Fun_People Archive
6 Dec
Bits of BONG Bull No. 579!

Content-Type: text/plain
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed,  6 Dec 100 14:21:26 -0800
To: Fun_People
Precedence: bulk
Subject: Bits of BONG Bull No. 579!

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Excerpted-from: BONG Bull No. 579!
From: Charles Stough <>

                             BONG Bull
        Copyright (c) 2000 by BONG.   All rights reserved
TO SUBSCRIBE: Send a blank e-mail to

For Dec. 6, 2000. Order in the court! Er, courts! And all you correspondents
on the courthouse lawns, stop depositing your lunch trash, expense reports
and love letters in the court clerk's mailbox, or Florida will run out of
judges to decide it all, warns the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild,
and this is BONG Bull No. 579!

RELICS. Andy Stone of the Aspen (Colo.) Times  <>
wondered about the Phillips Code, wherefrom modern j-types get XGR,
  "Gee, and I just a read a lengthy explanation by William (You May
  Genuflect Now) Safire (in the NYT) about how POTUS was invented almost
  before his very eyes not that many years ago as an appropriate label for
  a telephone call button that connected through to the Pres. Did Mr.
  Safire succumb to the common error: 'The first time I heard must have
  been when it was invented?'"
   "By the way, here in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, our AP code is
Neat call letters, Andy. As for the the Rev. Mr. Safire, the committee
reviewed his politics and decided there was no conflict between his personal
experience and the Phillips Code's first use in 1879.

CODE TALK. Dan Robrish <> of the AP's Philadelphia corral
(Pha, in Phillips) decalres, "Since you mentioned AP codes and asked why
AP staffers ask for them when newspaper editors phone for a resend, here's
the logic behind the codes and why we ask for them.
   "The first to letters of the code (known as a SID code, for site ID
code, or a send code) are the postal abbreviation for your state. The next
three letters, in most cases, are the first three letters of the newspaper's
   "Of course, that can't always work out so well. Some cities have more
than one member paper. And some states have several daily newspaper cities
that begin with the same first three letters. For example, The Mercury of
Pottstown, Pa., is PAPOT; The Pottsville (Pa.) Republican & Evening Herald
is PAPOE. The three jointly owned Lancaster, Pa., newspapers all have one
SID code, PALAN, but the paper in Lansdale, Pa., must be different, so it's
   "At least in my bureau (Philadelphia), the staffer asks the member editor
for a code to ensure the copy will go to the right place. If Lansdale calls
me to ask for a resend and I don't ask his code and send it to PALAN by
mistake, the copy will go to Lancaster. This confuses editors in Lancaster
because they're getting something repeated for no apparent reason and annoys
editors in Lansdale because they're not getting what they expect.
   "I'm not aware of anybody ever calling in a phony resend request, but
now that you mention it, it would be a pretty good prank to pull. Just call
your nearest AP bureau one evening and say, 'This is Hugh Jass from The
Palookaville Tribune. Our computers have been down since 10 a.m. Can you
resend everything that moved since then?' Suddenly, editors in Palookaville
are overwhelmed with copy.
   "In addition to everybody's favorite code of PASTA, Pennsylvania has
another amusing one: Bloomsburg's PABLO."
   A cruel joke on another wire editor indeed, Dan, and we're sure staffers
everywhere know, to quote that other great moralist Richard Nixon, it would
be wrong, that's for sure. (Wire eds.: 2-letter state abbreviation plus
first three letters of city name, got it? Or when in doubt, say "OHCIN.")

discussions in the Journalism History mailing JHISTORY@H-NET.MSU.EDU, South
and Central American newspapers responded to frequent government censorship
with fillers that the readers recognized as "censor was here" messages. In
Brazil during the 1973 military dictatorship, O Estado de Sao Paulo put
recipes wherever a story was killed. One memorable front page had seven
delicious dinner hints. In Nicaragua, it was photos of Rita Hayworth.

PRAISE, LESS THAN EFFUSIVE. From the Brookville (Ohio) Star, a 109-year-old
weekly, in a Nov. 22 takeout on a high school personality:  "Good luck,
Heather, with everyone and everything you do."

prev [=] prev © 2000 Peter Langston []