Ray Crippen, whose enormous shoes I doubt I’ll ever be able to fill, passes along some intriguing e-mails once in a while. He has been a tremendous help in helping me coordinate this year’s Annual Report – the special four-section supplement that will appear in Saturday’s newspaper – and has generated a substantial number of both story ideas and helpful tidbits of information.
On Monday afternoon, Ray sent me a particularly interesting anecdote. Actually, it didn’t originate from Ray, per se, but instead came from Chris Fennewald, who Ray identified as a former Daily Globe farm editor. Now an editor with Missouri Farm Bureau Publications in Jefferson City, Mo., Fennewald wrote Ray about a highlight of a Washington, D.C., trip he recently enjoyed.
During his visit, Fennewald went to the Newseum, essentially a museum for news media that opened in the nation’s capital in 2008. (I went to the previous Newseum, in a Virginia suburb of D.C., in 2000, and was absolutely blown away.) Fennewald told Ray the museum was "great," and added that he was "constantly looking for any reference to the Worthington Daily Globe." Front pages, quotations and headlines from newspapers around the U.S. and world are located throughout the museum, and considering the size of the place, one would have do an painstaking search to catch every single one of each.
Fennewald, though, did manage to have a Daily Globe citing – in a somewhat unexpected (and certainly humorous) place.
"Well, I found something in the most unlikely place," Fennewald wrote. "In the men’s room on the 2nd floor right above the men’s urinal on a wall tile was printed this headline: Man Shot in Back, Head Found in Street, Worthington Daily Globe, December 12, 1984.
"It was a very unexpected place to find mention of the Globe and the headline selected was priceless. I busted a gut laughing. Luckily, no one else was in the restroom at the time."
Needless to say, I was appreciative of Ray’s e-mail, not to mention curious about the story behind the headline. I shared Fennewald’s correspondence with the newsroom this morning and they, too, wanted to know more. So, I went down the Globe basement and found the bound volume that contained our edition from Dec. 12, 1984. Features Editor Beth Rickers stood beside me, looking at each page intently as I continued to flip through that day’s paper.
And we came up – disappointingly – empty.
I would be surprised if Fennewald (though I don’t know him) had the date of the headline incorrect, as I imagine he wrote it down on the spot so he could pass it along to his Worthington connection. Could the Newseum be in error? Could folks have somehow placed the wrong date with the purported headline, or – worse – the wrong newspaper?
I called the Newseum late this afternoon, hopeful that I could convince a male staffer to visit the restroom and verify the information that Fennewald had passed along. But I was too late – offices had apparently already closed for the day. I will probably try again this week.
Then, I went to the Internet. I did a search using the words "newseum worthington daily globe" and found a link to a Toronto Star article that appeared April 10, 2008, just a day before the new Newseum’s opening. At the end of the story, sure enough, is the following:
" …Bloopers culled from the pages of the Columbia Journalism Review are engraved on the washroom walls, finding a place of pride for the anonymous Worthington, Minn., Daily Globe editor who almost 24 years ago penned this headline: "Man Shot In Back, Head Found In Street." He is forever immortalized above the urinal in the men’s restroom on the ground floor."
Our newsroom wants to know more. Members of Worthington’s Noon Kiwanis group, of which I am president, want to know more. Maybe others out there are just a tad curious. Does anyone have any recollection of this headline, and what the story may have been about?
In the meantime, I will be ever-hopeful that none of my headlines are deemed worthy of placing on a rest room wall for eternity.