Thursday, April 10, 2014



Note: Headline writing is hard. And fun. You have to write tight, and get it right. In my copy editing class, as we worked on headlines, I asked my students to write me haikus—five syllables/seven/five—about the press/journalism/editing. Here are some of the results. These kids are good.

“The beautiful thing
about telling a story
is ‘nudging the world.’”
—Mariah Noble

“Stories they tell me—
hidden thoughts and hidden dreams.
My hands write wildly.”
—Sarah Romero

“Class with Ted is great,
though I might not graduate...
Writing ain’t my thing.”
—Jon Larson (national handball champ, 2014)

The story was due Tuesday.
Who sleeps anyway?”
—Noelle Johansen

“e. cummings once said,
‘Society, I hate you.’
I’ve learned to question.”
—Manda Perkins

“Do not hit ‘submit’
until you fact-check your shit,
or else you’re fired.”
—Ileana Borunda

“It's a tasking thing.
Damn this business straight to hell.
Oh, but I love it.”
—Paul Christiansen was just hired at a newspaper in Gillette, Wyoming.

“Editing stories—
spell this, grammar that, AP . . . 
learn to write, dammit!”
—Eric Jungblut

“Ode to my Stylebook:
thanks for saving my ass from
—Noelle Johansen

“Using pens as tools,
reporters uncover truth.
Their words shape the world.”
—Dawn Otterby

• Editorial Comment: And here’s the perfesser’s: 
Headline writers writhe,
struggling to tell a true tale.
Why is truth so hard?

PeezPix by Ted Pease 
Sardine Canyon

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM 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 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, Utah State University, Logan, Utah.
(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

“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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