing headlines, blurbs and captions, see the full report from the ASBPE-KC blog.

A side note: ASBPE Boston is considering holding a similar half-day workshop in the spring, possibly on the topic of electronic media. Let us know if this idea interests you, and what aspects of electronic media you'd like to learn about, whether it be e-zines, podcasting, or something else. You can email me or any of the chapter officers listed at right.

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