Field Notes: Words

Wired‘s headlines are witty and occasionally have a bit of attitude.  This is reflective of the magazine’s young, quirky personality.  Moreover, the headlines do a good job in grabbing the reader’s attention and making him or her want to read the article. The headlines are short and usually stand alone; the publication does not use many subheads, but rather chooses to use graphics or images to act as the subhead’s substitute.

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The tone of voice is clear and strong, giving a feeling of confidence, yet maintains a “friendly” feel simultaneously.  This “friendly” feeling comes from the informal style of writing that is sporadically sprinkled throughout the articles, such as the example below that says, “well, Roland just fixed that.”  This informal style of writing makes the reader feel comfortable and makes reading the article more of an experience.  From personal experience, informal writing allows me to relate more to both the journalist and the news or story I am reading about.

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The publication does not use pull quotes in its print issues, but it does use them online.

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The cutlines and captions of photos or graphics are kept to one sentence, sometimes they are only a few words long.  They are clear and concise and do well in not distracting the reader as they read the article.  This works because it allows the picture or graphic to speak for itself and leaves the interpretation up to the reader.

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Decks are rarely used, though I found an example below.  Bylines are always prefaced with the word “by” and the photo bylines occasionally have a camera icon to show who took the pictures, rather than simply writing “photographed/photo by.”

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Section names are creative and unique to the publication.  Wired has some fun naming its sections, which further adds to the the young and fun personality the magazine has.  Since the section names do not initially tell the reader what that particular section is about, it makes the reader engaged and want to see what types of articles that section contains.

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