Friday, January 14, 2011
Starting Up a Newspaper? What Would You Name It?
If you were starting a newspaper today, what would you name it?
Not many publishers have the opportunity to name a newspaper because there just aren’t many newspapers being launched these days. In fact, far too many are being laid to rest. But a check across the nation turns up some interesting newspaper mastheads. In fact, we don’t have to go too far to find some colorful banners right around Michigan.
I would almost guarantee a one--of-a-kind in nearby Union Lake where the newspaper is called The Spinal Column — honestly.
Some other unusual or colorfully descriptive names are the Olivet Optic, Davison Index, Stockbridge Brief Sun, Crystal Falls Diamond Drill, Climax Crescent, Cedarville Weekly Wave, North Woods Call in Roscommon and the Belleville Enterprise-Roman.
There are also the unique Birmingham Eccentric, the Mears Newz and the White Pigeon Post.
JUST ABOUT EVERYONE has heard of newspapers called The Clarion. Yet, while it seems to have been popular years ago, very few now exist. Our records show no other Clarion in Michigan today. The name is often found in stories, books and even in the infamous TV epic, Peyton Place.
It may not be too difficult to guess the three most popular titles. They are the News, the Times and the Herald.
Looking across the nation, here are a few prize-winners: The Orange Peal, East Greenwich Pendulum, the Alpine Avalanche, the Hart Beat, the Hereford Brand, Nome Nugget, the famous Tombstone Epitaph (where I once had a job offer as editor) DeQueen Bee, Yellville Mountain Echo and Steamboat Spring Pilot.
Democrat is, of course, a popular name, especially in the south. Arkansas alone has 19 newspapers named Democrat. But the champion must be in Linn, Missouri where the title is The Unterrified Democrat.
More examples: The Eye, in Clinton, Missouri; The Phonograph in St. Paul, Nebraska; and Emington, Illinois boasts a Joker. Then there’s the Maomet (Ill.) Sucker State, Jefferson (Texas) Jimplicute (whatever that is), the Lawrence (Neb.) Locomotiver, Muncie (Pa.) Luminary and Hyden (Ky.) Thousandsticks.
PITY THE POOR reporter who must rush into a meeting and announce that he represents the Oblong Oracle, the Peotone Vedette, the Monticello Monticellonian, the Calistoga Calistogan, the Cambria Cambrian, Cotati Cotatian, Panotla Panolian, the Encion Encinian, or the Duarte Duartean.
Other mouthfuls are the Piedmont Piedmonter, the Madison Madisonian, Guthrie Guthrian and the Good Hope Good Hoper.
Some colorful names out of the old west are the Apple Valley Bonanza, Walnut Creek Walnut Kernel in California and Colorado’s Cripple Creek Gold Rush.
Winston Churchill, during a visit to the U.S. many years ago, discovered the Cleveland Plain Dealer which he called the best newspaper name he could imagine. Of course there are many newspapers whose original publishers are eyeing the heavens, such as the Planet, Comet, Meteor, World and Globe.
RETURNING TO POLITICS, one will find that the newspapers named Democrat or Republican are not necessarily that anymore. In fact, some have switched politics, such as the St. Louis (Mo.) World Democrat which is actually Republican.
About the most troublesome name I personally was involved with was The Plymouth Mail over in Plymouth, Michigan.
Unknowledgeable people continually came in to buy stamps, mail packages or called to complain about mail delivery, thinking they were at the local post office located only a street away. It wasn't unusual to find people shoving letters for mailing into the small mail slot in the front door.
Still, that’s not as bad as newspapers called Free Press. As if 10 cents isn’t cheap enough for a copy of the newspaper, Free Press publishers in Detroit and across the nation find that too many take the name too literally and simply help themselves.