Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pease Out

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Tempus Fugit


All good things must come to an end, quoth the bards. I don’t know who those bard guys are, but this entirely mediocre thing doth cometh to an end as well.
Thus endeth the 19th season of the WORD season, 162 more or less daily whacks up alongside the head happily delivered from me to you.

Sad, I know. But the Class of 2015 has trooped forth into an unsuspecting land, so it’s time for the jolly men in white coats from St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose to come and lock up the WORD for another summer of rumination, cogitation and conjugation. He’ll be in the top tower, barking as usual.

It’s been a good hunt; we’ve bagged some good ones. The WORD pauses now to reflect on those that got away and to plan hot pursuit for the 2016—our 20th!—season. A roundup report of the brilliance of the past year would be in order, if I were that well organized. But alas. So, like my students, I’m slipping my last WORD under your door and fleeing.

A WORDster sent me this one, wishing only to shut me the hell up. It has nothing to do with journalism, free expression or anything else we deal with, but it would cheer my students if it were true: 

Under the sod and under the trees 
Lies the body of [WORDster] Pease.
He is not here, there’s only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God. 
—An 1880s gravestone on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts (lightly edited) 

No one familiar with the WORD or with God could presume any truth to that. But we are hoping for a good salmon season here, which is almost heaven.

Wishing the best to all of you, loyal, deranged WORDsters. You can anticipate the WORD’s next escape from St. Mumbles in late August. Sorry, but like the swallows to Capistrano and the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, you can pretty much count on it.   

—TP, inmate, St. Mumbles, on the porch, in the sunny spot, 2015

PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Roadtrip!








Annoy a friend! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM stuck in his email every weekday morning during 20th WORD season, starting in late August. This free “service” is sent to 1,700 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Surviving 2016

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Oh, Jon!

“If Oprah can leave and the world still spins, I honestly think it will survive me.”

—Jon Stewart, on hand-wringing over his decision to depart The Daily Show after 16 years, Jon Stewart: Why I quit The Daily Show,” The Guardian, April 18, 2015



Editorial Comment: Everyone, check under your seats.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Weiner Walk












Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The White House Beat

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Covering the President
 
“The White House might be the seat of American and world power, but for the press, it can be a bugaboo of a beat: ‘All hype and spin.’ ‘Restrictive in every sense of the word.’ ‘Cramped and windowless.’ ‘Locked.’ 

“That’s how just four reporters described the job in Politico Magazine’s second annual survey of the White House press corps, with nearly 70 journalists weighing in on what it’s really like to on the presidential beat.”


—Politico Magazine, The Truth About Covering Obama,” May/June 2015 AP photo

Editorial Comment: When White House correspondents refer to their “beat,” they’re referring to their heads in repeated contact with the press room wall. 


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

The Beach Stair








Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

The News Package

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Text Technicians


“One of the things that has been bad for American publishing was the invention of the person called a copy editor, an expert who knows grammar and can spot inconsistencies: a technician of text. Many copy editors are very good at what they do, but the creation of that function has taken away from the principal editor a basic interest in the text. Most editors, with some notable exceptions, have become packagers now, rather than close editors.” 

—John Hersey, (1914-1993), journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, “John Hersey, The Art of Fiction No. 92,” The Paris Review, 1986

Editorial Comment: News packages, shrink-wrapped and styrofoamed, viral and Tweetable.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Coltish











Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Movie Night

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Violence Rules


“The MPAA needs the teen market. Tougher than most other national ratings boards on sexual images in movies, it’s far more lenient when it comes to violence. . . . The argument may be that sexuality is real and disturbs kids more than pretend maiming. But these ratings teach that sex is forbidden and killing is cool. They also tell the world that America is a place where violence rules.”

—Richard Corliss, (1944-2015), film critic, “The big picture: Blood on the Streets,” Time, 2007

Editorial Comment: True story. Movies, a window on the world.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Beach Morning











Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Workplace Violence

. 
Just Shoot Me



“News photographers tend to be tough, able to survive being shot at, both for real and verbally. The way I grew up in the business, the photo editors weren’t polite people. You were afraid of not getting the picture because the consequences of getting yelled at by an editor were way worse than getting attacked on the street by rioters—you could get shot at, beaten up, they didn’t care. They just wanted to see the pictures. They didn’t have HR in those days to complain to. I got better at taking photos out of sheer fear.” 

