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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.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at


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

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Hazing isn't new to Clark County School District, according to Judy Wells, a student advocate for protecting against bullying, teasing, hazing and initiations. The district claims to have a "Zero Tolerance Policy" on bullying, teasing and hazing. The problem is students and staff alike don't know how to handle the intimidation issue. / By Leavitt Wells

Aggies, here's how to house-hunt like a pro
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When Mindie talks about how her life used to be, it sounds almost idyllic. She would stay up all night talking with friends, she had few responsibilities and she had plenty of energy to get things done. Surprisingly, the life she is describing was one of a meth addict and it wasn't idyllic. In fact, it was horrible. / By Candice Mattson

Hyrum's city museum steps you back to times past
When Matt McBride was younger he would visit his grandparents in Hyrum. He helped his grandfather build a fort. Cutting pieces of wood and putting them together became a part of his summer and also a tie he shared with his grandfather. Now, as docent, or museum lecturer and guide, Matt hopes to help those who visit the museum feel connected with the past and have their own ties to history. / By Caresa Alexander

Making the grade to become a cop
Nick Nessen didn't want to be a cop as a kid. He didn't even have a close family friend that was a police officer and influenced him so deeply he wanted to be just like that friend. So what made him want to become a peace officer? / By Aaron Mecham

Benefits of vegan diet cited by former meat-eaters
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Key to getting the right internship: Start early
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