Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Exactly is a Picayune?

I can’t trace back to when this little disorder started for me, but it’s a safe bet it happened sometime in my early PR days after I put together a lengthy media list for a client.  But ever since, it’s almost impossible for me to hear the name of a city and not immediately conjure up the name for the big newspaper daily from that town.

Take New Orleans, for instance.  While others might immediately think of Bourbon Street and Dixieland jazz when they think of New Orleans, the first words that come to my mind are, “Times-Picayune.”  It just so happens to be one of my favorite newspaper names.

But it’s no longer a daily.  As of September 29th, just a couple of weeks ago, it published its last daily edition.  It now comes out only three days a week in print.

Here are some other newspaper names that for whatever reason come to mind when I think of great media monikers:

·         Sacramento Bee
·         Atlanta Journal-Constitution
·         Rocky Mountain News (Denver)
·         Boston Globe
·         Allentown Morning Call
·         Cleveland Plain Dealer
·         Baltimore Sun
·         Portland Oregonian
·         Wheeling Intelligencer
·         Philadelphia Inquirer (Not Enquirer)
·         Canton Repository
·         Somerset Daily American
·         San Jose Mercury News
·         St. Paul Pioneer Press
·         Nashville Tennessean
·         Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
·         Akron Beacon Journal
·         Toledo Blade
·         Harrisburg Patriot-News
·         Rochester Democrat
·         Springfield (Mass.) Republican

Many newspapers tag themselves with “Chronicle,” “Times,” “Tribune,” “Dispatch,” “Star,” “Journal,” or “Post,” so I didn’t mention any specific ones here.

With so many newspapers going out of business, I fear that the media landscape will not only lose all that goes with having these large newsroom staffs covering the events of the day in corners of the country from Toledo to Los Angeles, but we’ll also lose these colorful names that give our culture a little bit of added dimension.

By the way, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a picayune is a Spanish coin or “half dime;” or “something trivial.”  The Times-Picayune got its name back in 1837 when it was founded because the price of a newspaper then was one picayune.

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