Ghani presidency’s first 100 days: hopes persist despite more violence against journalists

first_img Organisation The first 100 days of the government led by President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have seen significant advances for media freedom.The two leaders made several statements in support of freedom of information in September. Key measures favouring freedom of information have also been taken. They include modifying the access to information law, eliminating the Media Offences Commission, and the planned creation of a media regulatory body under a new media law.But this period has also seen the continuation of a wave of violence against journalists than was unleashed when election coverage began last October. The Taliban stepped up attacks on the civilian population more than a year ago, and their targets have included journalists and media.Reporters Without Borders has also noted at least nine arrests of journalists and bloggers, 55 attacks or threats against information providers, five abductions and four fatal attacks, in which two of the victims were foreign reporters. Despite this wave of violence, Afghan journalists have continued to play an important and responsible role in providing coverage of the elections and the post-election political crisis.“The main reason for the continuing violence and resulting instability has been the war waged by the Taliban against the desire for peace and democracy that the Afghan people demonstrated in the presidential election,” said Reza Moini, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Iran-Afghanistan desk.“But news media and journalists are increasingly being threatened by local government officials and military personnel. All of these abuses must be stopped,” Moini added.Reporters Without Borders reiterates the importance of the need for the Afghan government to address the following essential points and to consider the recommendations that Reporters Without Borders made in its March 2014 report entitled “Presidential election in Afghanistan: local media on the front line”:- Abuses against journalists, which mostly take place outside the capital, continue to go unpunished. At least 32 journalists have been killed in connection with their work since 2002. Women journalists are often singled out for acts of violence and intimidation.- The new interior and justice ministries must relaunch investigations into past murders and serious cases of violence against journalists. They must also ensure that the police investigate every new attack or threat against journalists and do what is necessary to punish those responsible and provide prosecutors and judges with complete case files.- The information ministry must foster editorial independence in the state-owned news media.- The government and religious authorities must defend the right of women to work as journalists, including TV journalists, in the same way that men do.Afghanistan is ranked 128th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. AfghanistanAsia – Pacific Reporters Without Borders welcomes the appointment of several human rights and freedom of information defenders in the new national unity government that was finally formed on 12 January. They include Najiba Ayubi, a journalist on the Reporters Without Borders list of “100 information heroes,” and Ai Soltan Khirie, a renowned poet and journalist. Situation getting more critical for Afghan women journalists, report says News January 17, 2015 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Ghani presidency’s first 100 days: hopes persist despite more violence against journalists News RSF_en Receive email alerts News RSF asks International Criminal Court to investigate murders of journalists in Afghanistan to go further Follow the news on Afghanistan AfghanistanAsia – Pacific Help by sharing this information May 3, 2021 Find out more March 11, 2021 Find out more News June 2, 2021 Find out more Afghanistan : “No just and lasting peace in Afghanistan without guarantees for press freedom”last_img read more

Water still precious

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaThe drought may have broken in the state, but a University ofGeorgia expert urges Georgians not to switch out of waterconservation mode.”We’ve had a lot of rain and many of our reservoirs are filled,”said Clint Waltz, an Extension Service specialist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences. “But the water problems we face in Georgia are everybit as much a people and population problem as they are a droughtproblem. Follow these tips* If you need to fertilize, select a type of fertilizer with lessnitrogen.”To save water, slack off on fertilization so that you aren’tincreasing plant top growth,” Waltz said. “You don’t need tostimulate your grass to grow when you’re trying to save water.”