In a world that is moving to electronic media, one of the biggest strongholds of printed news is its credibility. Even in a media wary environment this is being confirmed again and again. Should a newspaper not rather bank on that trust than undermine it? If the online edition of a renowned newspaper changes their headlines to get more views, is this already clickbaiting?
In their study “All the Headlines that Are Fit to Change: Analysis of Headline Changes in the Media Industry” researchers at Wake Forest University found that The New York Times regularly changes the headlines of their online articles. During the period observed in 2021 about 14% of all headlines were changed relatively immediately after they were published. Another 6% were subject to A/B testing, in which different readers were shown differing headlines.