D.R.: Extra on the edge
Safely past the State Patrol speed trap on the highway to work, I day dreamed.
What if …
What if I started my own competing daily paper to compete with the Daily? Always an interesting exercise.
How would my underfunded little start-up deal with, say, world and national news? I couldn’t afford The Associated Press even if I had enough room to run wire reports in those few pages I’d be starting with.
But even local readers demand a daily report. The Daily’s surveys since 9/11 show national/world news comes in as a high interest item for the Daily’s readers. And the Daily, relatively large for a paper of its circulation, cannot match the need. How would the startup even begin?
In this fantasy we address that by having a clever writer put out a clever, albiet short, column full of voice, humor and perhaps a touch of vineager as the daily roundup of the world. It wouldn’t replace that full wire report so much as add to it, ideally with a chuckle, or a “huh.”
Floating into my dream came a snippet of reality. The Portland Oregonian has a popular little feature that runs down a side of a page called The Edge. It’s full of humorous, often-trivial, witty little tidbits designed to add some fun to the newspaper reading experience.
(By the way, yes, I’m using narrative, or something close to it, to drag this entry out. I’m told that you like nothing so much as a story.)
Somehow, I have no memory of the drive from the bridge over the Eagle River on the Eagle side clear to Edwards; I am reasonably certain there were no cops in that stretch, since I tend to speed while lost in the ether.
But I had this idea. Why not make our own Edge, but make it relate to the world and national news in some way? Our World in theory becomes more interesting, and has more voice, is a little more fun. Maybe even more edifying.
So I bounced it off a couple of editors. They seemed to like it. Our assistant managing editor, Alex Miller, set up a meeting (gotta have a meeting) to talk it out in detail. Seven people, not including me, volunteered to take turns writing this column.
We talked it out at the meeting. I drew a sketch, we tentatively named the feature P.S., set up another meeting when we’ve written drafts and had the page and feature designed.
Folks who attended that evening’s Readers Circle meeting expressed enthusiasm.
These columns could range from interesting statistics related to something in the news. One writer thought she might list the weird special days out there. You know: Watercress Appreciation Day. Cat Hairball Day (that’s a real one, actually). And maybe where all these awareness days came from.
Maybe off the news of Darfur developments we run samples of the most heinous genocides in history, with Web addresses for more information.
Stuff like that. There’s no limit.
Unlike that speed trap, where you’d better have your mind lucid and car around 75.
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