Seeing as I work at a newspaper, Porcupine, Picayune & Post: How Newspapers Get Their Names (University of Missouri Press, 181 pages, $34.95) seemed like a no-brainer when I pulled it off the shelf. I thought it would be filled with interesting, fun, entertaining stories ...
Instead I got really bored reading brief histories of newspaper names such as Herald, Post, Journal, News, Sentinel, Chronicle, and many more. The aforementioned names are the obvious ones. You can pretty much figure out for yourself why a paper would be called "The Chronicle."
At the outset, author Jim Bernhard is befuddled and fixated by the Jimplecute, a newspaper he stumbled upon in the northeast Texas town of Jefferson. What is a Jimplecute? Bernhard doesn't know. I don't know either. He goes to the source and asks the editor/publisher, Vic Parker, who offers up four possible explanations — because he doesn't really know either.
Some of the newspaper names are amusing and might warrant some explanation — Alibi, Bazoo, Bunyip, Muldoon, Ishmaelite, Chad, Grizzly, Gusher, Tomahawk and Topper, to name a few. Thankfully, the table of contents and the index tell you exactly where to look for specific names.
This book will appeal to newspaper geeks and anyone interested in onomastics (the study of names), but that's about it.
Note: The Chicago Sun-Times gets a couple of mentions but no real explanation beyond the fact that it was once just called the Chicago Times. No so original as it is also noted that the Sun and the Times are among the top most popular newspaper names.