* Increase your mower height. In general, the lower your mowingheight, the shallower your root system, Waltz said.”You want deeper roots with more soil volume to explore for waterand nutrients,” he said. * Promote deeper plant roots by watering less often than normal.”Increase the duration between your irrigation sessions,” saidWaltz. “This way you condition your grass to search deeper forwater.”* Think ahead to the future.”We’re out of the drought now, but no one knows for how long,” hesaid. “You have to keep pre-conditioning your lawn for the nextdrought and conserving water both for the short and long term.”Despite the recent abundance of rain water, Waltz says toremember water is still a precious resource.”You should keep the concept of saving water because it’s aprecious, precious resource,” he said. “We need to insure thatthere’s enough of it around in both wet and dry seasons.” Say on odd, even cycleMost Georgians have become accustomed to following an odd or evenday schedule for watering their lawns. Waltz says you shouldcontinue to keep on those schedules whether they are required byyour local government or not.”However, just because it’s your day to water, doesn’t mean youhave to,” Waltz said. “Your grass doesn’t know what day it is, soif it doesn’t need water, wait another day or two.”And most turfgrasses only need an inch of water per week, Waltzsaid. Some can survive on less.Aside from keeping a watering schedule, he has severalrecommendations for saving water while maintaining yourlandscape:last_img read more

Inflation rise in ’05 low

first_img Outside of autos, December sales rose by just 0.2 percent. November sales fell by 0.4 percent when autos were excluded. Sales were down by 0.3 percent at department and other general merchandise stores in December and were flat at specialty clothing stores. Even electronics stores, which supposedly enjoyed a boom in sales of high-tech games and music players for Christmas, saw a drop of 0.1 percent last month. “Perhaps Santa’s sleigh was a bit lighter than we thought,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston. Sales were up 2.6 percent at car dealerships after a 5.7 percent jump in November car sales. But automakers had to return to sales incentives to boost demand after big sales declines in the early fall. Excluding both cars and gas station sales, which largely reflected higher prices, retail sales would have risen only 0.1 percent in December. “If you take out gas and cars, sales were basically flat,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York. “Consumers are getting more cautious.” Wyss said he was predicting that the economy in 2006 will grow by around 3.5 percent, basically unchanged from the expected growth rate in 2005. But he said rather than consumers and housing providing much of the momentum, the strength was likely to come from increased business capital spending, reflecting in part hurricane reconstruction efforts, and an improving trade performance. In addition to energy, food prices were also up sharply in December, rising by 0.9 percent, while a drop in car prices helped to hold down core inflation. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita While the tame core inflation number showed surging energy has not translated into higher overall prices, analysts said it will keep the Federal Reserve on guard and will likely translate into two more quarter-point rate hikes at the Fed’s Jan. 31 and March 28 meetings. “This alerts us to the fact that we still have to deal with the issue of a possible spillover of high energy prices into core inflation,” said Lyle Gramley, a former Fed governor. “It hasn’t happened yet, but there is a potential problem.” Analysts said that the weaker-than-expected increase in retail sales last month provided evidence that the economy is slowing, which should help dampen future inflation. Many economists believe overall growth in the final three months of 2005 slowed to a rate of 3 percent or less, compared to the 4.1 percent growth in the third quarter of last year, as debt-burdened consumers cut back on spending. The 0.7 percent rise in retail sales in December followed a 0.8 percent November increase, but both months were heavily influenced by auto sales. WASHINGTON – Soaring energy prices pushed wholesale inflation up in 2005 by the highest amount since 1990. Meanwhile, retail sales rose by a moderate 0.7 percent in December with almost all of the strength coming from higher car sales. The Labor Department reported that wholesale prices rose by a bigger-than-expected 0.9 percent in December, closing out a year when wholesale prices rose by 5.4 percent, the biggest advance since a 5.7 percent jump in 1990. However, core inflation, which excludes energy and food, was much better behaved, rising by a tiny 0.1 percent in December and just 1.7 percent for the entire year, even better than the 2.3 percent increase in core prices in 2004. Energy prices shot up 3.1 percent as gasoline prices skyrocketed by 12.3 percent last month. That was close to the 12.7 percent surge in September, when widespread production shutdowns at Gulf Coast refineries saw gasoline rise briefly above $3 per gallon. last_img read more

