Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

April 21, 2013

HOPKINS: Putting aside a bitter rivalry

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

And that’s how it should be.

When put to the test, humanity prevails.

There will be plenty of time to resume the fierce rivalry. In the mean time, God bless Boston.

•••

And now for something a little lighter.

Sometimes it pays to have a dirty mind. But sometimes it can backfire.

I have a dirty mind. A speaker at a newspaper convention I attended several years ago said it pays to have a dirty mind in this business. More on that in a minute.

As I said, I do indeed have a dirty mind. It comes from watching Benny Hill with my dad when I was in elementary school, and being introduced to Monty Python in sixth grade. Throw in Sunday nights from junior high through high school listening to Dr. Demento on the radio and you have a recipe for one twisted individual. Innuendos? I can go toe-to-toe with the best of them.

So, how does this help in the newspaper business? It helps you look for things that were innocently written, but could be construed as perverted.

For example, after Tiger Woods’ first round at a golf tournament after his personal affairs became public knowledge, the Associated Press story carried this headline: “Tiger starts year with a 69.”

Very innocent. Or it could have been tongue-in-cheek. One thing was for sure: Anyone with even the slightest dirty mind will recognize what’s wrong with that headline.

For those of you who don’t know, ask someone of whom you can ask anything. Be prepared to blush. Brightly. It was clear that I wasn’t going to let that headline run in the Tonawanda News, where I was working at the time.

That brings us to an item last week. When reporters enter their stories into the main computer, they give it a name that’s known in the newspaper industry as a “story slug.” For example, I slugged this column “hopkins column 042113.” Our main front page story in today’s paper is slugged “monkey business.” Short, easy to remember and to identify.

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