Friday, February 24, 2006

A Portrait of the Editor as a 13-Year-Old

It's slightly off topic, but I invite you to enjoy the April 25, 1975, edition of the Leningrad Socialist, which you could say was the first newspaper I ever worked on.

Was I a teenage Bolshevik? Good guess, but no. This was a social-studies assignment at John Page Junior High School in Madison Heights, Mich., and my friend Paul Olsztyn and I were teamed up with a classmate or two of the tag-along-and-do-no-work ilk. No matter, because Paul and I had a blast. The main theme, you'll see, is propaganda in the Soviet press, but there's a lot of whimsy in there as well, not to mention a frighteningly accurate parody of the mid-'70s Detroit Free Press.

We did a "women's page" featuring fashion preview and a couple of borscht recipes, a comics page including a "Charlie Brawnschky" starring Snoopy as Stalin, a "new ad section" with the latest in tractor technology, even a page of columnists including Erma Blabsky. Not bad, aside from a surfeit of exclamation points. My favorite headline is on the sports page: "Odessa creams Minsk."

Looking at these pages you'd think I had found my calling, but no. Taking the journalism class and working on the school paper didn't occur to me until my friend Kathy Hulyk pretty much insisted on it.

(Be patient -- each page takes a few seconds to load -- and don't be scared off by the poor reproduction quality of the front page; the rest of the pages are better.)

4 comments:

MuPu said...

Bill, your PDF seems to be overwhelming my primitive equipment out here in Siberia. After several attempts, I can still only get it to load up through about the fifth page before my computer freezes (in the figurative sense of the word).

Would you consider posting the Leningrad Socialist as individual pages (maybe as click-to-enlarge thumbnails) on your About the Author page? This really is an interesting part of your prehistory as a copy editor, and it would be a shame for your audience to miss out on it. (I'm surely not the only one unable to view it.)

Spasiba.

Bill said...

Try this:

http://www.theslot.com/leningrad.html

MuPu said...

Spasiba! My government computer digest that like overcooked beet! It is now -- how you say in Amerika? -- "peachy!" You are hero and hard worker!

Newspaper has funny note on last page: "These columns represent the view of the writer, possibly with superficial editing." Pravda, eta pravda!

Go 'Gators! Snap those Kiev Chickens!

E.K. Hornbeck said...

Never has there been better evidence for the designs of destiny.

"... better watch his steppe!" Absolutely hilarious.