—David Hume Kennerly, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, “‘I Want to Be With the Circus,’” Politico magazine, April 2015 

Editorial Comment: Ben Bradlee used to call that “creative tension.” I had an editor who called it “management by terroristic threatening.”

Related: See Kennerly’s great photo-essay on 50 years of campaign photography, “‘I Want to Be With the Circus,’” Politico, April 2015


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Ticked-off Kelp Crab











Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rarified Airtime

. 
. . . and Dumb Human Misteaks



“There are certain professions that we in society put on a very high pedestal in terms of honesty and integrity — like teachers, doctors and journalists. We assume they’re breathing rarefied air. 

“All of those people are just human and prone to be human and making dumb human mistakes and falling prey to envy and lust. Anything less than absolute perfection, we condemn. . . . [P]eople lie and cut corners, whether (they) work at Taco Bell or as a reporter.”

—Gabrielle Union, who plays a cutthroat cable news host on BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” in “News Flash: Flawed reporters abound onscreen,” USA Today, April 13, 2015

Editorial Comment: What? Brian Williams and Taco Bell, too?




PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Tom, Couch Potato








Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Is Anyone Listening?

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Short Attention Span



“The writer of an article for a magazine of general circulation is in the position of a man who undertakes to make a speech at a picnic. The people have all gathered around to have a good time, but their attention is vague, wandering and uncertain. It has to be captured on the fly and transformed quickly into definite interest.”


  —Harvey V. Deuell, editor, Liberty magazine, 1937

Editorial Comment: Wait. What were you saying, again?

PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Church











Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day

. 
Love your mother


“I am constantly impressed with the progress that has been made since that first demonstration 25 years ago. Millions of Americans participated in 1970, and now millions more around the globe are showing their concern for the condition of our planet and demanding that their leaders make decisions that will protect the environment now and for future generations. There has been a sea change in the degree of environmentally educated people in our society. They, in the end, will make the difference.”
—Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005), Earth Day founder and former Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator, on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1995
Editorial Comment: And that sea change is still rising.

Related: 45 Years of Earth Day: How Environmentalism Has Evolved,” NBC

PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Hippie Bus







Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Back 9 Therapy

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Fore!

“I know many writers feel frustration when the writing does not go well. I have the perfect antidote: take up golf. You’ll never complain about writing again.”


—Roy Peter Clark, writer, writing coach and therapeutic golfer, “Writing resolutions for 2015: Read more books, master the headline and take up golf,” Poynter.org, Dec. 31, 2014 



Editorial Comment: I dunno. Hasn’t helped me. But I write some pretty original thoughts on my score card.





PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Lupine buds










Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Paté

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When Similes Go Bad
 

“Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like paté.”

—Margaret Atwood, novelist, from Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing (2002) (Thanks to alert WORDsters Anu Garg and Tony Seton)







Editorial Comment: A tasty read. With a nice cracker.









PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Paté in the Wild










Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ernie Pyle

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WORDmeister Note: Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the death of war correspondent Ernie Pyle (1900-1945), “slight, graying newspaper man, chronicler of the average American soldier's daily round, in and out of foxholes in many war theatres.”

War Hero

“GUAM, April, 18 – Ernie Pyle died today on Ie Island, just west of Okinawa, like so many of the doughboys he had written about. The nationally known war correspondent was killed instantly by Japanese machine-gun fire. . . .”

“The commanding general of the troops on the island reported the death to headquarters as follows: ‘I regret to report that War Correspondent Ernie Pyle, who made such a great contribution to the morale of our foot soldier, was killed in the battle of Ie Shima today.’”

Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES, Ernie Pyle Is Killed on Ie Island; Foe Fired When All Seemed Safe,” The New York Times, April 19, 1945



Editorial Comment: Yes, there was a time when we loved and respected our journalists.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Pewetole Island










Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard
.