10 ways to reduce a headline from 17 to 12 words and a lead 25 per cent, from 67 to 50 words

Another Day in the Life of newswire.ca In this example, by applying a few basic ‘Of Is and By’ writing tips, a 25 per cent reduction is easily achieved – with the same meaning. #humberpr #PR @cfsfcee #copy #cdnpse


Even with new investments in affordability, Ontario remains most expensive province in which to pursue higher education (17 words)

TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2017 /CNW/ – Ontario remains the most expensive province in which to pursue post-secondary education, according to data released today by Statistics Canada. Average undergraduate tuition fees for the 2017-2018 academic year will be $8,454, up from $8,114 in the previous year. Across the country, graduate and international tuition fees also continued to rise, signaling an alarming reliance by post-secondary institutions on tuition fees as a primary source of revenue. (67 words)

PR Writer/Of Is and By edits

Even with enhanced affordability, Ontario higher education tuition most expensive in Canada (12 words)

TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2017 /CNW/ – Ontario’s post-secondary tuition remains Canada’s most expensive, according to Statistics Canada data released today. For the 2017-2018 academic year, average undergraduate tuition fees are $8,454, up from $8,114 in 2016. Graduate and international tuition fees also rose nationally, signaling post-secondary institutions’ alarming reliance on them as a primary revenue source.  (50 words)


  1. New investments in affordability – this isn’t followed up in the lead and isn’t clear. It can be shortened to ‘enhanced affordability.’
  2. In which – one of those phrases that should send writers scurrying for the editing pen. It’s repeated in both the headline and the lead, is awkward both times – and easily eliminated.
  3. Headline writing – Headline-ese is a special craft and suspends normal grammatical rules. In the rewrite, the verb isn’t used or needed.
  4. According to data released by Statistics Canada – avoid the passive voice, avoid the passive voice! Make it: ‘according to Statistics Canada data released today.’ Later transpose so it’s ‘post-secondary institutions’ alarming reliance.’ Use the glorious apostrophe; it’s a passive voice killer.
  5. Will be – we are already in the 2017 academic year, so just ‘are.’
  6. In the previous year – 2016 covers it.
  7. Across the country – ‘nationally’ reduces three words to one and can be placed later in the sentence.
  8. Continued to rise – another construction to be avoided. ‘Also rose’ has the same meaning.
  9. Word repeats – a simple tip: if you use the same phrase twice, cut the second one. ‘On them’ easily refers to the earlier ‘tuition fees.’
  10. Primary revenue source of revenue – Apply Of is and by to help this flabby lead and ‘source of revenue’ becomes ‘revenue source.’




Author: rotmanprwriter

PRWriter, Copy Doctor, Humber College PR and writing Prof

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