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 Post subject: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2003 9:47 pm 
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BLAGO
SEIZES
RYAN'S
FILES<p>... was the big Page One headline in the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday. "Blago" was short for Rod Blagojevich, who is the new governor of Illinois.
The "Blago" tag is not a Sun-Times original (it apparently is a favorite of a columnist in Rockford), but the big line on Wednesday is its most visible use so far. <p> "Blago" was used because the governor has a long name. "Blago" is not his nickname. One has to wonder why the Sun-Times didn't go with "Rod." As chintzy as that would be, at least there is precedent for calling high-ranking public officials by their first names (All three New York tabloids have called Giuliani "Rudy."). The Sun-Times and other newspapers sometimes called Dan Rostenkowski "Rosty," but that was a nickname by which the congressman was known.<p>(A Sun-Times news editor years ago came up with the bizarre nickname "McPier" for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. I worked in Chicago for more than a year before I figured that one out, but that's another story for another time.)<p>The Sun-Times apparently got some complaints about "BLAGO" and responded in an editorial that was typical in its complete misunderstanding of the historical use of nicknames and initials in U.S. newspaper headlines. It was another example of how the Sun-Times' Canadian managers just don't get American newspapers.<p>"How do you think John F. Kennedy became JFK? Or Dwight D. Eisenhower became Ike? Or Franklin D. Roosevelt shrank to FDR and sometimes, when that didn't fit, just FD?" the editorial said.

Kennedy "became" JFK because "J," "F" and "K" were his initials. "Ike" was Eisenhower's childhood nickname; it was not invented by headline writers. Roosevelt was "FDR" because, well, he was. "FD?" News to me and to various elders around me. Maybe the Sun-Times editors go back a long way. Wait. They're my age.<p>Note on 1/22/03: The author of the editorial tells me that he found "FD" in the New Orleans Item, Sept. 9, 1935, front page, as reprinted in "The Story of America As Reported in its Newspapers," edited by Edwin Emery (Simon & Schuster: 1965).<p>[ January 22, 2003: Message edited by: blanp ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2003 12:20 am 
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Well, and who the hell is Ryan?


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2003 12:22 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="Arial, Helvetica ,sans-serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by JonScribe:
Well, and who the hell is Ryan?<hr></blockquote><p>"Ryan" is George Ryan, the previous governor.


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2003 12:25 am 
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Blago says
nickname OK <p> Blago's cool with Blago.
This week, in the interest of brevity, the Sun-Times began referring to Gov. Blagojevich as "Blago'' in its headlines. Some readers complained it was disrespectful.
Friday, the governor signed off on the use. "It's a long name,'' he said of his Serbian surname. "It does take a lot of space.''
Headline writers rejoiced. (Sun-Times, 1/18)<p>***Not the good ones. Or readers.***


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2003 4:16 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="Arial, Helvetica ,sans-serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
***Not the good ones. Or readers.***<hr></blockquote><p>Well, it's either "rejoice," or go four years without putting a story about the governor anywhere in the paper where it would require a one-column (or even two-column) headline. "Blago" may not be a perfect solution, but it's better than "Rod." Or "Guv."


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2003 4:49 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="Arial, Helvetica ,sans-serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Gary Kirchherr:
<p>Well, it's either "rejoice," or go four years without putting a story about the governor anywhere in the paper where it would require a one-column (or even two-column) headline. "Blago" may not be a perfect solution, but it's better than "Rod." Or "Guv."<hr></blockquote><p>
Headline writers can always get around it. And, "Rod" is certainly "better" than "Blago." At least it's his name.


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2003 1:13 pm 
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The Sun-Times did refer to Blagojevich as ''Rod'' in a headline last fall. The story was about how he had a huge lead in the polls over his opponent. So, somebody decided it would be cute to use the headline 'Hot Rod.'' :eek: <p> Good grief. (And I don't mind the occasional name/word play headline ... used sparingly ... But Hot Rod is just plain awful ...)<p>As for ''Blago,'' the Sun-Times will refer to him by his full name in headlines whenever possible. Blago is reserved for those 100 point headlines.


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2003 1:55 pm 
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G-Rod open to expanding sales taxes (Chicago Tribune "RedEye")<p>***"RedEye," the essentially unread Tribune edition for illiterate young people, apparently thinks G-Rod is "hip." It's not.***


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2003 1:27 pm 
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Regarding my doubts about "FD" being used in headlines as shorthand for Franklin D. Roosevelt, the author of the Sun-Times editorial provided this citation:<p>The New Orleans Item, Sept. 9, 1935, front page, as reprinted in "The Story of America As Reported in its Newspapers," edited by Edwin Emery (Simon & Schuster: 1965).<p>***Live and learn. All I can think of is Mr. Loubedeux looking at that Monday's paper and
saying, "Honey, what's the fire department doing in this headline?"***


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Ear for Headlines
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2003 2:50 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>The New Orleans Item, Sept. 9, 1935, front page, as reprinted in "The Story of America As Reported in its Newspapers," edited by Edwin Emery (Simon & Schuster: 1965).
<hr></blockquote>
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>The New Orleans Item, Sept. 9, 1935, front page, as reprinted in "The Story of America As Reported in its Newspapers," edited by Edwin Emery (Simon & Schuster: 1965).
<hr></blockquote><p>There it is, all right. I wonder if "F.D." was newspaper style, for some odd Louisiana reason. Space certainly isn't a consideration here.<p>Image<p>[ January 26, 2003: Message edited by: blanp ]</p>


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