Warriors Report: Draymond Green’s injury continues to linger

first_imgOAKLAND – The Warriors wrapped up practice Tuesday afternoon.Here are the biggest takeaways from the session.Draymond Green (sore left knee) will not play in Wednesday’s preseason game against the Lakers in Las Vegas.While Green has returned to practice this week, Warriors coach Steve Kerr is taking a conservative approach with the three-time all-star’s return. “We’re going to be cautious,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s still improving but we feel more comfortable giving …last_img

Parents often see obesity in kids as being “healthy”

first_imgTill age four, AT was a lean child. Then an episode of fever led to serious weight loss. On recovery, her parents made it their primary responsibility to feed her. Within a year, she put on so much weight that she was euphemistically referred to as “healthy”. AT, never too,Till age four, AT was a lean child. Then an episode of fever led to serious weight loss. On recovery, her parents made it their primary responsibility to feed her. Within a year, she put on so much weight that she was euphemistically referred to as “healthy”. AT, never too keen on sport, started spending more time on “computer games” and “chatting” on the Net. By the time she came to me as a patient, she was 10 and weighed a worrying 72 kg.Is she a rare entity in today’s urban India? The answer is a resounding and deafening ‘No’. Studies from across the country, especially among urban middle and upper classes, demonstrate that between 20-25 per cent children are either overweight or obese. Over a period of two decades, the average weight of children has increased by over five kg, which in public health terms is equivalent to an “epidemic”. Our own study, from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) among schoolchildren in Delhi, showed that about one-quarter weighed more than their suggested ideal. The problem seemed to start early, with 10 per cent of even five-year-olds being overweight or obese. And it peaked with onset of puberty in both boys and girls.The time trends of childhood obesity unequivocally mirror the surge in economic growth in India. A serendipitous confluence of biological, developmental and technical components have contributed to the emerging epidemic that we see today. From a time when food scarcities were a norm to now, when there is abundant food availability at least among the affluent, coupled with a decline in energy expenditure for activities of daily living-the shift in energy balance has been huge. Extreme endocrine and genetic disorders (a minute proportion of this entity), enhanced caloric consumption, declining physical activity, dramatic increase in sedentary activities (including working or playing on computers, watching television) and a rapid socio-economic and nutrition transition combined with easy access to consumer goods-consumables and energy saving-all contribute to the problem.advertisementFor AT, parental concern over her weight loss led to her spiralling weight gain. To them, the term “healthy” denoted the misconception that a few extra kilograms have a positive health connotation. An inappropriate health notion that finds currency across the country.Click here to EnlargeIs there more to overweight in a child than merely a cosmetic issue? The unfortunate reality is that the significant health implications of childhood obesity are yet to be universally recognised, even among the medical fraternity. When we evaluated more than 500 overweight and obese children in Delhi, 10 per cent had abnormalities of glucose metabolism (with frank diabetes among one per cent); nearly two of every five children had abnormal cholesterol levels. This data was reaffirmed recently by a larger study involving over 3,000 children-with a similar proportion having elevated cholesterol. A striking majority had high “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and low levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL). Childhood obesity begets adult obesity with its attendant risk. But, even before that, childhood obesity has immediate health implications: diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure (BP), fatty liver disease and perhaps maximally (less quantifiable but equally critical) psychosocial complications. Studies in the developed world have clearly linked childhood obesity with poor school performance and unhealthy or risky behaviour, including alcohol and tobacco use. Obesity in childhood and adolescence sets off the process of atherosclerosis and is linked to cardiovascular mortality in adults. Lung disorders, such as asthma and obstructive sleep apnea, are more prevalent among