It is in the conflict between form and freedom that all great aesthetic achievement is born. Shakespeare would have been a trainwreck without iambic pentameter, Muddy Waters?s riffs wouldn?t have been nearly as filthy without the 12-bar blues. This balancing act is likewise what produces the brilliance of newspapers names. Local papers must necessarily name-check the locale they serve, yet have the liberty to append an imaginative adjective to it, and the marriage that results, when done well, will leave audiences in awe. Website names lack their newspaper neighbors? charm; an excess of freedom leads to groundless and overly calculated monikers that, perhaps, could be mistaken for below-average Robert Redford movies (The Ringer, The Undefeated, Bandcamp).
This brave author, featured on page 12 of the July 3rd, 2014 edition of the Sundance Times
Yet it?s not only aesthetic criteria that could lead one to sing the praises of local newspaper names, it?s their content. Sure, a physical paper is not going to give you any more insight on Trump or March Madness or Brad and Angelina than the internet will, but it is the only place you?ll find out what went down in high school JV girls basketball. That will carry the obituary for Uncle Jeff. Or run a candid photo of you shaking names with the UNC basketball coach that you?ll cut out and frame next to your bedstand the rest of your life. You might just even land a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in a staged photo promoting the Sundance, Wyoming bike racks next to news of next week?s Farm Bureau picnic. The local newspaper captures what might otherwise be forgotten or overlooked, which is why we would be wise not to overlook it. And so, as a small tribute to the tribunes of now and yesteryear, we?ve compiled a powerful pile of the most eminent newspaper epithets.
(First, the honorable mentions: The Skanner, The Tombstone Epitaph, Corpus Christi Caller Times, The Red Wing Republican Eagle, The Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, The Greene County Daily World, The Sylva Herald and Ruralite, The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, The Donaldsonville Chief, Sangre de Christo Chronicle)
25. The Spooner Advocate (Spooner, Wisconsin)
The Spooner Advocate is your one-course source for northern Wisconsin obituaries and traffic accidents. One of the paper?s most notable features (and there are many) is a weekly ?Spooner Spoonerism,? where readers can submit their favorite play-on-words. The Advocate recently dinked an eel with Malt-O-Meal to advocate on behalf of their hit cereal ?Frosted Skinny Mooters.? The Spooner Advocate is also a defunct Geocities blog that offered its readers tips on spooning techniques. Featured articles included ?Awkward or Sensual: What to Do With the Other Hand? and ?The Ladle: An Adventurous Alternative to Big Spoon.?
24. Gazette van Detroit (Detroit, Michigan)
Promising to be a ?Het Licht voor? t Volk? (A Light for the People), the GvD is a cornucopia of commentary crafted specifically for Dutch-speaking Belgians in Detroit. Unfortunately, no one is sure whether there are still any Dutch-speaking Belgians in D-town to read it, but a grant from the Flemish Government in the mid 2000s ensures that the presses stay hot. The website for the Gazette van Detroit sports a humor section that is entirely empty. Sad!
23. The Gaston Gazette (Gaston, North Carolina)
No, not that Gaston
At first glance, The Gaston Gazette isn?t as flashy as some of the other names on this list, but if newspaper names were ranked on sound alone it might very well crack the top 5. The consonant Gs are complemented by the internal ?Gas?/?Gaz? rhyme, but these concordances only sooth one into submission in preparation for the surprise of the bifurcating concluding syllables: the ?ton? plummets down in the booming masculine direction while ?ette? rises for a gentle feminine touch of the palette. Well done, southern North Carolina.
22. The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee)
The Commercial Appeal is actually a merger of two separate newspapers, The Memphis Commercial and The Memphis Appeal (the former owner of the paper, The E.W. Scripps company, also owned the Memphis Press-Scimitar, which would?ve undoubtedly made this list if it still existed). At a time when newspapers are struggling to create commercial appeal, the Commercial Appeal is fortunate enough to have it in its name already.
21. The Richfield Reaper (Richfield, Utah)
The Richfield Reaper has tasked itself with ?serving the people of south central Utah.? That might seem noble, but it bears mentioning that there aren?t actually any people in south central Utah ? only rocks. Whipup? Sulphurdale? Castle Dale? All fake cities that The Reaper has put on Google Maps to feign relevancy. Even if it doesn?t serve any people, we must give credit to The Reaper?s founders for coming up with a alliterative, clever name for a paper. But reader beware: its horoscopes are horrifying.
20. Honolulu Star-Advertiser, (Honolulu, Hawaii)
The hyphen indicates that the star and the advertiser portions of the name are separate, but we?d like to think that this newspaper is either a very good advertiser, or, better yet, and advertiser of stars. The Star-Advertiser does a great job of covering Hawaii?s homelessness crisis and other local issues, but it would probably also do an excellent job of promoting the likes of OGLE-TR-122b, WNC4, or Zeta Botis.
