Sunday, May 22, 2005

Help wanted at BONG Bull

My latest edition of BONG Bull, Charley Stough's consistently dead-on hilarious newsletter about newspapering, especially editing, came in the e-mail the other day with a help-wanted ad:
It's time for BONG to outsource. The job involves collecting contributions, compiling in newsletter form, feeding the mailserver, occasional speaking appearances, being a source of ideas and of course dealing with adulation if not adoration, as well as the occasional committee that just don't get it. Passwords to the News Gorilla store, etc., come with the job. Just as with newspaper management positions, some slight knowledge of journalism stuff may be helpful. This is a serious search. Enquire at
Charley, whom I had the joy to work with in Dayton (when he was at the Daily News and I was at AP), has since moved on to San Antonio. It would be a shame if BONG -- along with Herman "Speed" Graphic and Typo the Wonder Pig were to fade away -- so volunteers anyone? Charley indicates he will continue contributing.

(Of course, if it wants to really show readers the truth about journalism, Hearst, which owns San Antonio, should make this a regular feature of its blog page, which has some good features, such as its Postcards from readers.)

Noting that Charley has not updated his blog since mid-April, two issues ago, I don't want this entry from his latest to get lost to the ether. It's hilariouly true:
HOW THE DAILY NEWSIES DO IT. Making its way through e-mail trade these days is this apparent internal translation of tabloid rewrite desk terms. It's attributed to Helen Kennedy, Jane Furse, Steve McFarland and Jere Hester. Which prove not only that tabloids have to think quick and short, but that a good newsroom bulletin board is what makes a newspaper great (have you hung BONG Bull on your board lately?):
Feisty: Short, old female
Flamboyant: Homosexual
Controversial: He did something bad but we're not sure what
Scandal-plagued: Guilty
Informed source: Reads the newspaper
Confirmed bachelor: see ``Flamboyant''
War-torn: We can't find it on a map
Venerable: Should be dead but isn't (eg: Strom Thurmond)
Knowledgable observer: The reporter
Knowledgable observers: The reporter and the person at the next desk
Self-styled: Phony
Guru: see "Self-styled"
Screen Legend: Reporter is too young to remember his movies
Teen idol: Reporter is too old to have heard of him
According to published reports: We got scooped
Embattled: He should quit
All American: White kid caught in criminal act
Troubled youth: He lit something on fire
Scrappy: a runt
Beloved: Someone who's been around so long no one can stand them any
more (eg: Bob Hope)
Hero firefighter: He put out a fire
Hero cop: He got killed.
Honor student: Dead kid registered for classes somewhere.
Recently: We lost the press release
First in the modern history of: no Nexis entries
Never: no clips
Source who spoke on condition of anonymity: flack
Prestigious: has indoor plumbing
Exclusive neighborhood/school/club: the reporter can't get in.
Mean streets: slums
Street-wise: Hasn't been hit by a bus so far
Allegedly: He did it but we can't prove it.
Shocking revelation: leaked on a slow news day.
Gang: a group of white kids
Wolf pack: a group of black kids
Highly placed source: one who would talk
Supermodel: her picture was printed somewhere
Beautiful: a woman who's been savagely murdered
Blond: see ``beautiful''
Reportedly: we stole this bit of information
Intensely private: Not promoting anything right now
Rarely interviewed: Promoting something right now
High-brow: boring
Family Values: right wing idiot
Progressive: left wing idiot
Couldn't be reached for comment: the reporter didn't call until after
5 p.m.
Legendary: about to die
Unclear, uncertain, unknown at press time: no one will tell us
Plucky: someone who is very, very young, very, very old, or very,
very short who is ambulatory
Temblor: Reporter has a thesaurus
Brutally raped: raped
Savagely murdered: murdered
Celebrity: He has a publicist
Superstar: He has a publicist and an agent
Tony neighborhood: has no McDonald's
Modest, well-kept home: at least the cockroaches are dead.
Exclusive: No one else returned the flack's calls
Investigating: waiting for someone to drop a dime
Gentleman bandit: he wore shoes instead of sneakers
Police task force: cops who were working on no-publicity cases
Elite: see prestigious
Conflagration: what was a fire in the first paragraph, a blaze in the
second and an inferno in the third.
Outspoken: Rude man
Strident: Rude woman
Effervescent: She won't shut up.
Shapely: face like a mud fence
Full-figured: tits out to here
Statuesque: Tits out even further
Zaftig: fat
Diminutive: under 5 feet tall
Petite: emaciated
Sexy: better looking than reporter's mate
Dogged by character issue: He screwed a floozy
Political Action Committee contribution: bribe
Moderate: fence straddler
Long-time companion: they had sex
Socialite: woman without job who lives between 57th and 86th street,
west of Lex. and East of Fifth.
Heiress: see above, but able to hire a pricey divorce lawyer.
Good Samaritan: Too stupid to run away
Innocent by-stander: Too slow to run away
Tearful: Could have been crying
Choked up: Definitely could have been crying
Weeping: Tear spotted in one eye
Entrepreneur: Hasn't made it yet, but we're doing a nice story about
Mogul: Has made it, and we're doing a hatchet job.
Mega-mogul: Has made it, and is in process of losing it.
Activist: Will talk to press
Stunned: couldn't give a decent quote
Dapper: Hasn't bought new clothes in 20 years.
Hot button issue: only editors care about it
Towing industry expose: editor got a parking ticket
”with News wire services": no original reporting whatsoever - we just
changed the lede


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