Science Writers and Headlines

Headlines on science stories in print, often a source of misunderstanding between scientists and the media, are not the work of the reporter or science writer. Headlines are prepared by a headline writer.

Writers don't write the headlines for their stories because they don't know where or how a story will appear in the newspaper or magazine. Headlines are composed with specific typefaces in mind to fit a given layout. A newspaper story may run under a two-column headline in one edition, but a "remake" of the page for a later edition may require changes in the location and dimensions of the story and a rewrite of the headline. All those decisions are far from the science writer's domain.


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