19. Daily American (West Frankfort, Illinois)
It takes perhaps no small collection of cajones to consider the happenings of your particular hamlet to represent the sum total of the nation?s experience, so bravo to the fine folks of West Frankfort for not being shy about asserting their own self-importance. Sadly, the Daily American was bought by Canadians in 1987.
18. San Jose Mercury-Sun (San Jose, California)
Now it turns out that San Jose?s local newspaper is known as the ?Mercury News,? but when we were writing this ranking we both thought the San Jose paper was the San Jose Mercury-Sun, which, like the fact that the Bernstein Bears are actually called the ?Berenstein Bears,? is further proof that we were born in a parallel universe that has now merged with the current one that happens to possess less interestingly named papers and more interestingly named bears. You?ll have to time travel back to our original universe if you?d like to know what stellar jokes we would have made about the Mercury-Sun. They were out of this world.
17. Nevada Appeal (Carson City, Nevada)
Sorry, Nevada has no appeal.
16. The Boscobel Dial (Boscobel, Wisconsin)
Where is Boscobel? Why is the newspaper which covers it a dial? The answers: Wisconsin and we don?t know.
15. The Yadkin Ripple (Yadkin, North Carolina)
Mattie Johnson Hall (pennamed ?Meddlesome Mattie?), devised the name for the paper she founded after watching a ripple go over a dam on the Yadkin River. That basically tells you about all you need to know about the kinds of exciting events that happen in Yadkin which you can find coverage of in its Ripple. Alas, had Mattie been a smidgen downstream, where the river intersects with the Pee Dee River, and had the wind been more present when inspiration struck, we could be living with the Yadkin-Pee Dee Ripple-Breeze.
14. Palladium-Item (Richmond, Indiana)
Multilayer ceramic capacitor
These days, the Palladium-Item goes by the Pal-Item and is owned by USA Today, which is really a damn shame. Richmond, Indiana?s Palladium-Item is the rare newspaper name to combine an obscure precious metal and the most generic word possible. Other Palladium items include multilayer ceramic capacitors, some dental amalgams, and carbon monoxide detectors.
13. The Paper of Montgomery County (Crawford, Indiana)
The Paper of Montgomery County comes from a long line of names that try to make themselves more important-sounding by saying it?s the definitive thing of a place: Sewanee: The University of the South, The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and The Count of Monte Cristo. There are no other southern universities, angels in Anaheim, counts in Monte Cristo, or, of course, papers of Montgomery County. No other publication shall inform you of the daily happenings of the Crawford, Indiana police department, the match-ups in the Sagamore Athletic Conference (go Frankfurt Hot Dogs!), and the goings-on of the Brown Lucky Leaf 4H Club.
12. The Arkadelphia Daily Siftings (Arkadelphia, Arkansas)
A sizeable portion of local newspapers are destined to end up as the stuff at the bottom of pet cages. So why not give your paper a name to reflect that fact? While rummaging around for the poop pellets Fido left behind last night, you might accidentally catch your glance on a gripping story like ?Caddo Valley City Council Meets.?
11. The Carlsbad Current-Argus (Carlsbad, New Mexico)
Admittedly, we?re suckers for alliteration. So just The Carlsbad Current would be enough to satisfy us. But the addition of ?Argus? ? Odysseus? dog, the King of Argos, the builder of the Argo, or a bunch of other things in myth ? really solidifies The Current-Argus? standing on this list. According to its Wikipedia page, the paper was once described as ?conservative? in 1953, and features a local section called the Little-Argus, for some reason.
10. The De Queen Bee (De Queen, Arkansas)
On most newspaper name power rankings you?ll see either The Sacramento Bee or The Modesto Bee listed, but those folks are overlooking by far the best bee-paper. The De Queen Bee was founded by two residents of Nashville who didn?t even live there but thought the pun was too good to pass up. De Queen, Arkansas is named after the anglicization of the family name of Dutch merchant Jan de Goeijen, who was reportedly not very happy about the name-mangling. But this de Goeigen dude should be content with leaving his Dutch mark on our country, as he apparently was responsible for picking the town names of as Zwolle, Louisiana, Amsterdam, Missouri, Vandervoort, Arkansas, Mena, Arkansas, and DeRidder, Louisiana.
9. The Rock Springs Daily Rocket-Miner (Rock Springs, Wyoming)
The most peculiar thing about The Rock Springs Daily Rocket Miner is not that involves ROCKET MINERS, but that there?s a new one EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Really, a rocket miner should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I?m not sure if they?re miners with jetpacks or regular miners who just mine rocket ships, but it?s incredulous that readers in Rock Springs, Wyoming get to encounter one daily. Okay, yeah, there?s another hyphen, but let?s pretend it doesn?t exist.
8. The Island Packet (Hilton Head, South Carolina)
When was the last time you engaged with a ?packet?? We?re guessing it was sometime in the 5th grade and probably involved multiplying fractions. The publishing and distribution process for The Packet is slightly unorthodox. Every day, the newspaper?s editors roam the island and gather every piece of paper they can find, then staple them together, and hand-deliver it in colorful folders for the residents to complete by the next day.
