Give your money to me

March 22, 2011


No, I don’t really want you to send me your money. Unless, you know, you don’t want it.

That headline was just a trick, a gimmick that we journalists sometimes use to get you to read stories you wouldn’t otherwise notice.

As I write this, the most-discussed story on is an opinion piece headlined, Don’t donate money to Japan.

headline japan this 340It is attracting thousands of clicks, but also some criticism from readers who say it was irresponsible. I myself doubt whether that headline stopped anyone from donating. If folks are taking orders from headline writers now, it’s news to me.

The problem is, writing trick headlines can become just too easy. The same blogger who is enjoying such success with this one, last year wrote, Don’t give money to Haiti.”

FRANCE/I hope he realizes that if his personal fortunes ever go south and he is forced to beg outside our office in Times Square, somebody is bound to write, “Don’t give money to that blogger.”

Journalists know lots of devious headline gimmicks, which I’m not supposed to tell you if you’re not in our business.

My own most successful headline from the past couple of years was, Ten stupid things you shouldn’t do with cameras around.” The French president is illustrating one of them for me in the photo on the left.

This headline really worked well, because people like words such as “stupid” and “dumb.” They also love to read top ten lists, ever since Moses scored big with, “Top Ten Commandments thou must obey.”

MUSIC-MTV/Other amazingly successful headlines from my blog include,Gosh, isn’t this a pretty dumb thing to do?andAre you smarter than your turkey?”

That last one asks a yes or no question, which I normally try to avoid in case the reader’s answer is no.

I read this headline recently: “Want to buy Slash’s guitar?” Nope. You see what I mean?

The worst headlines are the ones which start out so stupidly that you don’t even finish reading them, much less look at the story.

Here’s one I saw over the weekend. I am not making this up: “Lady Gaga’s beauty secret…”

Yeah? Thanks, but no thanks.

Now, please go donate money to somebody other than me.

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Top: Mahouts ride elephants as they collect money for victims of the recent Japan earthquake and tsunami during a donation drive in Khao San Road, a backpacker area, in Bangkok, March 21, 2011. REUTERS/ Chaiwat Subprasom

Left: French yachtswoman Maud Fontenoy poses with France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy after she was awarded Chevalier of the French order of Merit during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, July 12, 2007. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Right: Lady Gaga, wearing a meat dress, poses backstage at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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I like Mr. Salmon’s article and the fact that we live in a country where freedom of expression is allowed. He isn’t wearning a suit made out of fish, though, is he? Hey, is he the one that supplied the new salmon bars that replaced the white ones???

Lady Gaga should be careful wearing her meat dress to any BBQ cook offs…

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Well if an elephant comes and asks me for money, I think I should not resist πŸ˜€

Posted by fwd079 | Report as abusive

β€œTop Ten Commandments thou must obey.” That had me laughing! πŸ˜€

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

And now, more OE news … Gangs of elephant pickpockets are roaming the streets of Bangkok parading as volunteers soliciting funds for earthquake victims in Japan. Not to worry, so far all they’ve gotten are peanuts. In a related story, Lady GaGa wears elephant boots to the VMA awards. Doughnuts at 11. :-)

Posted by justCAM | Report as abusive

Ifly, that had me too!

Posted by Malteser | Report as abusive

Eh, is LG licking her fingers in that pic, albeit very “seductively”?
I have one word if she is… Ewwwww!!!!!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Yeah, Felix sort of stepped into it with that one.

Posted by ARJTurgot2 | Report as abusive

I want to know whatever happened to LG’s meat dress. Did it become an entree at an after party, or is it still hanging up in her freezer? Or in her closet? I can just imagine a conversation with her housekeeper:

“LG, that ‘dress’ you wore last year is getting kinda…ripe! Maybe you should donate it or compost it or something.”
“Oh, no! I couldn’t bear to part with it. It’s an original!”

Posted by AllThatJazz | Report as abusive

So you may be wondering, how DOES an elephant pick your pocket? It’s pretty ugly, really. So ugly, in fact, that they rejected my article on wikihow. The worst part is how you have to retrieve the stollen wallets.

(I seen to remember a Careers post about vet’s cleaning out elephants, yuk … couldn’t find it)

Posted by justCAM | Report as abusive

yes justCam, this was it: 09/04/09/it-dont-get-much-worse-than-thi s/

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Stop right there, Spin. If you actually try telling the handshake….

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

The meat dress and I assume meat boots quite impress me. Is that a meat hairpiece though? Because that’s wrong.

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

That is a meat headpiece CG… I dont find anything about that dress that is NOT wrong…
I see you harbor a lot of secrets Mr.B…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

What, Charlie Sheen is in Afghanisatan? I thought the U.N. had rules against deploying Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

Nosmo – I think Charlie Sheen is a Weapon of Mouth Destruction.

Posted by inebgreen | Report as abusive

I agree with ineb… he totally is…
I also agree with Spin…
and if people start copying him, then I would agree with Nosmo too…

There, arent we all agreeable today?
Now, where are the doughnuts?

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive