Field Notes: Words

The New York Times headlines tend to be short, and to the point. They stay away from being clever – opting for very newsy, informative headlines. Some examples of headlines:

headline2 headline1

Subheads and deks are used, but usually only on one column stories at the very top of the page. It seems that they use this method in order to include more information about these stories because they’re getting so little real estate on the given page.

headlines words


As a general rule, headlines with three or more columns tend to be one line, two column story headlines are two lines, and one column stories’ headlines tend be three lines.

Hammers are not often used in the New York Times, but they’re not unheard of. Hammers are often used when there is major, breaking news concerning foreign affairs or major deaths. Some examples are below including hammers used for stories about the Iraq War and Bin Laden.

hammer 3 hammer 2 hammer 1

Bylines are phrased “By AUTHOR’S NAME and AUTHOR’S NAME” and I think this is an approach that works very well for the paper and conforms to its simple, straightforward approach to everything.

bylines words


Credit lines are aligned right under the image the credit is for. They’re phrased “PHOTOGRAPHER’S NAME – AGENCY”. The phrasing is fine, but they could be more prominent (they’re usually quite small compared to the image).

Cutlines in the New York Times are very newsy and conventional, simply stating exactly what is going on in the picture. The pictures are very striking though, so they do engage the reader and it does make the reader think about what is going on in them and want to read on to find out. They usually stick to what is going to be written in the main story and depending on how many columns the photo is using, the cutlines can range from 1 to 2 lines long.

cutlines creditlines

Refers follow the same rules. They’re to the point – tell the reader exactly what they’ll be reading about when they turn to the page directed.

Overall, the New York Times takes short, direct, newsy approaches to everything it does. They don’t take risks or go against newspaper conventions in any area, choosing to project consistency and dependability with their clear, concise, and hard hitting content.

Noelle Devoe