7. The Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan)
Nicknamed the ?D-Press? for its penchant for mentioning disheartening news that takes place in Motor City, The Detroit Free Press is, I?m sorry to say, not actually free.
6. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri)
Since the rise of the internet, newspapers across the country have been shuttered or forced to adapt to a changing landscape where news is everywhere and mostly free. Perhaps no paper has embraced this evolution of print media more than St. Louis? daily publication, which is definitively, like, sooo post-dispatch. The paper now operates under the principle that ?no news is good news,? and thus refrains from any reporting. In a statement, P-D editor Hamilton X. Fitzmartin, said, ?Here at the Post-Dispatch, we believe in delivering news that, like, you probably haven?t even heard of yet, which, when you really think about it, is kind of the absence of news entirely in these postmodern times we live in.? Fitzmartin then left to go listen to his deluxe pressing of Radiohead?s A Moon Shaped Pool.
5. Cleveland Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio)
Motto: ?Boring as hell.?
This is actually Dayton, Ohio
4. The Picayune Item/The New Orleans Times Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Because we can?t just picaone, both of one these zines get a prestigious place in the top 5. ?Picayune? comes from the name for a small Spanish coin and now generally signifies ?of little value? or ?worthless.? So not exactly projecting confidence there?
3. The Jefferson Jimplecute (Jefferson, Texas)
Jumpin? jiminy cricket, Batman, this might be the most drama-filled black-and-white of them all! It was a sad day in Jefferson in 2015 when the entire staff of the fifth-oldest paper of record in Texas walked out. Yet Jimplecute owner was philosophical about his employee exodus: ?It?s a free country. They can go do whatever they want to do.? The staff was going to found its own paper, which it was calling the Marion County Herald, surely a letdown after working for a paper called the ?Jimplecute.?
What is a Jimplecute? Even Wikipedia doesn?t know, but it proposes four alternative theories:
- An early editor dropped several pieces of type on the floor, and upon returning them to his composing stick, randomly spelled out the word ?jimplecute?.
- A mythical creature developed to frighten superstitious slaves during the American Civil War.
- A slang term meaning ?sweetheart? or ?slim? (the word ?jimp? is defined as such in some dictionaries)
- An acronym for the motto ?Join Industry, Manufacturing, Planting, Labor, Energy, Capital (in) Unity Together Everlastingly.? is the most widely accepted theory. This is the motto which exists in the newspaper heading.
My theory is that when it was founded in 1848, James K. Polk was president. As we know, JKP was the most dashing of presidents. So the phrase ?Jim Polk?s Cute? was popular, and that eventually it morphologized into ?Jimplecute!?
2. Laramie Boomerang (Laramie, Wyoming)
BAM! Just when you think it?s okay to toss this rag in the recycling, it flies back and smacks you right in the face. The Boomerang features hard-hitting analysis like this op-ed on ?Enhancing Your Shoulder Mobility.? Okay, so there?s really not much else going on in Laramie, Wyoming these days, except for being a stop on Oregon Trail the video game. The paper was named for the owner?s mule, Boomerang.
1. The Toledo Blade (Toledo, Ohio)
It?s not just paper cuts that you?ve got to worry about ? this zine is about to slice your whole f*&#ing hand off. The paper was named for the swordsmiths of Toledo, Spain, the town?s European namesake. In 1960, The Blade dropped ?Toledo? from its masthead, a wise marketing move because anyone who?s ever been to Toledo knows the only thing it does is drudge up memories of industrial-sized containers of cotton balls and sad dinners at 7/11. The most prominent pen to ever do battle for The Blade was one Petroleum V. Nasby, who contributed to its opinion section then-called ?Pages of Opinion?. On account of its high-quality coverage, the Blade has rightfully earned the right to boast the bragodocious motto ?One of America?s Great Newspapers.?
Since this is the Year of #FakeNews, as an EXTRA! EXTRA! reward for reading this whole thing here are the top 25 fake newspaper names in the U.S.:
25. The Baton Rouge Vanadium-Doodad
24. The Daily Entrails
23. The Tallahassee Meatball-Parabola
22. The Springfield Splainer
21. Picayune Tribune-Spooner
20. The Boise Noise
19. The Cleveland Sucks
18. The Muskingum Gum-Observer
17. Birmingham Abraham-Cunningham
16. The Rochester Mel-Gibson
15. The Mackinaw Hacksaw
14. The Albuquerque Gazebo
13. The Detroit Cole-Karch
12. The Nome Tome
11. The Provo Provost
10. The Harrisburg Necktie-Rattlesnake
9. The Harold Herald
8. The Triadelphia Bagel-Smithsonian
7. New Paltz Balls-Instigator
6. The Washington Post-Truth
5. The Wanamingo Way-More-Mango
4. The Truth or Consequences Truth-Consequence
3. The Oconomowoc Economic-Squawk
2. The Duluth Truth-Sleuth
- The Binghamton Daily Bigot