1. Numerals are fine. Proper AP style in a story requires you to write: “The man robbed three women at gunpoint, police said.” But the hed for that story could say: Police: armed man robs 3 women.
2. Periods are not needed! Very rare that you will need to use a period in a headline unless you are trying to write complete sentences, which is also rare. A semi-colon or even a comma can be used to introduce a new thought. For example: Jobless rate hits 10 percent; 2 million people lost jobs in Oct.
3. Almost always OK to replace the word “and” with a comma. For example: Obama, Biden to visit Iraq….or Obama visits Iraq, Iran, Japan, China
4. Heds do NOT need to be complete sentences. See examples above.
5. Avoid question heds, quote heds, etc. They can be effective….RARELY!
6. Make sure the headline accurately portrays the story that follows. Think of them as sneak previews, OR PROMISES THAT MUST BE KEPT.
8. It can leave lasting impression if headlines are misleading or wrong.