Monday, March 19, 2012

On Bloomberg Headline Writing

On Friday I mentioned "I've given up on trying to fix Bloomberg headlines....". Here's the back story, from September 2011:

Bloomberg Goes SEO Crazy in the Headline: "Obama $8 Billion Solar Betamax Unwinds as China Backs Rival" (FSLR; GE; SI)
I know the consultants say the media have to write headlines like that but at some point people, actual wetware-equipped people, will stop trying to figure out what the heck they're reading.
Which would be just fine by me as this is actually a pretty good story, once you get past the search-engine-optimization and can focus on the bigger, Betamax, picture.
We have a couple examples in the Buttonwood link, below.
[do you ever worry that the readers have never heard of a Betamax? -ed]...
The headlines are a running joke at The Economist. From the Buttonwood's Notebook blog, Nov. 2009:

IT is not easy writing headlines but Bloomberg seems to have adopted a strategy of cramming as many nouns as possible into a sentence. The result can be mind-boggling.

 A few weeks ago, I was baffled by the following. "Sleep-At-night Money Lost in Lehman Lesson Missing $63 Billion". But that was topped by two of today's efforts: "Geithner Saying Be Like Bullish Buffett Can't Make J P Morgan Boost Lending"...MORE
Keep an eye peeled for "Bloomberg Headline of the Day" on the big E's blogs. They can show up on any one of the 23 offerings.

There's even a Tumblr devoted to the beasties:
Strange Bloomberg Headlines
Canadian Economy Suffers From Dollar Parity's One-Eyed King in Land of Blind
Pandit Fast Money With Hedge Funds Proves Citigroup Dead End With Spinoffs
Facebook’s Sandberg Friends Gaga to Obama as IPO Nears
I think this headline is missing a verb and a few prepositions, but I have no idea which ones.