Over the years, I’ve worked for the Spurious-News, the Depressing-Enterprise and the Suburban Urinal.
The legitimate names were the “Courier-News” in Elgin, Illinois; the “Press-Enterprise” in Riverside, Calif.; and the Suburban Journal in St. Charles.
I’m reminded by Dan Bernstein, who was the long-time columnist at the Press-Enterprise, that the locals in Riverside also had their own slogan for the paper they sometimes loved to hate:
“If it happens here, it’s news to us.”
Wherever I’ve worked, there’s always been a nickname for the local paper or other news organizations.
Some are funny. Some are witty. All are unkind.
But it’s all part of the territory of doing what good news organizations do.
It’s hard to be beloved by everybody in your hometown when you occasionally have to point out its shortcomings and injustices. Or when fewer and fewer reporters are employed to tell the stories of entire cities.
My advice is that if you want to be selected honorary grandmaster of the city’s Fourth of July parade, don’t become a hard-nosed reporter. People might throw things at you other than compliments.
‘News’ will inevitably become ‘snooze’
I’ve found a couple of basic principles in the renaming of your hometown news.
If you have the word “Democrat” in the name, it’s likely the final letter will be altered to make the word “Democrap.”
Routinely, the word “news” is changed to “snooze” and “journal” is changed to “urinal” because they rhyme.
Thus, The Springfield News-Leader is known by some as the “Springfield Snooze-Leader.”
Similarly, down in Texas, you have the “Dallas Morning Snooze.”
Our local paper also has been renamed by some as the “Springfield Mis-Leader.”
The Beacon-News became The Be-Confused
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch occasionally is branded by some as the St. Louis Post-Disgrace.
When I worked at the Courier-News, there was a sister paper down the Fox River called the Aurora Beacon-News. Or, to some, the Aurora Be-Confused.
The San Francisco Chronicle is known by some as the San Francisco Comical.
My colleague Rance Burger once lived in Pryor, Oklahoma, where the local paper was the Daily Times. The paper went through a phase where it went heavy on crime news and mug shots and, thus, became The Daily Crimes.
Then, in its death throes (it no longer exists), it was known by a contingent in Pryor as, simply, The Daily Wipe.
I’m glad these two papers never merged
That brings me to the long-deceased St. Louis Globe-Democrat which became the Globe Democrap.
How fortunate we are that the The Daily Wipe and Globe Democrap never merged into The Daily Democrap Wipe.
Co-worker Marty Walker tells me that the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram is known by some as the Fort Worth Startlegram.
If you’re not advancing, you’re retreating
The Wisconsin State Journal, says Citizen CEO David Stoeffler who worked there for 14 years, had its detractors who called it the Wisconsin State Urinal.
Colleague Cory Matteson says the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune is known by a dissatisfied contingent as the “Red Star-Tribune.”
In a similar vein, the now-defunct St. Petersburg Times was known as The St. Petersburg Pravda.
The Chico (California) Enterprise-Record also is known by some as The Enterprise-Wretched.
I’ve read that there is, or was, a weekly paper in Novato, California, called the Novato Advance.
Do I even have to tell you what some called it?
Name was changed to something ‘E’ville’
Can you guess what detractors call the Eureka Times-Standard in Eureka, California?
It’s the Eureka Sub-Standard.
The Record Searchlight in Redding, California, is The Wretched Flashlight.
The Contra Costa Times, also in California, is The Contra Costa Slimes.
The Edwardsville (Illinois) Intelligencer is simply known by some as E’ville (evil).
The Alton (Illinois) Telegraph is called The Alton Tell-A-Lie.
And the Clarion Ledger, in Jackson, Mississippi?
The Clarion Liar.
The Argus Leader, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota?
The Argus Liar.
Hmmm. What rhymes with Citizen?
You can almost hear the whispers of what some call the Virginian-Pilot. It’s the Virginian-Pile-It-On.
The West Plains Daily Quill has been known by some as the West Plains Daily Squeal. (Is that a pig-raising term of endearment?)
“The Freeps” is both a term of endearment and disgust by others for the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press.
Finally, as an employee of the Springfield Daily Citizen, I’m not sure I should mention that a guy named Chip Scanlan once wrote about alternate newspaper names way back in 2003. He wrote his story for the Poynter Institute in Florida. His lead was this:
“I began my newspaper career at the Milford S**tizen.”
It’s OK. We can handle it.
That’s because you often need thick skin in this business, as well as a healthy sense of humor.
This is Pokin Around column No. 69.