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Newspaper slogans boast, lie or laugh

Multi-millionaires and famous film stars frolicking in America's most expensive ski resort are warned every day by this slogan nailed to the masthead of the Aspen (Colorado) Daily News: If You Don't Want It Printed, Don't Let It Happen.

And the good folk of another small western town, Yerington, Nevada, must surely glow happily when they read this slogan of the Mason Valley News: The Only Newspaper in the World That Gives a Damn About Yerington.

Texas newspaperman Charlie Stough says his family once owned a weekly in Arizona called Sage: The only newspaper you can open up in a high wind or read on a horse.

Newspapers around the world flaunt slogans on their front pages. Many are boastful, some are untrue, and others make us laugh out loud. Here's a selection from several lists on American websites. You can decide for yourself which category each belongs to:

  • New York Times: All the News That's Fit to Print.
  • Atlanta Journal: Covers Dixie Like the Dew.
  • Chicago Tribune: World's Greatest Newspaper.
  • Philadelphia Inquirer: The Oldest Daily Newspaper In The United States--Founded 1771 / An Independent Newspaper For All The People
  • Burlington (Vermont) Free Press: America's Most Colorful Newspaper.
  • Longview (Texas) Daily News: An Independent Democratic Newspaper Of The First Class Unchallenged In Its Field.
  • Edmonson News (Brownsville, Kentucky): The Gimlet -- It Bores In.
  • Colleton and Beaufort (South Carolina) Sun: A Weekly Newspaper for the Mutual Benefit of Ourselves, Colleton and Beaufort Districts and Mankind Generally.
  • Julesburg Advocate, Colorado: You won't see a newspaper like THIS every day...just once a week.
  • Los Angeles Times: Largest Circulation In The West.
  • Los Angeles Herald Examiner: Largest Circulation In The Entire West.
  • New Orleans States-Item: The Lively One, With a Mind of Its Own
  • Putnam Pit (Putnam County, Tennessee): [No bull] Going where no dog has gone before -- and without a leash!
  • Tombstone Epitaph (Arizona): 116 Years In the Town Too Tough To Die. No Tombstone Is Complete Without Its Epitaph.

North Star: Dr Larry Lorenz, a professor of journalism at Loyola University, New Orleans says Frederick Douglass escaped slavery in 1838 at the age of 21, and founded the North Star Newspaper. Its slogan was Right is of no sex, truth is of no color. God is the father of us all and all we are brethren.

Newspapers in Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) also go in for slogans. The Post calls itself The paper that digs deeper, while the Zambia Daily Mail claimed We serve the country without fear or favour, which it later shortened to Without Fear or Favour.

Here in Australia, the Sydney Daily Telegraph once carried the slogan The Paper You Can Trust. When I was a young reporter on its staff, in the 1940s, it was often called it The Paper You Can Thrust.

In those far-off days, the Sydney Bulletin magazine's masthead bore an infamous motto that persisted until 1961: Australia for the White Man. After the second world war, the nation's White Australia policy was abandoned, and Sydney is now one of the world's most multicultural cities. A single suburb, Marrickville, is home to people from 140 nations.

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Story first posted July 2005

Copyright 2005

Eric Shackle

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