MAKE BELIEVE NEWS:
BISMARCK, ND – In a self-referential article by the Bismarck Morning Telegraph, the North Dakota daily reported publication of its first-ever edition with no “continued” articles. The accomplishment is unprecedented among U.S. dailies, according to the official industry source American Newspaper Publishers Association.
“It was a team effort,” managing editor Milt Treaster said, deflecting credit toward the efficiency of the paper’s writers and cutting-and-pasting skills of the graphic designers. He then added, “Today, our love-hate relationship with continuations ends where it begins.”
Continued articles are a staple of newspapers and serve as both a convenience for editors and page designers as well as a subliminal attempt by publishers to notice interior advertisements as they search for the remainder of front-page stories. The practice, excused as a necessary evil by the profession, is being reconsidered in attempts to lure back readers lost to online news sites.
“The only thing I can compare this to, I suppose, is pitching a perfect game,” Treaster said. The veteran journalist shared the newsroom’s mounting euphoria as he reviewed article by article, page by page, section by section, until he reached the obituaries. “I could’ve lost focus, it was so surreal, but I buckled down, made a few minor tweaks here and there. And, well, that’s a wrap,” he said. The edition featured five separate front-page articles and six each on page 1 of the Local and Sports sections to compound the degree of difficulty.
It could be too little too late for some readers, particularly millennials. Asked to comment on the feat, a Bismarck Community College student responded, “What’s a continued article? Is that like scrolling?”
(MBN author’s note: It is true that “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.” Please check out my satirical inspirations, “The Onion” and “The Borowitz Report.”)
And no pop-up ads….might have something