Leadlines - which put the lead of the story in bigger type and are used in place of headlines - may be a better way to catch readers who simply scan headlines.
Headlines often are the only type that many readers see. But just as the type is bigger, so are the consequences if that type is libelous. Luckily, courts usually take an accurate story into account when considering potentially libelous heads.
Words carry many layers of meaning, some of which are unintended. Take "admit," for example. What happens when that word gets headline treatment?
The first facts that a reader gets about a story come from the headline, which gives it the power to influence how a reader organizes and recalls information in the story.