obese children. While obesity reflects increased energy intake, several micro-nutrient deficiencies, namely iron and vitamin D, are much more common in such children.An additional problem, often described from low and middle income countries like India, is when babies born small rapidly gain weight in childhood and adolescence. This has now clearly been shown to be associated with a higher prevalence of diabetes, high bp, lipid abnormalities and other metabolic disturbances. A recent study, following a group of individuals born in south Delhi 40 years ago, shows the implication of this transition from low birth weight to increased weight in young adulthood.The best strategy to counter this problem is a vexed and contentious issue. The ideal approach would be to prevent weight gain. But this is easier said than done. Prevention has to be done at multiple levels-individual, household, school and community. While it is important for the child to be counselled, home and school-based interventions are critical. Parents should be encouraged to offer appropriate food portions and encourage physical activity. And they have to ensure that such advice is followed by all members of the household. It does not help if a child finds others in the family are exempt from the “regimentation” being “imposed” on him or her. A “healthy” school environment is equally important-from suggested food items to be brought in “tiffin” to ensuring adequate sporting facilities.advertisementAT’s parents had started dragging her to nutrition experts and personal trainers, swimming and aerobic classes. But the child showed limited, if any, enthusiasm. Fortunately, her metabolic parameters did not reveal major derangement. We started a prolonged and gradual intervention programme, through multiple interactions with doctors and nutritionists, where she was encouraged to express her views. As rapport and trust developed between the child and her medical team, she embarked on a self-driven and self-targeted programme of weight loss. Over a period of one year, she lost weight and is now a trim, energetic, physically fit and outgoing 12-year-old.Unfortunately, others are often not as lucky.- Dr Nikhil Tandon is a professor at the department of endocrinology and metabolism at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhilast_img read more

LinkedIn Launches “LinkedIn Today” – Tips Marketers Need to Know

first_img Originally published Mar 10, 2011 2:40:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 LinkedIn Today You should have LinkedIn share buttons on all your content.  Recently, LinkedIn launched a new sharing button that tracks the number of shares much like the buttons from Twitter and Facebook.  (There’s one on this article, give it a quick click!)  Very soon after this new button launched, we added it as an option to the blogs of all 4,000 HubSpot customers – no software to install, it just shows up.  ( Topics: What do you think about LinkedIn today?  What other tips would you have for marketers?  Leave a comment and let’s discuss. .  Other ways include making regular status updates, and answering questions posted on LinkedIn Answers. (Check out the news article featured in the video, look familiar?)  Now that your news and blog posts can spread more virally on LinkedIn, there is even more reason to be active in this business community.  If you have more friends and build better relationships with them on LinkedIn, then it is more likely your content will get more shares and be featured on LinkedIn today.  One way to be active is to join groups and post messages there, like our Today LinkedIn launched a new news aggregation and curation service called What does the launch of LinkedIn Today mean for marketers? Inbound Marketers LinkedIn Groupcenter_img You should be publishing not advertising. .  Here is a short video from the company explaining what it is.   You should be active on LinkedIn. Many other websites automatically curate news based on what your friends have liked, shared or voted such as Reddit, Digg, Facebook and tons more.  So the story here is not the technology, but the fact that this type of service is now available on LinkedIn, making it extremely relevant for B2B marketers. LinkedIn Marketing  LinkedIn today is yet another service that gives inbound marketers an advantage.  Rather than buying ads people ignore, you want to be the content that is showing up on the homepage and being promoted by LinkedIn members.  The best way to do this is to start a blog and be your own publisher.  In fact, I’m hoping that this article gets featured on LinkedIn today because all of you share it on LinkedIn. ).  If you are not using HubSpot for marketing, you’ll have to figure out how to add the new button to your blog, maybe contact a web developer, etc.  Either way, you need to do it!  Having these buttons on your content makes it much more likely your website visitors will share the content with their networks and your company will get more attention on LinkedIn. Note to customers: There is a checkbox in blog options to turn it on or off, very easy – if you have any trouble, just call support at 888-HubSpot LinkedIn is a huge social network, has a strong following and usage among b2b companies and is the largest business / career focused community in the world.  If you sell to other businesses, or even to individual business people, you need to know what you should do to get the most out of LinkedIn Today.  Here are some of the key tips for marketers: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

