Jimmy Guterman's blog

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Worst newsroom joke ever?

with one comment

Written by guterman

November 15, 2007 at 11:23 am

Posted in journalism

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  1. I swear this is true.

    When I was the editor of one of the two semi-weekly student newspapers at the University of Missouri – Columbia, I worked for the independent newspaper, the one that actually sold ads and made a little money. (Our sister publication was the local TV Guide.)

    Anyway, this was back in the early days of cold type and we hired people to work at terminals that would spill out punched tape that would then be fed into the actual photo-typesetting box etc. (Hey, it was a step up for me. In high school I worked at a hot type paper.)

    Anyway, there was the publisher, the many who was responsible for the business. His wife was his business partner. This guy had dropped out of college and started the paper and was making money and opening papers at other schools and then offering a newswire to college papers … he was a move and shaker, a junior Rupert Murdoch.

    Anyway, he was also very coarse and obscene and constantly ridiculed the less fortunate. One day, he made and off-hand comment about how he’d never intentionally hire a handicapped person. Sensitive me objected to the comment and said something politically correct about how they are differently abled. The publisher ridiculed my sympathy and made the predictable comment about how I was something less than a Real Man.

    A week later, I come down to the newsroom and there at one of the typesetting stations is a woman in a wheel chair. And she was attractive.

    Well, I had to gloat about this, so I walk into the publisher’s office and said something to the effect that he must be softening up and the proof was the typesetter in the wheelchair.

    And he looked up at me from his desk and said, “You don’t get it. If I ever need to get any overtime out of her I can always set her up on blocks.”

    And you’ll have to believe me that to this very day I still don’t know if he was kidding or not.

    Much later, he bought a daily in St. Louis and reincarnated the Saturday Evening Post for a year or so. Sometimes I look around for him, just to make sure I’m a good distance away.


    December 3, 2007 at 1:31 am

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