My goal when writing display copy is accuracy and clarity. But I’m also interested in readability, which is why I try to use realistic, conversational language. I don’t like puns or plays on words, because I think it’s easier to produce clich├ęs that way. Mostly, I try to write like I think people speak and read.

Some stories demand an unconventional treatment. This front-page piece about a man building a “Star Trek” command center out of trash at his home was a perfect opportunity for playfulness.
Touching centerpiece about the death of a local brewery’s mascot and the introduction of a new one.
The posture of the man in the photo looked very much like a frustrated father, and I imagined an answer to a child’s whine: Why isn’t the monsoon here yet?
headline sample
Every year, there’s a story about stupid warning labels. This is a great opportunity for whimsical and unconventional headlines.
Centerpiece story following up on a tragic fatality at a railroad intersection.
I hesitate to use pop-culture witticisms, but I couldn’t resist on this story about how the snow wasn’t as wet as it needed to be for the area’s drought.
After the 9/11 attacks, terrorism was in the headlines every day. When the London attacks happened, we struggled for a headline that gave it enough weight and distinction from other terrorism headlines. We ultimately went with this one, which I think shows the frustration of a recurring tragedy.
I think this headline would have been better if it had just ended after “toddler.” But when you’re on deadline, you work with the space you have.
Excellent follow-up story about a man ticketed for going 147 mph in a Hyundai Sonata. Glad our paper had the presence of mind to ask whether a Hyundai can even go that fast. Turns out it probably can’t.
Sometimes it’s difficult to say what you need to say gracefully in such a limited space.