Posts tagged: newspapers
1. Ever tuck an envelope full of cash into a newspaper and then put the paper down and forget it?
We all remember when Uncle Billy did just that. Sure, he might have been a stupid, silly old fool. But let he who has never done something like that cast the first stone.
And didn't Janet Leigh stick some cash in a paper in her room at the Bates Motel in “Psycho”? Sure, the circumstances in which she became separated from the money were a little different. But once again a newspaper proved to be an imperfect currency conveyance.
2. If you were to come up with a variation on “…old building and loan pal” based on your work or social life, what would it be?
“Old Q6 pal”?
“Old Spokane Club pal”?
“Old Manito Park pal”?
I should know. I have been one for a long time.
When I was about 10, I was a big Willie Mays fan. That made me a San Francisco Giants fan.
My family lived nowhere near California at the time. But we did subscribe to two daily newspapers. And I was a devoted reader of the sports sections.
One day one of the papers ran a promotional box on an inside sports page. It said something like “Need to know the score?” and provided a phone number. You could call and get the latest results right off the teletype.
I took note of this. In fact, I regarded it as the potential answer to one of life's major problems — how to get Giants scores in a timely manner.
I suppose I needn't remind you that the media landscape was different in that era.
Anyway, about that phone number. You would think that if a newspaper was going to offer to be your one-call info source, the people there would have considered that readers might take them up on it. But apparently the number published in the paper was just a phone on the sports copy desk. And so, when a certain kid in the suburbs started blitzing the paper with requests for Giants updates, they weren't ready for it.
Oh, it started off OK. I dialed the number and asked my question. And some guy at the paper provided me with an in-progress score.
But by the time I had called maybe four times in half an hour, my relationship with the ink-stained wretch answering the phone had become somewhat strained.
I cannot recall exactly what that 1960s journalist said to me. Nor can I claim to remember if I actually responded with “Sheesh, what a grouch!”
But in that moment I realized something: Not everyone at newspapers really enjoys interacting with readers.
I'm not sure when that promo with the phone number stopped appearing. I think it was pretty soon after one young baseball fan learned the score.
1. Bank drive-thru lanes (replaced by total conversion to online banking).
2. People who pull up to a bank drive-thru and are reminded of the old days of newspapering when copy editors used pneumatic tubes to send marked-up articles and headline specs to the typesetters on another floor.
You might have noticed that a lot of people enjoy expressing disdain.
These folks can't really blame anyone but themselves for their own web-surfing choices. But the daily newspaper offers a golden opportunity to register displeasure and engage in recreational complaining.
They can start their sputtering or mumbling with the front page: “Who cares about any of this?”
And from there it's page after page of potential targets for disdain. What could be more fun?
I'll have to see if our marketing folks can come up with a slogan reflecting this reader service.
“Kent consistently fails to inform the desk of what he's working on, where he has been, where he is going and why in hell we are supposed to trust his stories when no one has ever seen him taking notes.”
When you are looking at an out-of-town newspaper, do you always check to see if Spokane is in the list of cities' temperatures on the weather page?
Ducked into the little cafe in the STA Plaza to pick up an out-of-town paper.
A guy standing right in front of the display rack was looking at a copy of the publication I sought. That left one other copy.
But the copy still on display was missing a couple of sections.
So I looked at the guy standing there and said something I've always wanted to say. With a work history devoid of retail experience, it just had not come up.
Until this morning.
“You gonna buy that?”
I think yesterday's was actually less ridiculous.
I wonder who has gone the most years without missing a day of the S-R.
One of my friends on the copy desk sent me a good-natured note Friday night long after I had gone home for the day.
She mentioned that my use of “stomping grounds” in my column for Tuesday — don't get me started on my deadlines — had prompted debate among a few nightside editors.
She wrote: “A senior member of the copy desk claims the phrase is 'stamping grounds' which the dictionary agrees with but the majority of copy editors did not.”
I cherish those kinds of discussions. And I'm being totally serious when I say that I love associating with people who care about words.
As you are no doubt aware, there are people who have a tendency to read only about subjects they have previously identified as personal interests.
Many of these individuals have turned their backs on the traditional print newspaper. That is their right, of course.
Apparently they aren't attracted to the possibility of turning a page and discovering a small surprise — a story with a picture perhaps, about something totally off their radar. And nothing I could say about how that's different from web surfing would change their minds.
