In this Rewrite Series blog post, I’m going to rewrite several headlines using our version 6 text-rewriting prompt. Wordbot itself is currently using the V5 prompt. V6 is the next evolution of our text-rewriting gpt-3 prompt. To thoroughly test the V6 prompt as a headline writer, I’m going to randomly choose 10 headlines from NPR.org. For each headline passed into the prompt, I’ll receive three rewritten headlines back. For each headline passed in, I’ll show the original headline, the rewritten headlines, and provide commentary on how Wordbot did.
Below are the 10 original headlines and 3 rewrites for each. Commentary on the results is also included.
A Texas rabbi threw a chair at the gunman before he and two other hostages escaped
A rabbi in Texas threw a chair at the thug before he and two other hostages escaped
A rabbi in Texas had thrown a chair at the gunman before he and two other hostages escaped
The rabbi in Texas had thrown a chair at the thug before he and two other hostages escaped
Key rewrites here are the change of
A Texas rabbi to
A rabbi in Texas,
threw a chair to
had thrown a chair, and
thug. I think the original headline remains the best because it is more succinct, for example using gunman instead of thug. However, the rewrites are still good and give the copywriter food for thought, which is what rewriting headlines with AI is all about.
MLK's memory is honored by demonstrators calling for the passage of voting rights bill
Demonstrators are honoring the memory of Dr. King by calling for a voting rights bill to pass.
Demonstrators are honoring the memory of Dr. King by campaigning for a voting rights bill to pass.
Demonstrators are honoring the memory of Dr. King by campaigning for the passage of a voting rights bill.
The headline writer provided excellent rewrites for this headline. The AI moved the demonstrators part of the sentence to the front, changed
Dr. King, used
campaigning instead of
calling in two of the rewrites, and experimented with changing
pass while moving it to the end of the headline.
The rewrites range from 17 – 18 words. The original headline is 14. I would manually edit the rewrites down by a few words each to produce excellent headlines.
The U.S. is divided over whether nuclear power is part of the green energy future
The United States is split in the issue of nuclear power.
The United States must decide if nuclear power will be part of the green future.
The United States is divided over whether or not nuclear power should be a part of the energy future.
The original headline is 16 words. Our rewritten headlines range from 11 to 19. The third rewrite is a bit long at 19 words. I would manually edit that down by 2 – 5 words. All rewrites used
United States instead of
U.S. I prefer U.S. for a headline as it’s shorter. Other differences are replacing the the word
divided and including or removing the word
An epic inheritance fight will soon cost a Texas-born princess her 16th century villa
A fight for an inheritance will soon cost a Texan a 16th century villa.
A war for an inheritance will soon cost the 16th century villa to a Texan.
An epic battle for an inheritance will soon cost the Texas-born princess her 16th century villa.
This group of rewrites is a great example of tradeoffs. The first two headline rewrites are shortened and well written, but leave out the word princess. For a headline like this, the word princess is clickbait because we wonder why is there a princess in Texas? It needs to stay in the headline. The third rewrite includes the word princess which is great, but has less variation from the original headline. It mainly changes
inheritance fight to
battle for an inheritance, which makes the headline longer by two words.
Thousands in northeast are without power after heavy snowfall from winter storm
Many people in the northeast are without power after heavy snowfall this week.
A lot of people in northeast lost power after a big storm earlier in the week.
Thousands of people in the northeast lost power over the past few days because of heavy snowfall.
The original headline is 14 words. The rewritten headlines range from 13 to 17. The rewrites are as good as the original, with the exception of the third which is too long at 17 words.
Some insurance brokers enroll people in ACA plans without consent
Some insurance brokers are enrolling people in ACA plans without consent.
Some insurance brokers are enrolling people in Affordable Care Act plans without consent.
Some insurance agents enroll people in ACA plans without their consent.
Some notable changes are
brokers changed to
agents, the ACA acronym replaced with Affordable Care Act, and changing the word
enroll to the phrase
are enrolling. I would consider combining the rewrites to produce the new headline Insurance agents are enrolling people in ACA plans without consent.
Illinois judge is reassigned after overturning sexual assault conviction
The judge who overturned a sexual assault conviction has been reassigned.
A judge who had overturned a sexual assault conviction has been reassigned.
An Illinois judge who had overturned a sexual assault conviction is now being reassigned.
All headlines kept the primary topic, which is a judge being reassigned for overturning a sexual assault conviction. Two of the rewritten headlines dropped Illinois, which may or may not be critical to the headline. Other than that, the rewrites basically rearranged the words of the original.
A major winter snow and ice storm is battering the Southern U.S. and moving north
A major winter snow and ice storm is battering the Southern U.S.
An intense winter snow and ice storm is battering the Southern U.S., but it's showing signs of moving north.
The first rewrite dropped the phrase
and moving north from the end of the headline. The second rewrite swapped
major and added the phrase
but it’s showing signs of. Notice there is no third rewrite. This headline only produced two rewritten ones. This happens some times when the prompt struggles with a sentence. Surprisingly, I feel this is one of the more straightforward headlines. Seems strange the prompt struggled with it.
Israel Dresner, rabbi who marched with Martin Luther King, dies at 92
Rabbi Israel Dresner, who marched with Martin Luther King, died at 92.
Rabbi Israel Dresner, who marched with Martin Luther King, has died at the age of 92.
Rabbi Israel Dresner, who marched with Martin Luther King, has passed away at the age of 92.
These rewrites are straightforward.
Rabbi was placed at the beginning for each of the three rewritten headlines. Each rewrite changed the end of the headline.
Essential workers face a tough choice: Find a test or miss work
The workers have a tough choice: Do they find a test or do they not come to work?
The essential workers have to make a tough decision: Find a test or not come to work.
The essential employees are in an unfortunate situation: Either find a test or don't come to work.
The first rewrite dropped the word
essential. I don’t think that’s a problem as many employees today are faced with mandatory testing, not just essential workers. The rewritten headlines are worded quite differently than the original, but all keep the exact original meaning. The original headline was only 12 words, the rewrites ranged from 17 – 18 words. Although the rewrites are very high quality, I would manually edit them down closer to 12 – 15 words.
I’m very pleased with this headline writer test. All ten original headlines were taken from NPR, which is a news website. These headlines were surely written by professional copy writers. Our prompt generated very adequate rewrites for all of them. There are a few things I’d like to note.
I noticed that the rewritten headlines get better and better as we run them through the prompt. We should consider this when designing our V7 prompt – how do we get the quality from the second rewrite call on the first call? The AI learns from the first time a headline is passed in and thus is more informed when asked to rewrite the same headline a second time.
Some of the rewritten headlines are a bit long for a headline. I tuned downed the response length of the prompt which did shorten the rewrites, but still some headlines are probably longer than desired. This can be easily fixed by manually editing, but we’ll want to consider this for the next headline writer prompt test.