A Penguin-Damaged Company Makes its SEO Recovery & Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_imgIt may have been a shorter work week than usual, but the inbound marketing news sure didn’t slow down. Between new feature releases on your favorite (or maybe not) social networks, websites still recovering from the recent Google Penguin updates, and the usual thought-provoking inbound marketing content that fills our tweet streams, we have a lot to catch up on. So here’s a distilled version of all that industry awesomeness in case you missed it while trying to squeeze a five-day work week into four ;-)Recovering From an Over Optimization Penalty From SEOmozFirst, let’s visit Nick Eubanks at SEOmoz to learn more about the recent Penguin algorithm update from Google — if you haven’t read it yet, you can get a quick recap here. This post is useful because it gives us a step-by-step walkthrough of how an actual company who was dinged in the SERPs by the Penguin update recovered its listing positions. So if you or one of your clients is struggling with this problem right now, this post will give you insight into how you can begin to repair your organic search presence.Why Enterprise SEO Shouldn’t Focus Solely on Keywords From Search Engine LandContinuing on the SEO train, this blog post by Ian Lurie gives us insight into an oft-overlooked topic — how enterprise organizations should approach SEO. Because it’s different than the approach many SMBs should take, and one critical difference is that there really shouldn’t be an incessant focus on keyword optimization. Plus, it opens with a joke — might as well have a chuckle while you read about site crawls.Facebook and Google+ Feature ChangesMan alive there was a lot of inbound marketing news this week. First, Facebook announced the launch of Promoted Posts that lets us extend the reach of our page content. Then, Google+ rocked our worlds with the death of Google Places, which was officially replaced with Google+ Local. That’s right, local businesses, now you have to use Google+! Muahaha. Finally, Facebook came back again to make our lives easier by allowing us to schedule our posts for the future, and letting us assign page admins to certain roles that limit (or increase) their ability to make changes to our brand’s social presence.Is Pinterest Really Leading to Product Purchases? From eMarketerThere’s been a ton of hoopla around Pinterest as of late, but does it actually lead to product purchases? eMarketer just released some data to let us know! Juicy data? You sure know how to make a marketer swoon, eMarketer.10 Reasons to Develop for Android First From Marketing PilgrimFinally, Craig Palli at Fisku helped add fuel to the Android vs. iOS fire with this post that asserts those developing (or thinking about developing) a mobile app should first develop for Android, not iOS. Sneak peak: the Android market’s bigger, and there are fewer privacy constraints. You’ll have to keep reading for the other 8 reasons!What other good inbound marketing content did you find circling the web this past week?Image credit: NS Newsflash Technical SEO Topics: Originally published Jun 3, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Smart Business Applications of Google+ Hangouts You’re Missing Out On

first_imgGoogle+ is chock full of hidden gems. The problem is, most marketers regard Google+ as a social platform that isn’t delivering significant social media marketing results. Unfortunately, this perception usually inhibits their ability to see all the cool things Google+ has to offer: the little features, functionalities, and tools it provides to improve the way your business functions. Boy, are you in for a treat!So let’s stop viewing Google+ as just another social network and instead put it to good use as a business tool, particularly through the use of Google+ Hangouts. Hangouts is one of the most versatile Google+ tools available to you, especially when you find it difficult to assemble your entire team for in-person meetings. With Google+, you can give internal communication a boost and increase efficiency … all for free!Google+ Hangouts … With Extras!If you’re not in the know, Google+ Hangouts is a live group video chat feature that enables you to video chat with up to nine other