Here’s a truism from Newspaper Reading 101….from which I took a “withdrew passing” grade:
If you read the paper with a close eye and an open mind, you will almost always stumble upon something that sticks with you, at least for a day or two.
Reading the paper the last few days — with no agenda and no axe to grind — I have culled the following odds and ends, which struck a chord with me. See if you agree.
:: Headline at the top of Tuesday’s sports page: “The Royals’ joy of six.”
The “joy of six” headline — a play on the 1972 book “The Joy of Sex” — is the most overworked headline in journalism, seen primarily on the sports pages.
The morning after the Chicago Bulls won their sixth NBA championship (1998), the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, MN, used that headline in letters that covered about half of the sports front. I was at the newspaper’s offices at the time for a conference, and even the newspaper’s editor at the time, Walker Lundy, was aghast. “Could you have made the headline any bigger,” Lundy sarcastically asked the sports editor at the morning news meeting.
:: Notable quote: “Somebody once asked me if our officers have a quota they have to meet regarding tickets. And I told them no, they can write as many as they like.”
That from Police Chief John Simmons of Mission, KS, where ticket writing pays for a lot of the city’s bills.
:: Patty, Brooks and I were at the Royals game on Sunday afternoon, when Patty pointed to I-70 and said, “I wonder why the traffic is backed up on the interstate?”
The lady is observant — could have been a reporter, but she comes from a line of entrepreneurs (thank God).
In Wednesday’s paper, police reporter Christine Vendel reported the whole thing. A group of about 40 motorcyclists blocked traffic while videotaping each other performing various stunts. One biker was arrested after he crashed into the back of a police car on U.S. 40, while the officer was trying to pull over a truck containing several people who were recording the stunts.
Those bikers rank very high in the “lacking grey cells” category, and some of them undoubtedly are going to lose all their grey cells when they fly out of the saddle.
:: “Wreck leads to fatal shots” — Page A7 headline in Tuesday’s paper
OK, I want to know more about that…Tell me what happened?
A minor wreck in which a moving car struck a parked car occurred Saturday night on Kansas City’s East side. On one of the streets, either College Avenue or 58th Terrace, two large outdoor parties were taking place. The driver of the car that struck the parked car was related to one of the two men who were subsequently shot to death.
Got it. So what happened after the wreck? Well, this quote from Police Capt. Tye Grant says about all we need to know:
“Things went downhill from there.”
:: Those baseball guys love to tag nicknames on each other. The Royals’ first-round draft choice, a 6 foot, 4 inch shortstop named Hunter Dozier, was at Kauffman Stadium for Monday night’s game against the Detroit Tigers and got to meet the Royals players and coaches.
In the course of the day and evening, somebody tagged him “Bull”…as in Bull Dozier. Now that’s a nickname.
:: Kevin Collison, The Star’s outstanding development reporter, wrote in Tuesday’s Star Business Weekly about the controversial proposal to build a new $1.2 billion terminal at KCI.
As you know, I firmly believe we need a new terminal, if for no other reason than we deserve a lot better than what we’ve got with those three enormous funeral parlors grouped together off I-29.
Amid the hysterical war of words taking place on this issue (see “Letters to the Editor), Collison called for “a clear-eyed, thoughtful discussion about the future of KCI.”
“The answer,” he said, “is probably somewhere between the Aviation Department’s billion-dollar vision and the knee-jerk, populist reaction of the current ‘Save KCI’ petition drive.”
I’m willing to take a deep breath and consider that.
(By the way, because of the issue’s importance and the amount of money involved, hysteria might be the appropriate tone for this conversation…My late father, quoting from some philosopher or wiseacre, used to tell me, “If you can keep your head while everyone around you is losing theirs, you probably don’t understand the issue.”)
:: When a reporter or columnist gets “hot,” he or she often becomes the rage, and you start seeing their stuff everywhere.
And so it is with David Carr, The New York Times media columnist, who has been smoking hot the last few years. He even was the focus of a 2011 documentary movie, “Page One: Inside The New York Times.”
But no columnist can hit it out of the park every week. Carr’s most recent column, which The Star picked up on Tuesday, was a goofy piece about two Hollywood gossip columnists — Nikki Finke and Sharon Waxman — who have been flailing away at each other on their respective Web sites. (The battle kind of reminds me of my days on active duty in the Army Reserve, when we would go at each other with padded “pugil sticks.”)
Here’s my point: There can’t be more than a couple of hundred people in KC who know or care about the Finke-Waxman face-off. So, why is it in The Star? And, why, even, was it on the front page of Monday’s New York Times business section?
It was in The Times because Carr is Carr, and he can write about whatever he wants, and The Times will run it in his usual spot — on the front page of the Monday business section.
The Star picked it up because…well, a big, fat hole was sitting there on the “Business Forum” page of Tuesday’s business section, and something had to fill it. So, why not the red-hot David Carr?
Editor’s Note: This is my 300th post since starting JimmyCsays in March 2010. It’s been a great run of three years and three months. Thanks for your patronage. I hope to remain “At the juncture of journalism and daily life in Kansas City” for at least 3 1/4 more years.