June 25, 2003

You Don't Say

I don't envy the headline writers of the world. I've written for newspapers, and I've had to write many, many, many headlines. It's a frustrating exercise in trying to get things to fit just so, with the right font, at the designated size, while at the same time trying to, more or less, tell the crux of an article in maddeningly few words. Oh, and you have to make it compelling enough to invite readers to learn more. Given all those variables, I understand when a sub-standard headline graces a newspaper. After all, the writer just did the best with what they had. Still, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, I'm convinced, could have done better than: Tornado leaves a path of ruin in Buffalo Lake

Really? Imagine that. And here I thought tornados left a wake of money and roses in their path. Now THAT would be a cool, and entirely unexpected, story (italicized sentences actually appear in the Star-Tribune story):

Tornado A Blessing To Buffalo Lake Community
Residents Overjoyed By Storm Aftermath

BUFFALO LAKE, MINN (Rhodes Media Services) -- The community of Buffalo Lake today was still basking in the pleasant post-storm wonders left behind by the tornado that blew through late last night. Despite scattered damage around the area, most residents were quite pleased with the storm's performance.

"That was pretty fucking cool," said Steve McCallister, 47, a Buffalo Lake resident and owner of McCallister Auto. "I mean, just look around. I've lived around here all my life and this is just the coolest damn thing to ever happen here. Sure, the damage kinda sucks and all, but MAN, what a fucking rush!"

Most residents seemed to share McCallister's post-tornado excitement, and practically everyone agreed that the last time Buffalo Lake saw so many reporters and news cameras was when a convicted child molester considered moving to town.

Four people were taken to the hospital, but there were no fatalities, according to Police Chief Greg Gowan.

''I think that's why you see me so chipper today, the day after my town got destroyed,'' he said.

Indeed, in addition to "giving the folks something to talk about for a long, long time," the storm gave residents a respite from the 95+ degree heat that hit the area the previous afternoon.

"Yep, when it comes to a nice breeze, there ain't no beating a tornado," said Clive Burns, 67, a retired area farmer. "I was sitting on my porch most all of yesterday, just sweating myself to death, but that tornado just came along and cooled everything down real nice. I saw the funnel cloud touch down and I couldn't wait to hang my head out the kitchen window just like old Hank (Clive's dog) does when he's riding along in the truck. Yep, as tornados go, that one was pretty nice."

Posted by Ryan at June 25, 2003 10:49 AM

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