people. But that’s not all! Google+ Hangouts are also available “with extras” — extra features that you can use within your Google+ Hangout sessions. By hosting a virtual meeting through Hangouts with Extras, you can get so much more out of your Hangout sessions. Here are three ways you can use Google+ Hangouts, including the key “extra” features that amplify their impact.Host Virtual MeetingsScreenshareWell-run marketing meetings include a presentation or slide deck of some sort with key metrics, goals, and progress toward those goals to share with the team. But for those members joining in remotely, your marketing manager running the meeting and projecting slides can open up a Google+ Hangout with the remote attendees and do a simple screenshare. This way, everyone in the meeting can easily pay attention while also keeping those teammates who are off-site well informed. Or, if your CEO or colleague is on a business trip, you can still have one-on-one meetings to show them presentations or other projects you’re working on by starting a Hangout and sharing your screen!Google DocsAs we mentioned in our recent post, “How to Run Marketing Team Meetings That Don’t Suck,” an effective marketing meeting needs an agenda. But you know the one flaw about those perfected agendas? People forget about them. Once you’re even 5 or 10 minutes into a meeting, everyone forgets there was a certain schedule to stick to. That’s why the Hangouts sync with Google Docs is so valuable. Google+ Hangouts are automatically connected to your Google Docs, allowing you to open documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc., and showcase them on the screen as you video chat. Having the agenda in sight reminds members that there is a certain schedule of topics to adhere to and review, keeping them on their toes. Users can also see the meeting notes as they are typed, and can also contribute to them if necessary.In addition to making your team more aware of your meeting’s agenda, Hangouts can help you present certain analytics you continuously track using a spreadsheet (such as your finances or month-to-date progress toward your leads goal), and enable you to review those numbers together. Or, if you’re simply working with someone else on a presentation for an upcoming meeting or event, you can build it collaboratively via Google Presentations and then transfer the documents to your preferred presentation software such as PowerPoint or Keynote later. That way, if either of you has an idea to add to or alter the presentation, you can make the change or add a note right then and there rather than taking the risk of forgetting about it later. This eliminates time-wasting back-and-forth and lets group members work together efficiently!Improve CommunicationGroup ChatDon’t you hate when you’re in a meeting, someone needs to leave, so she interrupts the speaker to excuse herself? Me too. Instead, keep your meeting’s Google+ Hangout open whether the meeting is virtual or in-person. That way, attendees can easily excuse themselves by leaving a note in the chat pane, and exiting without interruption. This tool can also come in handy if you want to direct meeting attendees to a specific link, or if the meeting you need them to send you any piece of information, such as a phone number or address.If you’re team is hosting a guest or speaker, either at an event or in-person, you can also use Google+ Hangouts so people not attending in person hear and see what’s going on, and communicate via chat.YouTubeWatching videos of cats running into walls is funny — but it’s even funnier when you do it with others! But on a more serious note, video marketing is still alive and well. If someone on your team has been working on your next case study, product video, or music video, but has the video unlisted to the public for the purpose of continued editing, he/she can share progress with other members of your team by easily connecting to YouTube. (Of course, if the video hasn’t reached this stage, you could always use screenshare to show what you have saved on your computer).Another benefit of the YouTube sync in Google+ Hangouts is, when you’re browsing YouTube, you sometimes stumble upon a video that either inspires you or illustrates a message in a compelling way. Instead of trying to describe this to your colleague later or trying to convince your videographer how awesome it was, you can use the Hangout button under “share” right from within YouTube to easily watch the video with another person virtually.Have FunGoogle EffectsSometimes a meeting can be enhanced by just a bit of FUN! At HubSpot, our marketeering team (marketing + engineering) has members who sit in all different parts of the office, work on different schedules, and some who even work off-site — in other countries! Thus, they host their daily team update using Google+ Hangouts and have a whole lot of fun with the seasonal