Headlines, news clips tell stories

By Bill Ryan


Since around the age of 10 I have been an inveterate newspaper reader.
I remember Nicholas Ifft’s column on the old Pocatello Tribune’s front age. Mr. Ifft’s initials were GNI so his columns were by ING.
I have a scrapbook full of clipped stories and pictures from World War II, and another from the Milwaukee papers, the Journal and the Sentinel.
The latter was owned by the William Randolph Hearst empire. I worked regularly at WISN Radio, while wife, Marguerite. toiled at WISN-TV, both Hearst properties. I was earning a master’s degree at the same time.
Headline: “Ray Price remembered for elegance and talent.” I’m not crazy about country music, but I thought highly of Ray and own many of his fine CDs. He had the thing so many entertainers lack, and that’s class.
“Long, cold winter delaying start of maple syrup season” is the headline for another story I clipped from the Dallas Morning News. It says the New England maple season usually starts in February, but by the middle of March it was still too cold for the sap to start dripping from the trees. Let’s hope it did finally start, for the sake of our waffles.
And it’s a natural segue for: “Mannequins are putting on a few pounds.” Michael Von Plato vice president of the nation’s largest bridal chain, says his new mannequins will get a thicker waist, larger breasts, and back fat to mimic a more realistic shape. It’s part of retailers’ efforts to make them look more like the women who will wear their clothes. The svelte bride is becoming a thing of the past.
“Taking a bite out of crime” heads a story about crime-fighting canines. A picture shows a large dog-in-training attacking a well-padded police officer. It’s not unusual to hear of a bad guy killing a police dog that sniffed him out of hiding.
Headlines are not easy to write. It takes a keen mind to come up with a concise and/or clever head for a lackluster story. As a UPI reporter, I had to compose a headline for each story I wrote. My heads, as well as my stories, were always subject to an editor’s approval. It was great training.

Pocatello native Bill Ryan is a retired United Press International editor who earlier was with Idaho State University as alumni director and journalism professor. Ryan holds a distinguished alumnus award from Pocatello High School. He lives in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, Texas, and can be reached at wryan1807@aol.com.