NATURAL BORN COLUMIST: WRITING A COLUMN FOR A NEWSPAPER – A DAUNTING TASK

 

STERN EDITOR: WRITING A COLUMN FOR THE WRITER IS “DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE”, SAYS JOHN PRINGLE. Below: CHARMIAN CLIFT  --  SHE MADE HER COLUMN INTO A GREAT PERSONAL SUCCESS.

The American historian, Jerry D. Lewis, said columnists are “the stars of the newspaper business.” Lewis also labelled the daily column as “literature in a hurry”. That’s why writing a daily column is a daunting task. John Pringle chose Charmian Clift because Clift “could maintain a good literary tone.” Charmian’s biographer wrote: “He (Pringle) was never to regret his choice of Clift … who made the column into a great personal success.”

FRANK MORRIS

Pringle describes a columnist’s writing as “deceptively simple”

The celebrated newspaper editor, John Pringle, was staunch an admirer of Ross Campbell. Pringle, in his book of essays, On Second Thoughts,* expostulated that there is no excuse “for ignoring one of Australia’s best writers.”

The editor said of Campbell, that “his writing is deceptively simple, both in style and subject matter. I say “deceptively” because, of course, this extreme simplicity conceals considerable art as well as a very shrewd perceptive view of life.”

A MASTER STROKE

Pringle, in his second tour of duty as editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, from 1965 to 1970, introduced a weekly column in the paper’s women’s pages written by the exceptionally talented Australian writer and novelist, Charmian Clift. Pringle’s choice turned out to be a master stroke.

Clift’s brief was that she could write about anything that took her fancy; and because she was a writer and not a journalist, Pringle correctly surmised that Clift’s reputation could “maintain a good literary tone”.
Writes Garry Kinnane: “He (Pringle) was never to regret his choice of Clift … who made the column into a great personal success.”

*Angus & Robertson, 1971.

Note: This series will run all through the month.


A NEWSPAPER LEGEND DIES AFTER BATTLE WITH CANCER

I’VE KNOWN RON TANDBERG FOR AS LONG AS HE’S BEEN DRAWING HIS ‘POCKET CARTOON’ FOR THE AGE AND HERALD. TANDBERG DIED AGE 74.

HE WON ELEVEN WALKLEY AWARDS, INCLUDING TWO GOLD WALKLEYS. THE REPORTER, TONY WRIGHT, DESCRIBED TANDBERG AS A  LEGEND FOR  DRAWING THE “PREFECT LITTLE “POCKET” CARTOON.

TANDBERG  SAID HE WAS EMPLOYED BY GRAHAM PERKIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE AGE, IN 1972. WRIGHT SAYS THAT TANDBERG WAS TO ASKED TO DRAW A “SMALL” CARTOON TO ACCOMPANY THE MAIN FRONT PAGE STORY. THAT WAS HOW THE “POCKET CARTOON” WAS BORN.


OUT ROLL THE TRUCKS: DURING A REMAKE OF PHAR LAP IN 1983, EVEN THE TINEST ITEM WAS CONSIDERED IMPORTANT TO THE SAGA – THE NEWS POSTER. Below: EVEN THE NEWSPAPERS GAVE THE CHAMPION THAT TIME HONOURED POSITION – THE FRONT PAGE.

“HE’S DEAD” … THE POSTER THAT TOLD THE WORLD CHAMPION PHAR LAP HAD DIED

These two word stopped people in their tracks and they wept. Everyone who it was. It was the mighty racehorse, Phar Lap. The classic HE’S DEAD poster, in its meaningful ways, stands our loud and clear. – FM. The poster, see below.

AN ARGUS SPECIAL WRITER        Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

(Melbourne, April 7):  Australian Prime Minister, Mr Joseph Lyons, when informed at Bathurst this afternoon of the death of Phar Lap said, with a regretful smile: “The death of this wonderful horse is a great sporting tragedy.”

Jockey, J.E. Pike, who was associated with Phar Lap in many of his greatest triumphs, including the Melbourne Cup of 1930, said that although he was only his rider he could not help liking such a horse.