effects. Sometimes mustaches make an appearance, and sometimes they sport reindeer antlers and noses! While these silly effects hardly serve any “business” value, who doesn’t benefit from a little fun at work now and again? While chatting using these effects, why not take screenshots and share them on your social media platforms? It shows off your brand’s personality, and hey — nothing bad can come from showcasing how happy your company’s employees are. Video Marketing Additional AppsThe “Extras” we mentioned above aren’t the only apps you can add to your Google+ Hangouts. There is also a doodle screen (for design brainstorms?), a SlideShare app (for showing final projects?), and many others. Google+ gives you quite a few options, so be sure to customize your Hangouts for your company’s optimal use.Are you using Google+ Hangouts for your business? If so, how? Image Credit: Womenofhr Originally published Aug 13, 2012 12:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016center_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Before & After: How to Fix These 7 Horrible Headlines

first_img Originally published Nov 15, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Blog Headlines Crafting headlines is the hardest part of the entire writing process. You’ve got to be descriptive, yet concise. Attention-grabbing, yet factual. Seach-engine friendly, yet catchy. Oh, and alliteration works well. And you’ve probably overused the word “awesome” or “amazing” — so find something better than that. To top it all off, it should also fit in under 140 characters so it’s easy to tweet. Yup, that’s hard. It’s so hard that my teammates and I on HubSpot’s blogging team never publish a post without brainstorming a headline with each other first. And even then, we might not get it right. So when I see a horrible, terrible, no-good headline published, I feel for the author or editor who labored over publishing it … but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from their mistakes to make our own headlines better.To make this a learning experience — not a finger-pointing-fest — I compiled seven pretty bad headlines into the post below. We’ll dissect them and figure out why they’re ill-advised, and then make mental notes to avoid them in our own writing.  1) “15 Fears Everyone Has and No One Talks About”That was the headline I clicked on when I landed on the BuzzFeed homepage. I’m a huge scaredy-cat, so I was excited to see what other common fears people secretly shared based on the headline. I landed in the post and immediately started scrolling — I want to have my fears validated! This is what I see:And then they kept getting weirder and weirder. The fear of being left handed. The fear of beards. The fear of chins. What the heck? I thought these were supposed to be “fears that everyone has” — that’s what the headline promised me would be here.Annoyed, I scroll up and confront the headline on the article page: “12 Things You Won’t Believe People Are Afraid Of.” That’s completely different than what I was promised.In your own titles, don’t pull the headline bait-and-switch — even if it’s unintentional. I like to ask myself one question before publishing: “Is that really what the article is about?” If yes, I hit publish. If not, I go back to the headline drawing board. 2) “Ryan Seacrest to Go Viral All Over Kids With New Nickelodeon Show”When I first saw this title, I laughed out loud — and that’s not because Ryan Seacrest will be hosting a new game show where kids will be competing to win prizes by watching viral videos. Nor is it the fact that the phrase “go viral” is in the headline.Take a look at what follows “go viral” … what the heck is “going viral all over kids”? I thought it must be a weird pun that would be addressed in the article, but it wasn’t. It’s just this random phrase tacked on to the end of “go viral” that no one says … ever. And now that it’s been added on to the end of “go viral”, the whole title sounds grotesque and inappropriate. When you’re writing titles, be 100% sure what you’re saying actually means what you’re saying. Certain words and phrases mean certain things in certain contexts. If you really need a gut check, IM or email a coworker with the title and zero context and ask them what their thoughts are. Better safe than sorry.3) “ Advises Teens to Look to Celebrities for the Perfect Prom Dress Styles and Where to Turn for a More Affordable Choice”One of the best grammar lessons I learned was about parallel structure. Basically, if you’re going to have two phrases in a sentence, they should follow the same structure. It’s mostly about having the same verb tense, but you can get fancier by aligning other elements of the phrase. When you break the parallel structure rule, compound sentences end up sounding awkward … like really awkward. Take the above title from a press release, for example. Read it one time and tell me what the article is