Bits of Bull No. 383!
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 96 23:18:06 -0700
Subject: Bits of Bull No. 383!
Excerpted-from: BONG Bull No. 383!
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Linksvayer)
OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE. Steve Fowle <email@example.com>
recalls, "The Hillsborough (N.H.) Messenger (aka the Mess) was a
reasonably good rural weekly when I first worked there ('78-'80).
Dave, the publisher, was trying hard to make the paper pay by making
But then in 1979 a genuine wedding was featured in the paper's
usual bridal ad package. It appeared as a photo of the bride, and 20
inches of the usual blather.
"Dave was reading over the paper, fresh from the press, when he
said, 'Look at the sixth graf of that wedding piece! I can't believe
"'The bride's mother,' it read, 'wore a pale blue pant s-it'"
(the hyphen does not represent a U).
Dave said he had to call the family and apologize. Others tried
to discourage it, but Dave did.
Newsroom observers said the conversation was like this: "I'm
just calling to tell you we're really sorry about the error in the
paper ... In the story about the wedding ... In the sixth paragraph
.... There's a typographical error in the sixth paragraph ...."
HELLO SWEETHEART, GIMME REWRITE. Jerry Crimmins of the Chicago
Tribune asserts that the following conversation took place between a
reporter and a Trib rewrite man after a toxic fire in Indiana:
Reporter: "I'm at the gym where they took some of the evacuated
people, and I got a lot of good quotes. Also, the wind has changed
and they may have to evacuate this place, too."
Rewrite: "Where are you?"
Reporter: "I don't know. Don't you know? It's a school."
Rewrite: "What's the name of the school?"
Reporter: "You can find that out. I've got a lot of good
Rewrite: "You are there. What's the name of the school? Where
is the accident from you? Which way is the wind blowing?"
Reporter: "I don't know! Don't you want my quotes?"
All the more tragic is that out of this exchange, beside very
little news, there probably arose a reporter who goes around
complaining that the desk screwed up his opus.
HELLO REWRITE, GIMME A SWEETHEART. Different reporter, different
story, same rewrite man. The fire is in an old South Side factory
district near homes.
Reporter: "The fire is or seems to be spreading now to another
building. It's very windy."
Rewrite: "What's the address of the other building?"
Reporter: "I don't know. Can't get that close."
Rewrite: "Which direction is the fire spreading?
Reporter: "I'm not very good with directions. Can't you look
on a map?"
Rewrite: "They don't have fires on maps. Which way is
Reporter: "I'm not sure."
Rewrite: "Where is the sun?"
Reporter: "Oh, no. Nope. I'm not getting into that."
© 1996 Peter Langston