Phar Lap would live in racing history forever.

A tribute to the gelding was also paid by the United States consul, Mr Keblinger, who said that Phar Lap’s achievements had significance beyond purely sporting considerations, in keeping Australia’s name before the American public and before the world.

Bred at the Seadown Stud, Timaru, New Zealand, in 1926, by the late Mr A.F. Roberts, Phar Lap was by Night Raid from Entreaty, by Winkie-Prayer Wheel, by Pilgrim’s Progress-Catherine Wheel, by Maxim-Miss Kate (imp.), by Adventurer.

HE WON THE AQUA CALIENTE HANDICAP

He won only one race as a two-year old, but after four unplaced starts in the following season he indicated his real worth by running second to Mollison in the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick.

Then followed successes in the Rosehill Guineas, AJC Derby and Craven Plate and the VRC Derby.  He was third in the Melbourne Cup and the VATC St George Stakes the same season, and then he won nine races in succession, including the King’s Cup at Adelaide.

Phar Lap’s career as a four-year old was even more noteworthy.  For at this age he won 14 races. One of these was the Melbourne Cup.

As a five-year old the gelding still retained his superlative form.  Phar Lap was given 10.10 in the 1931 Melbourne Cup, but he failed under his huge burden, although he won every other race in which he was started.

The 1931 Melbourne Cup was his last race in Australia, and soon afterwards his owners decided to send him abroad.  On March 20 he carried out the task set him by winning the rich Aqua Caliente Handicap.

Including the stake his owners received for his victory in the Aqua Caliente Handicap, Phar Lap won the magnificent total of sixty-six thousand seven hundred and thirty eight pounds ($A133,476).

He won 39 races, was second three times, third on two occasions, and was unplaced in nine races.  He was third on the list of the world’s greatest stake winners, only Sun Beau (USA) and Ksar (France) being ahead of him.

Had he not come to such an untimely end there is little doubt that Phar Lap would have won enough to place him at the top of the list.

<< Adapted from the Argus, Melbourne.


EVEN THE PRESS RAISED THE QUESTION OF POISON. Below: “HE’S DEAD” -- AND PEOPLE VISIBLY WEPT.

THE NEWSPAPER STREET-POSTER THAT CAPURED THE HEART OF A NATION

FRANK MORRIS

Like the newspaper street-posters, for example, these are important forms of communication: getting the message over in a few seconds.

“YES”, underscored, truncated the Saturday Paper. It was promoting the recent victory of a tele-poll plebiscite. The news poster fills the bill.

(In the 1960s and 1970s, in particular, The Sun and the Daily Mirror relied heavily on the strength of their poster in daily battle to see came out on top. While The Sun had superb posters, the Mirror’s poster seems to beat the Sun hands down. One in particular was a notorious winner: I SEE WAS HANG, a poster which, accompanies by a photo of Ron Saw. It’s our sold The Sun by nearly 60,000 copies.)

VISIBLY WEPT

The classic HE’S DEAD poster from the 1930s stand out loud and clear. Nearly every Australian knew it was. It wasn’t some potentate and famous actor. Rather, it was a great racehorse that had captured the heart of a nation, the mighty Phar Lap.

Regaled in chucky, black wooded type, the poster’s impact was immediate. Passers-by – men, women and children – stopped momentarily and visibly wept.

This unique and timeless example of “word power” in action was created by a person who knew the craft. The “hard fact”, the message, is starkly reinforced by simple typography.

<< Extracted from Communication: Signs of the times by Frank Morris. 


MAGIC! WHEN CUSTOMERS SEE THE DIFFERENCE

ON THE BOIL: SINCE THE 1890S EDITORS HAVE BEEN GOING TOOTH AND CLAW TO GAIN DOMINATION IN THE MARETPLACE WITH GOOD POSTER WRITING.

HAPPY NEW YEAR … WISHING YOU A DAY THAT IS FILLED WITH THE BEST OF EVERYTHING.

 

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 11 January 18

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