headline rules

lucky   Thursday, November 11, 2004, 21:29 GMT
headlines are always in present tense.
I think it's rule number one for headline.
could you tell me other rules that we should follow writng headlines ?
Jim   Friday, November 12, 2004, 00:10 GMT
How about this one: "Never use complete sentences." It's a fact: headlines don't tend to be complete sentences: there's a good reason of course.

As far as I can make out there is only one rule: "Write a headline that will help sell the paper." The most obvious corollary of this would be "Write something attention catching." And, well, don't you feel that the present tense is more attention grabbing that the past?
D   Friday, November 12, 2004, 02:33 GMT
There are several rules that editors use when
composing headlines. The most noticable are the present-tense
rule and the rule to omit articles. Almost every occurance of a, an,
or the is removed to save space. Besides this, many editors
attempt to avoid passive voice; if they need to use passive voice,
they often omit the words was, were, and has/have been to save space.
This makes the past participles look like present-tense adjectives.

Here are some headlines from boston.com right now,
which illustrate this style:

Veteran, 80, killed in parade tragedy
First snow of season forecast for Boston Friday night
Ex-Somali leader sued for war crimes
Airport terminal evacuated in Virginia
Olson predicts firestorm for next justice
Truck dumps load of peanuts into yard
Tom   Friday, November 12, 2004, 17:07 GMT
"Children make great snacks"
Damian   Friday, November 12, 2004, 20:58 GMT
Someone once said :

"I love children but I couldn't eat a whole one".