Newspaper headline writers love short words – like probe, slam and jibe – which make the biggest impact in the smallest amount of space.
But when schoolboy Michael Bryan entered the record books by speaking the longest word to ever appear in Hansard at a House of Commons Youth Select Committee – Sunday Express sub-editor Nigel Griffiths saw a challenge.
Could pneumoultramicroscopicossilicovulcanoconiosis be the longest word to ever appear in a newspaper headline?
Page editor Nigel Griffiths said: “I was working as deputy night editor on the Sunday Express on Saturday when I wrote the headline and designed the page deliberately to accommodate it.
“A narrow single column head would have stymied me but I wrote a previous favourite single column headline as a mere boy on the Western Daily Press at the start of my career about a small tremor in Australia (not many, indeed none, dead). Perthquake!”
Bryan, 16, used the world (which is a lung disease caused by being around volcanoes too much) to highlight inconsistencies between health care for physical and mental conditions.