Sunday, June 11, 2006

i come by it honest

Soon after I started bitching about the Star's headlines on their website I got an e-mail from my grandma.
I just read your criticism on local headlines. The old Truth'ers would say sounds like what we heard for a good many years. Carl would be chuckling.

Carl would be grandpa. The old Truth'ers would be the editorial staff of The Elkhart Truth, where my grandpa was the top news editor for decades. He passed away a couple of years ago.

Today I got another note from my aunt.
Joe - I have to tell you that I take great delight everytime I read your blog entries about terrible headlines. They always put me back in the Elkhart Truth newsroom in about 1972 when I was working as a summer intern. At the horsehoe-shaped editors desk, your Grandpa Miller sat in the middle of the horsehoe, like at the head of the table, writing headlines to all of the stories he selected for that day's edition. When he was done counting characters in headlines, he would lean back in his chair, grin ear to ear, laugh, and say "This is the best job in the world!" And, wonderfully, he meant it!

It seems ink is passed down through blood.

(A variation on this story: In his obituary, Grandpa's former co-workers wrote that when the last bit of copy was sent to the presses each afternoon he would invariably shout, Easy money! "It wasn't," they wrote. "But he made it seem like it was.")

I have this picture of my grandpa hanging over my work desk:

It'll stay there for as long as I'm a journalist.

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