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Dear Headline Writer...

Think twice before crafting that click-bait headline

The next time you prepare to write that click-bait headline or develop a sensational opening paragraph that may not be entirely accurate – and may be inclined to streeeeeeeeeeeetttttttttch the truth or make it more salacious – please think twice.

Maybe your company is evaluating your performance via website analytics; the appeal of what you write indeed may be determined based on clicks through to your articles. I’ve heard those stories, and I think it’s a terrible way to incentivize great reporting, but more on that later. I understand fully - the more eyeballs you get on your website, the more advertising revenue comes in.

I recognize that competition in journalism is fierce, and that truly local journalism is under fire. I count reporters and editors among my close friends, and I feel their pain when another layoff is announced or a newspaper shutters its presses. And it's important to know that I don't think this drive to sensationalism is the "norm" in journalistic practice.

Please select this link to read the complete blog from OSAE Member Hinda Mitchell.

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