How to Eliminate ‘Crash Blossoms’ From Your Copy

Attention spans are short and getting shorter, long press releases cost more than short ones and most publications have word count limits, so learning how to edit quickly and well is a crucial skill for any communicator. But before you start cutting, consider the crash blossom. Coined when an American editor based in Sapporo, Japan, spotted the headline “Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms” and wondered, “What’s a crash blossom?,” the term refers to a headline that’s been pared down so far it unintentionally allows for alternative meanings. Classics of the genre include: “Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim,” “McDonald’s Fries the Holy Grail for Potato Farmers,” and “British Left Waffles on Falklands.

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