The story is more important than the headline 

Bradley Massman

Bradley Massman

Headline-writing can be a very hard skill to develop as a journalist.

Sometimes, readers won't make it past the headline and judge a story -- in its entirety -- based on one measly headline.

We've all done it.

But for those who make it through the journey of the story, the ending can sometimes surprise you.

A great example: My recent column on how I've dealt with my "difficult coworker."

In the days following the column going live, I received a few texts and was asked, "Who's giving you problems?" and, "What's the drama happening in the Big Rapids office?"

After laughing it off, it was obvious they didn't make it past the headline, and if they did, they didn't get far.

For those of you who did make it from start to finish, you know exactly who I'm referring to.

Well guess who's back at it? Yep. Stella -- and she's got her own fan club now.

A few days after my column was printed, I received an email from a reader who shared with me a similar story about their dog. We exchanged emails back-and-forth about our dogs, which made me glad to hear that I'm not the only one to "speak" for my dog.

I was also reassured that at least one person read something I wrote.

I told my fiancé Sarah about the email and then read it over to Stella who was happy to hear her popularity status is moving up in the ranks.

A day or two went by and then another email appeared in my inbox.

"I got another email about Stella today," I said to Sarah when I got home from work that day.

And then another one came. And another. And another. And another.


I received 11 emails from 11 readers reaching out about Stella. In those emails, I've read rescue stories; stories of conversations you too have with your dogs; and in a few cases, some of you shared photos of your best friends.

With each email, Stella and I would sit down -- accompanied by some treats and her Mr. Piggy -- and read them over. Once we were done, there was no way I could delete her "fan mail."

So, I've created a special folder in my email account and it now has its own place.

Here's to you and your canine friends, readers: Thank you (and treat your pals to a pup cup soon).

And here's to another week of mischief with Stella.

One thing to note: Stella's only request is that you don't ask for autographs if you see her in public.

Bradley Massman is the editor of the Herald Review. He can be reached at