Once Upon a Time There Were First-Day Headlines and Second-Day Headlines

In the old days—10 years ago—newspaper editors often had to write a first-day headline, telling the reader clearly what happened, and then a second-day head with more of a feature approach.

Last night’s come-from-behind Washington Nationals 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, climaxed by a base hit by the Nats’ Juan Soto that drove in three runs, ended around 11 p.m. and when I picked up this morning’s Washington Post at 6:30 and turned to the sports page, the big headline across the page was:

Juan for the money

Okay, it’s a play on the old children’s rhyme that goes “One for the money, Two for the show, Three to get read, And four to go.” Children sometimes say it when they’re about to start a race.

I bounced the “Juan for the money” head off several editors I’ve worked with. One, not bothered by it, said, “It’s a symptom of everything in the news cycle now—how to stay ahead.”

Another said, “Yeah, too cute by half. My favorite second-day headline of all time is “FDR Remains Dead Today After Dying Yesterday.”

I couldn’t find any documented use of that FDR headline, but there was one similar quote on YouTube, attributed to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “FDR sought reelection…after his death.”

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