This Just In…



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

The term “news hole” is often used by journalists. This shouldn’t be confused with another, similar-sounding term that is just as often used by journalists, usually when they think the editor isn’t listening. In this case, however, “news hole” refers to the space remaining in a newspaper after the ads have been placed. It’s our job as journalists to fill that space with stories, press releases and, when some newspapers find it necessary, my humor column.

As I’m sure you can imagine, a “news hole” gets larger or smaller, fluctuating in size depending on how tightly packed it is with advertising.

Ok, it’s probably a good idea to stop using your imagination now.

My reason for bringing this up has nothing to do with a possible laxative endorsement, and everything to do with what I felt was a creative solution to a “news hole” situation we faced today — but that my editor referred to as “the reason you stuff news holes.”

Problem: Two important stories and not enough space. The first story was about the record turnout of 4,700 people who scoured the local beaches and rivers during the annual Oregon Beach Clean-up on Saturday. The second story was about the discovery of a body later that same evening at a local beach.

My solution: Combine the two stories!


As usual, I’m expecting to be blamed for my editor’s latest aneurism…

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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...

57 thoughts on “This Just In…”

  1. I’m with you on this one.
    You’ve just filled requirements needed to reach the efficiency co-efficient–or something else that sounds official. Your editor should be pleased that you saved her time and money…despite that which she will spend in the ER taking care of the aneurysm.

    (OMG. My dark little heart laughed out loud at the headline (while on a teleconference) Seriously, the sleep deprivation is making me punchy!)

  2. That’s a genius combination of stories – few care about volunteers or dead bodies, but together this is a total clickbait.
    P.S. But Ned, if you keep angering your editor with pranks like this one, there may be another dead body on a beach soon… 🙂

        1. That’s so true, Mikels. Have you noticed how book titles are getting longer and longer?

          “Getting To the Meat of it: One Man’s Quest to Find the Ultimate Burger in a Middle-Eastern Hindu Community Where Cows Are Worshipped and Never Eaten.”

          That’s obviously an exaggeration, but you get the point, And no, you can’t steal my idea…

      1. [btw, speaking of ‘tat-tat-tat,’ the all-news AM station in NYC still plays the sound of a teletype machine in the background while they read the news. I’m not joking. It’s the strangest thing you’ve ever heard. Why? Why?!]

  3. This happened to me once. I got my pant-leg stuck in the old mechanical typesetter and the column got all juggled. We just amended the title and felt that would cover it up.

No one is watching, I swear...

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