Behind the Headlines

Over the years, the News, our local tabloid format daily paper, has become well known for its front page banner headlines. Some call them brilliant, some call them tasteless, but whatever your opinion, it’s a fact that the News is the city’s most profitable daily newspaper, so the headlines must work. We were lucky enough to get the paper’s copy chief, Michael Bradburn, to give us his thoughts on a few of our favorites from over the years.

LEAD ZEPPMAN (January 25, 1998)

“Oh yeah- this was the Arthur Zeppman thing. Classic- retail magnate found in his Downtown loft with his mistress, shot about thirty times. I think it was someone on the features desk who came up with the Led Zeppelin angle. Then we started riffing album and song titles, but realized- the band name was the only one that fit. We got some letters.”

QUOTH MAYOR JACKSON: “YOU F%#&ING F%#&” (June 9, 1987)
“We went back and forth on this- How many letters to replace? Should we leave the ‘k,’ or take it out? Will people still know what he said? I still think using ‘quoth’ was a nice touch.”

WHY, JOHNNY CAN READ! (May 28, 1984)
“Oh, the Councilman Rondo thing! Why that guy thought he could get away with that, even in this town, is beyond me. The headline there kind of covers up that he’s holding an Agatha Christie book.”

TEN POUNDS OF SAUSAGE IN A FIVE POUND SACK (April 16, 1981)
“Wow, did we catch heat on this one. But come on, the teen daughter of the city’s wealthiest family, you’re telling me there was no one around to say maybe she shouldn’t have worn a dress six sizes too small to her coming out party? How could we not run that on the front page? It had nothing to do with her going into rehab.”

DOG BITES MAN (September 20, 2005)
“Yeah, that rottweiler bit him seventy-eight times. Maybe a little too ‘inside baseball,’ but how could we not use that?”

“THEY SAID THEY WERE ‘FOODIES'” (August 16, 2002)
“This was that cannibal couple up in Banksworth Heights. We were stumped until we got that quote from a neighbor. Someone wanted to use ‘Eating Raoul,’ but we couldn’t find anyone with that name on the list of known victims and you know, not enough people would get it. Too ‘one percenter.’ You just can’t force these, you know?”

WE ARE ALL DOOMED (November 4, 1992)
“After Willet won the ’92 mayoral election. Maybe that was overdoing it a bit. He wasn’t that bad of a guy. Just kind of a schmuck.”
- R. White

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