Saturday, December 20, 2003

Visit the News Gorilla store at . Good stuff in the store this week, and those lurking holiday shopping obligations can easily be vanquished online! Still time to get delivery right to your door of eye-catching mugs, stylish garments and the newspaper pejoratives 2004 calendar!

HANG IN THERE, POST-DISPATCH GUILD. The world is a friendlier place than publishers want you to believe.

THE CHRISTMAS TREE AGAIN. Lift this into a word processing program, center it and decorate at will for a dandy cubicle decoration.

i n g y ou w hy s a n t a c lausis

ANTIDOTE FOR LINE-STANDERS. BONGers in the United States can join and print their own postage on any PC. They're running a dandy promo now involving a free electronic scale, free postage and other gimmes. Note: The freebies come after your 29-day trial period, so you have to spring for the first few bucks' worth of postage.
Go to During registration, insert this promo code to do a favor for BONG:
and after you've signed in, email BONG center (address below) for a free personalized Chagrin Falls Commercial Scimitar Foreign Correspondent press card.

MONSTROUS NEWS. Every tourist season the natives oh so reluctantly admit to sightings of Champ, the legendary monster of Lake Champlain or Chessie, in Chesapeake Bay. Here are other monsters for later editions:
- Augerino: Southwestern corkscrew-shaped worm that lets water out of irrigation canals.
- Bwbachod: Welsh brownie who works free for anyone except toototalers.
- Galactic Ghoul: Force that inhabits space between Earth and Mars, hostile to Terran spacecraft (named by space scientists after several failures and near-failures of unmanned spacecraft on Mars missions).
- Galoopus: Huge Missouri bird that lays cubic eggs.
- Jersey Devil: Pine Barrens inhabitant and since 1939 the state's official beast.
- Ogopogo: Monster with the Okanagan Lake, British Columbia franchise.
- Swamp ape: Floridian bogdweller of most offensive odor.
- Three-tailed Bavolorus: Northwestern U.S. half-bird, half-mammal thought to be extinct, but who knows?
- Wampus cat: Remote Ozark Mountains creature of incredible meanness.
- Wowzer: Huge panther of the deep South; it can bite the head off a cow.
- Yaksha: Hindu gnome.

10. Daddy owns the all-you-can-eat place downtown.
9. Are you a hard news man?
8. Hey, baby, I like your layout.
7. What do you think of my plugger?
6. I think frayed cuffs are so sexy!
5. I've got a hot tip for you.
4. USA Today? What's that?
3. Wanna work under cover?
2. Is that a genuine New York Times monogrammed rolling-
writer pen in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
1. Hiring.

FRANK AND THE BOYS. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper was a bell-ringing reader grabber in the 1880's, splashing full-page woodcuts everywhere - multiple entry points, the overpriced newspaper consultants a century later would come to call them - and churning circulation from merely 30,000 to 200,000 in one year of brilliant editorship. Frank had inherited the moribund New York weekly and saw no reason to let it fade. By 1889, at age 53, Leslie sold it for $300,000 to $400,000, keeping a monthly magazine to play with. She was a clever editor and publisher.
She? Yes, Frank Leslie was a woman, a rich socialite named Miriam Leslie, widow of the original Frank, explains Donnalyn Pompper in Media History Digest. She turned out to be a better publisher than her late husband, recovered from near bankruptcy after his death. When she died, she left an estate of almost $2 million in 1914 dollars -- which distant relatives fought bitterly to scarf up, but the courts upheld her will. Most of it went for women's suffrage causes.
Social-engineering, affirmative-acting newspaper managers could draw a lesson from Frank. Storybook staffing and platoons of committees don't make strong papers. Of any gender, leadership is what pulls readership.

JOKES, SUCH AS THEY ARE. We posted a medium-funny joke in the News Gorilla blog while it was still hot in our febrile little mind and we couldn't get to the BONGwriter 89.1 program. See The way the spam-blocker programs are getting, we may all be reading BONG in blog rather than mailserver form; every time the geeks install another firewall, 15 subscribers vanish from civilized discourse.
Meanwhile, here's one that wasn't worth loading the software:
A debonaire and astute copy editor (yes, yes, redundant, but work with us here) enters a middle-management meeting and notices that all the middle managers are wearing violently pink hair. Whereupon the debonaire and astute copy editor asks, "Who dyed?"

CRITICAL ACCLAIM. Jackman Wilson of the Eugene (Ore.)
Register-Guard, serving a college burg that, like all
college burgs, has a hundred press critics for every working
stiff going into the icy rain with a notebook, compiled this
Top 10 Rules for Media Critics in 1993:
1. If it's not above the fold on Page 1, it's buried.
2. If it's above the fold on Page 1, it's
3. Everything but the entire universe is out of
4. If you can't criticize what's in a story, criticize
what isn't in it.
5. If it's not a hatchet job, it's a puff piece.
6. And vice versa.
7. No one can ever be accurately quoted.
8. All stories that fail to mention the problems on my
agenda are trivial, and therefore a disservice.
9. Facts are never reported, but "admitted,"
"confessed," or "allowed to creep into the story."
10. Everything newspapers do is done to sell papers,
and selling papers is bad.

COMIX SECTION. The Further Adventures of Herman "Speed" Graphic, ace photographer, and his Faithful Companion, Typo the Wonder Pig.
PANEL ONE: Speed and Typo lurk in the newsrack storeroom and review the results of the editorial board meeting.
Typo reports, "I told them you were on deadline and couldn't help quiz the candidate, Boss! That made them even more cordial and they liked the cocoa and cameroons I brought along!"
PANEL TWO: Speed enquires, "Yes? Yes? And then what?"
Typo elucidates, "And of course I sweetened the drinks with a little Do-Good Powder from the secret compartment in your trenchcoat, the deathbed gift from the ancient mystic wire service executive editor on the fog-shrouded eastern island."
Speed gasps, "Oh, my stars and garters!"
PANEL THREE: Typo explains, "Oh, they took it quite well, Boss! The editorial writers remained upright in their seats and the candidates loosened up to near truthfulness!"
Speed queries, "Yes? Yes? And so -- ?"
PANEL FOUR: Typo declares, "And so I said that you had asked me to find out which one of them was the undercover tango-contest partner of Publisher Gimlet Peen and why he has been missing since the night of the thing with the Bulgarian tourists and the dancing bear."
Speed agonizes, "Oh dear Aunt Tilly and her dancing teacart! So what happened then?"
PANEL FIVE: Typo exclaims, "Three of the editorial writers and two of the candidates confessed, Boss! I'd say we got a good batch this time, the guy with the tropical-fruit headdress will make a fine school board chairman, and we're well on our way to finding Mr. Peen in time for year-end bonuses! And when we do, we can go back in the newsroom safely!"