Monday, April 18, 2005

Quick hits

Some collected thoughts that have piled up on my desk:

The compacts are coming, the compacts are coming: Newspapers & Technology and the Pressman report that Gannett's Journal and Courier in Lafayette, Ind., will experiment with the Berliner format, which is narrower than a broadsheet but longer than a tabloid. That format (roughly 18 inches by 12 inches) has become popular in Europe. It gives the sense of importance of a broadsheet with the convenience readers say they like of a tabloid. But for editors and writers, it means tight and bright will be even more prized, so sharpen those skills. Gannett isn't saying whether it will roll the format out elsewhere, but given the convenience factor for readers and the savings in newsprint, I think you can bet that will happen if advertisers can be brought on board to accept the new format.

One quote says it all -- about college football: South Carolina and Tennessee, among others, have been having their problems these days, what with players charged with theft, assault, etc. Of course, here at South Carolina, the faithful are beside themselves with glee over the debut of the Steve Spurrier era. Yep, it brings out the best in folks, such as this woman quoted by The State during Saturday's spring scrimmage.
“How long have we known he was our coach? Five months? Five months ago I couldn’t stand Steve Spurrier,” said Nancy Deloach of Chapin, who was tailgating with her husband, Monte, and in-laws Lamont and Kirby Deloach. “But now I love him.

“And I expect him to win some football games.”

That was a common thread running through the conversations in the parking lot and stadium Saturday. The man they loved to hate when he was a picture of arrogance during his dozen seasons at the Florida helm is now the cocky, brash guy who’s going to take a long-suffering football program to unprecedented heights.

“We like him because he’s a winner,” Deloach said. “I didn’t like him because he played dirty. Now he’s going to play dirty with our team.”

A good reminder of why we need to guard against reflexive editing: Many editors, coming across this sentence in a Saturday column by Ron Morris in The (Columbia) State about new South Carolina athletics director Eric Hyman (who takes over from the controversial Mike McGee), might have reached for the "sub and delete" key:

That will be a different tact from McGee’s administration, which often created an us-against-them mentality.

After all, that's one of the often-misused phrases: The idiom is different tack, referring to the nautical term of changing directions. But let's look at the entire context:
Nevertheless, Hyman recognizes its importance, just as Sorensen did two years ago when he was hired as the university’s president and has gone about building much-needed partnerships within the Columbia community.

"That’s part of the prerequisite," Hyman said. "You’ve got to reach out into the community and you’ve got to develop relationships with people. I don’t know that we specifically talked about that. That’s just part of the job. That’s just the way I operate and the way I do my job is reaching out and talking to a wide cross section of people."

That will be a different tact from McGee’s administration, which often created an us-against-them mentality.

That puts a little different spin on it. Since tact refers to saying or doing the proper thing, then maybe this is the one in 1,000th time that tact actually could work. It's open for discussion, but it's a reminder to edit holisitically.


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