Writing headlines

198320date20unknown20age20economic20graph20not20up20_8The headline on the BBC website goes like this:

‘Signs of hope for UK businesses’

The opening sentence goes like this:

‘Conditions are improving for British businesses, two new reports suggest.’

The facts as reported in the feature are these:

‘Companies surveyed for the Access to Finance report from employers’ group the CBI were less negative in March than they had been in February. Also, there was a small rise in short term confidence in March measured by the accountants BDO Stoy Hayward. In the CBI report, 36% more firms said the availability of credit had deteriorated over the past three months than said it had improved. But that figure was well down on February’s margin of 59%. BDO’s Business Trends report showed a modest increase in confidence based on whether companies expect good revenue from orders. While it only rose from 88.3 in February to 88.6 in March, it is a big improvement on recent big falls.’

So, of the two reports, one says things are worse but they’ve got less worse than the previous month. The other says things are pretty much the same (allow for statistical error and the fact this survey is based on perceptions and they might well be worse here as well). So where do the journalist’s headline and opening sentence come from?

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1 Response to “Writing headlines”


  1. 1 OS. April 6, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    The main headline should have had a question mark at the end. It would have been right then.


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