Life as a student journalist: Headlines and the Core Four

Headlines and the Core Four are important to journalists. They are vital to writing an interesting story.


By Cindy Reves, advisor

Pinion editors from the 2019 staff, Kelvin Ku, Alexandria Buchanan, and Thompson Wong interview a Civil Beat reporter.

An Vo

When writing articles as a journalist, you should always consider what your headline will be and which of the core four your article goes under. There are rules to creating an interesting and concise headline that can get the audience to read your article.


Every article needs a headline. A headline is the title that summarizes the story. Headlines must always include a verb in present tense (e.g. “Okamura ‘PREPARED’ for challenges,” and “Pila ‘BEGINS’ new chapter).

Headlines should be about something interesting in the story, yet also accurately reflect its content. Headlines should also be short. Removing a word or two will make a headline concise (e.g. “Pila begins a new chapter in his career” can be revised as “Pila begins new chapter”).

On editorials, the headline must include a word that represents your opinion; whether the reader should or shouldn’t do something after reading your article (e.g. “Littering invading campus ‘SHOULD’ be maintained”).

Headlines should also be formatted correctly. The right way to write headlines for The Pinion is to capitalize the first word and leave the others lowercase unless you are mentioning someone or something that has importance (e.g. “U.S. Navy Band celebrates Veterans Day”).

The last rule to remember for headline is to put single quotation marks (‘title’) whenever you mention the title of a book or movie or a quote instead of the usual quotation marks that you use to indicate a quote or the title of an article and source in the article.

Core Four

There are four types of articles in a newspaper: news, features, editorials, and sports.

NEWS: tells the reader about something that has happened. A common type of news story is event coverage. An important part of event coverage is observations. Writing down what you see and hear in an event are skills that a professional journalist uses to write a good article.

FEATURES: One type of feature is a profile – a story about a person. Often includes something unique about the subject to make the story interesting, also known as the defining moment in their life. Another type of feature is an issue or topic. The main difference between news and features about an issue or topic is timeliness. Often one can tie a feature to a news event.

EDITORIALS: an opinion article using the writer’s opinion. Reporters can get opinions from other people as evidence to make a claim convincing or to show two different opinions about a topic. However, most of what most journalists do is write reported, factual pieces.

SPORTS: talks about athletic events/games. There are three types: sports news, sports editorial, and sports features. Sports news is news about sports. Sports editorials are opinion articles about sports. Sports features might include profiles about people in the athletic area.