Bits o' BONG Bull No. 485!
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 98 11:53:03 -0700
Subject: Bits o' BONG Bull No. 485!
Excerpted-from: BONG Bull No. 485!
THE BURNED-OUT NEWSPAPERCREATURES GUILD'S NEWSLETTER
Copyright (c) 1998 by BONG. All rights reserved.
THE RIOT ACT. Confronting rebellious crowds, the King's officers were
required to warn rioters that bad things were about to happen. When you
are tempted to read the Riot Act to someone, get it right:
"Our sovereign lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons,
being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to
depart to their habitations, or to their lawful businesses, upon the
pains contained in the Act made in the first year of King George, for
preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God save the King,"
RULES ARE RULES. This note is typical: "The 6-Point Benday Rule. Please.
Please. Please. Tell me what it is. I have a 30-year mortgage and two kids
to feed; I can't go back to school to major in journalism. You're my only
The Professional Standards and Fritters Recipe Committee is
distressed at how many people with long-term mortgages and children to feed
even hang around among journalists. Journalists just aren't that exciting
compared with, say, a bat in the living room, or a pant leg caught in a
bicycle chain. Haircuts are more sensual than editors' conferences.
Newspaper managers? Authoritative ignorance.
The subcommittee on totems and shamans looked over BONG's online
mailing list and couldn't agree why so many foreign readers sign up.
Malaysia. Australia. The UK. Who are all those Swedes? Canada. Texas. South
Africa. Subscribers from Iran? Why would they care what journalists think,
if no one else is allowed to?
Would they understand the 6-Point Benday Rule? Or would they only
be confused that a profession that so thrives on chaos would believe so
fiercely in anything? The discussion yielded no answers. The refreshments
ran out too soon.
So it fell to Floyd the Barmaid, and as usual the wisdom came from
the cash-register side of the bar. "Journalists," she said as she turned
out the lights, "are not responsible for the consequences of the truth. But
if you fill your coat pockets from the peanut dish, your coat will get
Of course. The peanut dish. It was right there all the time. Tell,
Floyd said, and never mind the stains.
So, gathered from among the friend of Gerard Farrell, flack for
Texas A&M University, here it is.
THE 6-POINT BENDAY RULE.
1. An ounce of phone book is worth a pound of shoe leather
2. The printed version of what a person said is always what was said.
3. The first one to the editor is always right .
4. No good ever comes from saving a notebook.
5. A newspaper bears no moral obligation to honor a reporter's promise of
source anonymity; offer it freely.
6. Never put a greater effort into writing a story than the reader will
put into reading it.
7. Somewhere, out there, there's a freckled-faced kid swinging on a tree,
playing with his dog, enjoying life, and you must find that little twerp
and take his damn picture.
Addendum: Some will suggest that the 6-Point Benday Rule is a gray
border of a certain width. Don't be fooled. Respond by saying, "Oh
sure, and next you'll be sending me down to the press room for the
type stretcher, right?"
A believer in nutritious lunches on every expense account, BONG Chief Copyboy
Charley Stough, Dayton Daily News, 45 S. Ludlow St., Dayton, Ohio 45401
passes the bib to NYTNS diners worldwide. Phone (937) 225- 2445 after 5 p.m.
eastern. E-mail email@example.com. Fax 225-2489.
© 1998 Peter Langston