On our newsroom door…

Our actual door Our newsroom has a door. But that’s not the point of this post. Over the years, this door has become more than just a way in or out, or something that occasionally gets “stuck” with our editor on the other side. It has also become a Mecca of sorts. A place where journalists since the 1970s have taped, glued and pasted headlines that are either badly written, clever or misspelled.

It is a beacon, really, harkening us into the jagged rocks.

Since I can’t afford to fly all of you here to see it, and because there are still many of you who did not receive the Mexican mocha I sent after my 100th post, I have nixed the idea of detaching the door and sending it to each of you to see for yourselves. Therefore, starting today, I’ll be coming to your homes or places of employment to show you my Door of Shame, Blame and Brilliance favorites. It will be just like having me standing there with my door. Except, you know — I’ll be doing it from here.

The first entry from the The Door is a headline that I think is possibly the best headline in the history of newspapers. It does what a headline is supposed to do, which is sum up the point of the article in one eye-catching moment.

The only thing keeping this from perfection is the incorrect use of tense in the word "Sheriff's." The editor was probably too excited to notice it should have been "Sheriffs."
The only thing keeping this from true perfection is the incorrect use of the possessive word “Sheriff’s.” The editor was probably too excited to notice it should have been “Sheriffs.”
In this case, the editor also recognized the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the circumstances presented: Police in Forest Grove breaking up a drug ring operated by the three brothers — Tou, Soua and Yeu — who share the last name “Cha.” The headline is true brilliance. Or possibly the result of too much cold medicine.

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

41 thoughts on “On our newsroom door…”

      1. I clearly missed my calling — my most satisfying work would have been accomplished as a copy editor. I’ve only ever done it on a limited basis, but such a rush! 🙂

    1. LOL! I think that editor really had some real gumption, an obvious wit and presence of mind. And maybe a drawer of Cha opium. Stay warm! I’ll be on jury duty starting at 11 a.m. Maybe a drug case? 😉

                1. Confession time: I can actually wiggle them together or individually. Yep, the depth of my talents is like a bottomless septic tank. Hey, come to think of it, my eyebrow thing could be a lot of fun in court!! 🙂

  1. Headline writing used to be one of my favourite parts of running a small weekly. I’ll share one. Remember Shania Twain? She once told reporters that she keeps her hair soft by rubbing Bag Balm into it. Bag Balm happens to be an ointment for cow teats, and it’s manufactured in Canada out of a small mom-and-pop here on the Quebec-Vermont border. After Shania’s statement, business took off. Our headline for the story: “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop, a Bag Balm boom.”

    1. Ross, that my friend is completely AWESOME! HAHAHA! Man, I’d loved to have seen that paper. Of course, I’d loved to have seen Shania, too. Thanks for sharing that great headline!

  2. I admit, because of that apostrophe, I read and re-read that headline way too many times before moving on and enjoying the Cha, Cha, Chas! 🙄 Love it, and I look forward to more from THE DOOR. 😉

  3. thanks for an easy laugh, on this, the last day of winter. (or so my calendar says) ps – i still am fascinated that ‘chi-chi’s’ restaurant was always ridiculed by the latino community, as the corporate heads who named it never researched it enough to understood that it translated into, ‘boobs-boob’s!’

    1. Haha! I know! Back when I was a chef, most of my kitchen staff was Latin, and there was a Chi-Chi’s down the street. We used to joke about how the special always had something to do with chicken breasts 🙂

      1. I think it’s great. I think my favorite headline of all time was from “The New York Daily News”. They were covering the kidnapping of Michael Jordan’s father (sadly that did not end well) and the headline read: “Kidnaped!”

        I looked it up prior to calling them — apparently kidnaped IS an alternate, but archaic, spelling of the word “Kidnapped” — I still called them because I was convinced it was a typo or done simply to use a larger point font. Also, the more common and modern spelling was used in the BODY of the story (Kidnapped) — no one uses “Kidnaped” anymore. Even as far back as when Robert Louis Stevenson was writing the past tense of Kidnap was Kidnapped.

        So, yeah, I enjoy this sort of thing!

        1. Wow, I’m impressed you even thought about the font thing, which is a good point. Especially since it was spelled differently in the story. Nice work, Holmes 😉

  4. I’m very much looking forward to reading these. I’m from LO and the LO Review’s police blotter used to be outstanding reading. Now they are trying to hard, as is most of Lake Oswego which is why I don’t live there 🙂

    1. 🙂 I totally understand. I lived in Aloha for several years before moving to Florence in 1998. We were just in Beaverton last weekend for our daughter’s volleyball tournament. We just keep thinking how thankful we are to be living here in a small town, where the police blotter is only about three paragraphs, and where everyone is referred to by their first name…

No one is watching, I swear...

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