going to be about. Teens should take celebrity advice for prom dress styles? Teens should find someone to help them find a cheap prom dress? It’s super confusing because the article is supposed to address both.Here’s how I’d rewrite the title to get that dual message across: “ Advises Teens To Look To Celebrities For The Perfect (and Affordable) Prom Dress Styles.” Much clearer, right?You’ve heard this lesson for your entire life, and you’ll hear it again in this blog post: Grammar is important. It’s not the be-all-end-all of content creation, but it should be used to help clarify your message, not muddle it.4) “Under Investigation”I’m going to let you try this one on your own. The header above was the headline I saw, and here’s the context in which I saw it in the sidebar of The Huffington Post: What the heck is that post about? Who is under investigation? And what for? Glenn Greenwald? Maybe it’s just me being ignorant of what’s happening in the world, but I don’t even recognize who the man in the picture is.Here’s what the title is once I click through: UK Pursuing Criminal Investigation Into Guardian Leaks. OH. Now that makes sense!Lesson for us: Never sacrifice the meaning of your headline for being concise. I had no clue what that post was about and I definitely wouldn’t have clicked through unless I was writing this blog post about confusing titles. Don’t assume that your readers will just get it — I’d bet that 9/10 times, they’re going to keep scrolling. 5) “Facebook Like Button, Viewed 22B Times a Day on 7.5M Websites, Gets a Redesign”This title from TechCrunch isn’t one of the worst I’ve ever seen — it’s pretty straightforward and clickable. But it does have one pretty giant weak spot.Check out that descriptive phrase right smack dab in the middle of the headline: “Viewed 22B Times a Day on 7.5M Websites.” Yep, those numbers are impressive … but they’re describing Facebook, the biggest social network of our age. We don’t really need a qualifier to understand how gargantuan Facebook is — so cut it from your headline. If you’re adding data, adjectives, or any clarifier to your titles that don’t really need to be there, cut it out. Since you have limited space in your title for it to appear in search and social networks, use it wisely. 6) “California Pinots to Beat Blockbusters: John Mariani”Is this a spam post randomly compiling words together like the “What would I say app?” that’s been taking the internet by storm? And who the heck is John Mariani? This article is on Bloomberg — shouldn’t it be good? I was just really confused when I saw this.The main problem with this headline is that it comes across as quite randomly put together, and name drops someone who isn’t recognizable to someone who’s a big wine fan (cough me cough). Instead, Bloomberg should remove Mariani’s name from the title, and try to position the California Pinots as the underdog so that “beating blockbusters” makes sense — and makes you want to click. It also confuses a reader by having two recognizable names — “pinots” and “blockbusters” — close to one another but with no discernible relation. Are Pinots and Blockbusters in a fight? Why is wine fighting with an old video rental chain? The problem is compounded because “beat” can be used as both a noun and a verb. Are the pinots beating up the video store? Or are “Beat Blockbusters” a thing I should know about that lie on a spectrum which runs the gamut from “California Pinots” to “Beat Blockbusters”?If i was going to redo this title, I’d probably nix the word “blockbusters” entirely, as it takes the mind to another place that the article doesn’t intend you to go. (And it’s not the right place.)7) “Stop Wasting Away Your Workday With These Productivity Tools and Techniques”And of course, we couldn’t end this post without adding one of our own titles into the mix. Like I said before, it happens to all of us. So here’s a title of a recent post that flopped.It’s confusing … right? It seems like we were telling you to NOT use these productivity tools and techniques because they make you waste time, but in fact, we really wanted you to use them to save time. The reason it’s confusing is the word choice, “with.” Once we realized our mistake, we switched up the phrasing to say, “Productivity Tools and Techniques to Stop Wasting Away Your Workday.” Clearer, right?The lesson: Really think about your word placement — something as simple as switching the phrases in a headline can add clarity, or mystery, to your headline. If you’re straightforward yet compelling, you’re going to be set for any headline you write. Think about what you’ve said in the post (yup, I’m recommending writing your title after you write your post) — and think about how you’d get your buyer persona to read the article in five seconds or less.What terrible headlines have you seen, and how would you fix them? Share them with us in the comments.  Topics:last_img read more