The Evolution Of A New York Times Headline About Clinton's Announcement Speech
June 12, 2015

So this article about Hillary Clinton in the New York Times newspaper (as Jimmy Breslin used to call it) ran with three different headlines. Mind you, as an editor, if a good story isn't getting much traffic, I'll rewrite the headline -- but this showed a somewhat different thought process. From Laura Clawson at Daily Kos:

Hillary Clinton To Invoke Roosevelt In New York Speech Laying Out Vision

Hmm, well, that's kind of dull and headline A/B testing is common, so how should it be jazzed up?

Hillary Clinton, Amid Signs Of Weakness, Plans Big Speech Laying Out Vision

Ooh, that's ... an interesting take on a candidate who's at 60 percent in primary polling and leads all Republicans in (extremely early) general election polling. The headline was changed again (maybe someone noticed that it looked a little too obvious that theTimes was once again doing whatever that shorthand verb we so desperately need is), but this was the version that the Times' editor for news presentation elected to tweet.Anyway, headline #3:

Hillary Clinton To Lay Out Economic Vision In New York Speech

Hey, that manages to be a little more fresh and relevant than "invoke Roosevelt" without overreaching for a negative frame. Imagine that! Of course, the article is still framed as negatively as possible—Al Gore reference and all—but baby steps, right?

But after Laura wrote this piece, the Times changed the headline yet again. I guess it just didn't have that element they were looking for:

Hillary Clinton Will Evoke Roosevelt and Try to Ease Fears on Trust in New York Speech

See what they did there? Ha ha! Subtle, ain't they?

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