Confusing headlines on stories continued on another page
Question: I understand why news articles have to be contuined on another page. What I do not understand is why the continued story on another page is under a different title. I find it very confusing to have to sort through all stories on the continued page to find the one I am interested in. Why does the same story not have the same title on both pages? -- Larry Parker, Spokane
Answer: In newspaper parlance, you’re asking about stories that "jump." To be honest, The Spokesman-Review, like most newspapers, jumps too many stories. We know for a fact that readership on any given story drops dramatically when we ask readers to follow it to another page. Yet we cotninue to jump stories because the alternatives -- much shorter stories or stories written in multiple parts -- can be much harder to produce.
When we do jump a story, we need to make it as easy as possible for readers to find the continuation. Our current style for jump headlines is to write a full second headline that conveys real information and which doesn't simply duplicate the original. The thinking is readers will learn something from the jump headline even if they don't read the rest of the story and that some readers who missed the first part might be attracted to the jump where they'll pick up the story for the first time.
In any event, we have editors who believe our jump head style needs to be simplified. They're meeting now to determine if changes should be made and I'm sure they'll read this question with genuine interest. -- Steve Smith, editor