FN: Words

The Economist uses a subtle sense of humor throughout their writing. It is most prevalent in headlines, but is also found throughout their body copy. The Economist as a whole can be a little dense as it takes on so much news in such great detail, but they approach news with a cheeky, slightly all knowing air, which makes reading it enjoyable and makes tackling the drier issues, such as the current state of BP.

Headlines are where The Economist’s humor really shines through. They like to be clever with headlines, such as “Why handsome cyclists are speedier” as seen on the cover of their most recent issue (pictured below). The headline is for an article about a new study done researching the link between a cyclist’s looks and their performance. Inside the article is titled:“Sexual selection: Hot Wheels”. The deks to articles are much more serious and straight to the point. The dek for that same article reads, “A new study suggests a link between cyclists’ looks and their performance”. Headlines are usually short, never more than five words at most.


The Economist never uses pull quotes. Flipping through a few issues, I finally came to the realization that quotes are used very sparsely, if at all in articles, which means that there is no use for pull quotes in the magazine.

Captions to photographs are funny and don’t actually offer much information about the photograph, but rather offer some sort of sarcastic commentary.

In comparison, the sections of the magazine are very clear and straightforward. Most are named after a geographic location, such as the Middle East, or else they highlight a section of the news, such as Business or Science and Technology.



A page from the Science and Technology section.