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Today's word on journalism

May 12, 2009

The Last WORD

The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

False report of Amber Alert frustrates Idaho residents
Several Idaho residents received an early unwanted April fools' joke March 31 when a false Amber Alert was sent out via text message. An Amber Alert is a procedure for rapidly publicizing the disappearance of a child. The alert said that a 7-year-old girl had been abducted from her home and that the suspect was driving a new silver truck with the license plate number as 72B381. / By Allison Porter

Guns fly off shelves as buyers fret new administration
Patrick Klomp isn't sure when the situation will get any better. Standing with his arms extended, palms facing up, before empty shelves at C-A-L Ranch, he shakes his head. / By Christian Hathaway

Lewiston will get a new grandstand, thanks to Sen. Bennett
This spring, Lewiston city received $237,500 from Senator Bennett's office to build a new rodeo grandstand and city art council members are working hard to earn money to build a playground to match. / By Natalie Buckley

Ongoing peace vigil 'favorite hour of the week'
Cache Valley residents gather every Friday evening in front of the Logan Tabernacle alongside Main Street, displaying anti-war signs as part of what they call a peace vigil. / By Kirk Salisbury

USU 'alumni legacy' non-resident students to get big break on tuition
Utah State University will be offering Alumni Legacy Nonresident Scholarships starting in fall 2008 that will cut $8,000 off some students' tuition per year. / By Paige Burtenshaw

Coyotes vs. ranchers: Millville research center works toward a solution
On a ranch out in Tremonton, a herd of 1,800 sheep graze and rest quietly as a stealthy, wiry predator calmly stalks a nearby lamb. Running swiftly and taking it down, the predator bites the throat of the young lamb, making it the killing blow. / By Jessica Allen

Logan reclaiming lost park strips
After years of planning and a new motto to "restore the vitality of our neighborhoods" Logan city officials began this summer with a two-year project consisting of the demolition and removal of the paved-over park strips within the Logan communities and replacing them with sod and vegetation. / By Logan Clifford

College dropouts often return and find success
When Bryce Chamberlain, 23, started college he didn't know that he would be dropping out later on to join a band, but he did and doesn't regret it. / By David Bowman

Lewiston's water manager given service award
The Operator Certification Commission (OCC) recognized and awarded Lewiston's water system manager Mark H. Blair with a 15 year service award. / By Natalie Buckley

More than 3,000 Cache Valley children used crisis-care nursery last year
It is an ordinary day at work and the door opens. It's the police. Her heart sinks as she knows the news will be something heartbreaking. They lead in a child who has just been through some unimaginably traumatic experiences. She is the director, so they hand her the paperwork and explain that this child was just prostituted so that the parents could buy drugs. / By Natalie Buckley

Copyright 1997-2009 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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