Writing Titles for Merlin

Best Practices

The following are best practices for writing titles for Merlin content objects. Overall, you should use a promotional approach in writing these titles because they will appear outside of the context of your site. Your titles should make viewers want to continue exploring your content.



  • Use AP Style Guide. Other than prepositions, most words should be capitalized.
  • Think headline, not just an asset title.
  • Be explicit so that your content holds its own outside of the context of your site.
  • Engage your users: ask questions, state dichotomies, talk to them directly.
  • Be concise and limit it to 60 characters (including spaces.) Otherwise, the system will automatically flag it.
  • Use call letters
  • Season or episode numbers, such as “Riverside Nights: WKRP I Season 2” or “TK435”
  • Content channel title - The exception to this is if the content channel consists of all of the station’s one-off specials, such as documentaries. NOTE: The long description should explain this is a film or full episode.
  • These approaches don’t express the story’s essence.
  • Excessive punctuation - Returning to Jane Austen: Q&A; with Jane Doe 
  • Vagueness - Reshaping Texas (Is this about redistricting, zoning, obesity?)
  • No modifier, verb - Green Collar Jobs (What about them: are they on the rise; do they pay well?)
  • Names without context - Howard Dean 

Full Episodes of Segmented Programs

When posting a full episode of a program that covers many topics, use the following date convention. It isn’t ideal, but it is otherwise difficult to write a headline that summarizes the entire program. 

  • Title: Day of the Week, Abbreviated Month, Date, Year (Friday, Oct. 15, 2010”)
  • Description: Provide an introductory sentence and briefly describe the segments.
  • Topic: Until you can edit the video with specific headlines and topics, assign the full episode to one primary topic. Chicago Tonight = News & Public Affairs



  • New Rep. Renacci Aims to Keep Outsider Perspective  - This title provides context on an interview subject (a new Congress member) and the essence of the discussion.
  • A Doctor's Role in End-of-Life Decisions  - This is an interview with a doctor, but the headline focuses on the theme of the discussion. The interview subject’s name isn’t the point of interest; her title and position on the issue is what matters.
  • If Gadhadi Falls, Who Would Govern Libya and How? - This engages the user with a question.
  • KT Tunstall Performs "Madame Trudeaux" – Be sure to use quotes when including song titles.
  • Kris Kristofferson and Country Music at the Troubadour - Users tend to understand when listing a band name it is a full performance. Consider explaining the type of the band or musician.
  • Myth or Reality: Immigration in America – Try posing comparisons or dichotomies to grab the attention of your audience.