Roll Call Headline Faux Pas 101

Headline writers should shudder to read the “News Alert” put out by Roll Call this morning. “No Shocker: King Joins Democratic Caucus.” Even if it is no shocker to them, writing a headline like that is not going to get readers to actually read the story. If it’s no shocker, why bother? Maddening bottom line: Roll Call refuses to write catchy headlines and it’s a rap that continues to dog them even after their so-called big redesign Tuesday.

The only publication that deserves to be dinged worse than Roll Call for its poor headline choices is TWT, which had no headline. They didn’t report the news in a remotely similar time frame as other publications, nor that of Nancy Pelosi seeking to remain as Democratic leader of the House. Finally at 10:25 a.m. they wrote, “Official: Pelosi to remain as leader of House Dems.” This came even after the presser, which ran on national TV.

Compare that to The Hill: “Angus King will caucus with Democrats, giving them 55th seat.” Politico: While the other Capitol Hill publications had headlines up quickly, Politico went with a breaking news alert and did not have a story up about King for a good while. Finally at 10:41 a.m.: “Angus King joins Democrats.” National Journal: “King To Caucus To Democrats.” TPM: Angus King: I’ll Caucus With The Democrats.” TWT: No reporting of this news at remotely the same time as the others.

In other poor headline choices… Roll Call writes, “Nancy Pelosi will stick around.” Compare that to Politico: “Breaking News: Nancy Pelosi will remain as Democratic leader.” The Hill: “Pelosi to remain as leader in the 113th Congress.” National Journal: “Pelosi Will Seek Leadership Post Again.” WaPo: “Pelosi to remain Democratic Leader.” TPM: “Nancy Pelosi Will Stay on as Democratic Leader.” TWT: No reporting of this news at remotely the same time as the others.