But I wonder about these people as Christmas draws near.
What do they do when receiving packages from friends and family in distant states? When opening newsprint-stuffed boxes containing gifts, I never fail to find something interesting on those wadded-up pages from out-of-town papers.
But maybe that's just me.
I always enjoy depictions of newspapering in old movies and TV shows.
That's why I was watching “Leave It to Beaver” the other day.
Wally and the Beav wanted a new bike. The one they had their eye on cost more than $50, which was a lot of dough back then. This led to Ward giving them a money-doesn't-grow-on-trees talk.
So the boys went out and landed a job delivering newspapers after school.
Naturally, antic confusion ensued.
And after well-intentioned Ward and June unwittingly contributed to Wally and the Beaver getting fired by the Courier Sun, Ward went down to the paper to try to get their jobs back.
The guy he dealt with in the circulation deparment was sort of annoying. But no more so than our man Mr. Cleaver when Ward pulled the oldest squeeze-play in the book.
When things get a little testy, Ward tells the guy that his company buys a lot of advertising in the newspaper. He clearly insinuates that said advertising could be yanked if he, Ward, doesn't get what he wants.
The circulation department guy doesn't totally cave. But here's what he should have said.
“Well, I assume your company buys ads because your bosses know that advertising in the newspaper works. Do you mean to tell me that they would be OK with you threatening to interfere with that basic part of their business plan simply so your kids can get their paper routes back?”
At my first reporting job in Flagstaff, Ariz., I worked with a guy whose previous newspaper gig had been in sun-baked Yuma, Ariz.
He used to tell stories about a sports editor there who meant well but lacked a certain spark. One tale stayed with me.
Like in many businesses, newspaper people employ a fair amount of jargon. For intance, we refer to the text beneath a photo as a cutline. To the rest of the world, that would be a caption.
A small-format paper is called a tabloid or tab. Even traditionally configured newspapers such as the S-R often use a tab format for special sections devoted to topics such as golf or fishing. And, in-house, newsroom folks working on those annual or quarterly sections might refer to the “golf tab” or “fishing tab.”
Of course, on the front page of these sections, the finished-product label or main headline presented to readers would be something like “Loving the Links” or “Where They're Biting '08.”
Well, apparently there came a day where that editor in Yuma couldn't be bothered to try for something fancy. So here's the name he came up with for a special section on one of America's longtime participant sports: “Bowling Tab.”
Wouldn't it be fun to take a look at a bunch of newspaper headlines as depicted in Silver Age comic books?
I thought I had come upon an original idea for online inquiry here. But it turns out others had beat me to it. Well, at least that made finding pictures pretty easy.
If you don't count a couple of angry letters to the editor written as a teenager in Vermont, I started my journalism career at an Arizona newspaper called the Daily Sun. Despite the name, it came out in the afternoon. At least it did then.
There was a veteran reporter on the staff who did a lot of good stuff. But the thing that made him a legend in certain circles was submitting his own work to the Pulitzer committee and subsequently referring to himself as “nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.”
A few years later, I was working as a news reporter at The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. Despite the name, it came out in the morning.
In 1981 I sat between two guys, Clark Hallas and Bob Lowe, who actually did win a Pulitzer for their work exposing various misdeeds connected to University of Arizona athletics.
I wrote the story about their award. And I still have a commemorative glass with that front page emblazoned on it. (I refer to it as my “Pulitzer” story, but no one in 30 years has ever thought that was funny.)
Anyway, I don't think the paper sold many of those glasses. You see, the reporting Lowe and Hallas did was not popular in the community. Car dealers pulled their advertising from the paper. News sources refused to speak to us. Et cetera.
I remember it changed the way I viewed Tucson a bit. Sure there was a vibrant progressive element in the city. But there were also a lot of college-sports booster/lunkheads.
In my experience, these people can be found everywhere big-time college sports is played. They like to think they have their priorities straight and that they should not be lumped in with knuckledragging sports zealots in places like Alabama and Oklahoma. But if someone criticizes their beloved “program,” well, there's hell to pay.
So I smiled when I saw the story about the coaches being the best-paid employees of the state of Washington.
The Northwest is great in a lot of ways. But when it comes to taking college sports way too seriously, we have our head up our ass. Just like the rest of the country.