PORTLAND – Reporters and copy editors from all over Maine gathered Saturday at the Holiday Inn for an emergency conference to brainstorm more puns to use when writing about Sentator Olympia Snowe.
Tea-Party activists have already claimed the slogan “Snowe Removal.” Other clever headline pieces, such as “Forecast Calls for Snowe Victory” and “Democrats Look to Plow Snowe” were used up long ago.
“We’ve been covering Olympia Snowe for 16 years as a Senator, and six years before that as Maine’s First Lady,” said Portland Press Herald copy editor Frank Grossman. “If we don’t do something fast, we’ll have to resort to standard headlines. That’s not going to cut it in this competitive media landscape.”
Jeff Spencer of the Lewiston Sun-Journal agreed. “We can’t afford to go into a competitive primary season with second-class wordplay,” he said.
Out-of-state news outlets are not making things any easier. The Washington Post informed its readers last week that “Snowe Has More than $2 Million in the Bank” for her upcoming campaign.
Several sources, speaking to The Sardine Report on condition of anonymity, said the Bangor Daily News plans to use the headline “Snowe Drifting to the Right to Appease Base” for an upcoming editorial. This bold move would use up the last Snowe pun available.
Yesterday’s conference featured a two-hour workshop led by Boston Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan, who specializes in using team nicknames to craft clever headlines like “Bruins Bedeviled” to describe a hockey loss to the New Jersey Devils, and “Milwaukee Buckles Against Celtics Defense” for a defeat of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Sullivan’s insights left participants howling with laughter and inspired to find new muses.
“He’s a genius,” said Connie Dwyer of the Brunswick Times-Record. “When he showed that one about the Red Sox getting a ‘Ray of Hope’ from a win against the Tampa Bay Rays, I thought I would never breathe normally again.”
Other workshops were not as popular. Marketing consultant Jillian Brown told her audience they could “recycle old puns,” particularly if they haven’t been used in a while.
“What do you think we are, bloggers?” retorted Spencer.