I admit using headlines to grab your attention

I have noticed that the word ‘admit ‘ is commonly used by Media to make something look dodgy. A headline that caught my eye today is an example.



There are so many things that are true and totally innocuous that can be made to look dodgy by the simple use of the word ‘admit’. Its inclusion makes us think that the person named is ashamed or was pressured in some way to tell the truth. In some cases that may actually be correct but in others the word has been added only to make an eye-catching headline.

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As some publishers struggle to grow their web traffic, one company believes increasing the ratio of some words in headlines could draw in readers. Researchers at native-advertising company Sharethrough says they have narrowed down a thousand words in the English language that are proven to elicit higher emotional engagement.

…the company came up with a list of 1,072 so-called “context words,” broadly grouped into four categories (the full list of context words is available here):

  • time (e.g. abrupt, today, fast)
  • insight (e.g. admit, idea, secret)
  • motion (e.g. act, climb, journey)
  • space (e.g. away, outside).

Based on Sharethrough’s analysis, headlines with at least a 17% ratio of context words command a much higher emotional response in readers.


I have decided to have a bit of fun with this technique by using the context word ‘admit’ to gain an emotional response. It is rather effective as even I was influenced by my own headlines.


                          Andrew Little admits to relationship with black cat.

John Key

John Key admits long-term sexual relationship with woman called Bronagh

" Don't shoot "

James Shaw

                  Co-leader of the Greens admits his tie was made in China.

Martyn Bradbury

Martyn Bradbury screenshot-whaleoil.co.nz

               Blogger Martyn Bradbury admits to wearing brown with black

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