… This Just In …

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…TAT-tat-tat-TAT-TAT-tat-tat-TAT…

[Breaking News: from another strangely irrelevant moment in our newsroom…]

While reporters are the heart of a newspaper, press releases are its lifeblood. Especially at community newspapers where, more often than not, the editorial “staff” consists of two or three people, depending on whose turn it is to scrub the commodes. Without press releases sent in from members of the community, there’s a good possibility our sources wouldn’t have alerted us that the Grange’s monthly Spaghetti Night had been changed to Fish Sticks Night, because Bob accidentally bought five gallons of ketchup instead of marinara.

At the same time, that lifeblood has the potential to cause an aneurysm. That’s because, in many cases, press releases are submitted by people who wanted to be journalists but, instead, chose a different career path, such as repairing upholstery. For this reason, one of our jobs as journalists is to remain resolute in spotting — and fixing — press releases before they go to print. Oftentimes it’s a simple fix, such as changing “pubic” to “public,” or clarifying the date of an event which, according to the press release, already happened a year ago.

Then there are cases, such as this morning, when you receive a press release with a headline so terrible that it takes all of your will — or at least mine — to NOT run it as-is. But considering that this was regarding a children’s theater production of The Little Mermaid, I felt it best to protect the innocent and not run this headline:

It’s Better Down Where It’s Wetter

Although if this had been an adult production, they probably would’ve had to add extra seating…

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60 thoughts on “… This Just In …

  1. I keep our paper subscription paid up just to laugh at the mistakes. Does that make me a bad person?
    (rhetorical question only…I’m still trying to rebuild my reputation after mowing down the neighbors flowers and mailboxes!)

  2. As someone who interned and freelanced at community papers, I could definitely relate to this. Especially covering a municipality and having to sit through community meetings about buying a new pick-up truck for the town, public enforcement issues (right tire against the curb on the left side of the street = ticket) and snow removal.

  3. Hilarious! Good catch. It would be so easy for someone too close to the subject to miss that inappropriate headline. I’ve lived in small towns in rural Canada and I imagine the public attitude is similar in small town USA – conservative along the lines of “If ya wanna bed ‘er, ya better wed ‘er.”

  4. Oh, how innocent the early 90’s were in comparison to the present! I never gave it a second thought, but taken out of context that tagline is very disturbing for a children’s movie. I live with my two year old niece, who watches the songs from the little mermaid on youtube sometimes. Sure enough, the song ‘Under the Sea’, sung by the crab Sebastian, has a line that reads ‘darling it’s better down where it’s wetter’. I probably hear that song a few times each week…will try not to let my mind go to dirty places next time I hear it…

    I finally bought your book btw! It’ll be a while before I get to read, cause I had to send it to family in the Netherlands…I guess it’s ironic that Humor at the speed of Life takes a while to reach the Caribbean, down where it’s slower (and wetter;))

    • Hahaha! I hope I didn’t ruin The Little Mermaid for you!

      And thanks so much for buying the book, Arend. I take that as a real compliment. I hope you enjoy it — assuming it arrives before you lose your sight 😉

      • Oh, don’t worry…I once did an entire post about Ariel suddenly having a vagina (something the movie didn’t really explore) and the fact that her husband Eric eats a lot of her fish friends, so your post just adds to the flavor for me…
        As for your book I’m sure it’ll find its way to my home somehow. I’ll let you know when I’ve read it of course, I must say my expectations are high;)

  5. Pingback: … This Just In … | reverseferret

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