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, pasted or otherwise adhered (you don’t want to know) headlines that are either badly written, clever or misspelled.
It is a beacon, really, harkening us into the jagged rocks of journalism.
Since the final edition of this weekly feature was posted exactly two years ago today, nearly 3,000 folks — reluctantly, accidentally, regrettably or otherwise — have started following this blog with little or no knowledge of The Door and it’s historical significance to journalism.
Through the month of February, I thought it would be fun revisit our newsroom door each Wednesday to highlight some of the best of the worst headlines that grace it’s simulated wood- paneled surface. Since I can’t afford to fly all of you here to see it, and because I have nixed the idea of detaching the door and sending it to each of you to see for yourselves, I’ll be coming to your homes or places of employment to show you my favorites. It will be just like having me standing there next to you with our newsroom door! Except not as creepy.
The first entry from the The Door was a headline that I think is possibly the best 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.
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.
I hope you have enjoyed this week’s look back at The Door. Join me next Wednesday, when we’ll see why it’s not always a good idea to use the word “probe” in a headline…