Between the Lines

To the Editor: Jack O’Leary Remembered

Books As Tools

Corrections or additions?

This column was prepared for the March 12, 2003 edition of U.S. 1

Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Richard K. Rein: On Judging a Newspaper

Our series on community journalism continues: Lesson

1 concerned how to get an article ready for publication. Lesson 2

was how to arrange a group of articles into several discrete sections

that make up an entire newspaper. Now the penultimate class (that’s

right, this has turned into a four-part series) on how to judge a

newspaper over the course of time, and whether or not this paper


up to the standard.

First a disclaimer: What makes one newspaper good or even excellent

is not what makes another one excel. We at U.S. 1 have a wonderful

calendar of events. But the lack of such a calendar in another paper

is not necessarily a weakness in that paper, just as our failure to

have a comics page or a sports section does not diminish the overall

quality of our paper.

And in judging any paper, you have to read more than a single issue.

With the possible exception of the New York Times or Washington Post,

most newspapers today are not big enough to show off all their


(or weaknesses) in any single issue. Drop three or four issues in

a row down on the kitchen counter and peruse them — that will

usually tell the tale.

When I force myself off the treadmill to review this paper, I compare

it to a chef-owned and operated restaurant. It’s not a huge,


renowned venue like Lutece. It’s also not a chain — it’s no


When it started in 1984 I would have compared it to Roberta’s in the

Princeton Shopping Center. At the best of those chef-owned restaurants

you expect to be greeted at the door by a maitre d’ who at least half

recognizes you as a regular customer. You expect the service to be

efficient and the menu to include both some standard items that are

always rewarding as well as a few innovations that may or may not

be to your liking, but that are worth trying. You wouldn’t be


if the management some night let a piano player or a jazz combo play

in the background. At the end of the evening, if you lingered over

a Sambuca, you would see the chef-owner come out of the kitchen, a

little gritty from the evening’s work, and join you at your table

for a few minutes.

Here at U.S. 1, our Between the Lines column on page 2 does a good

job as the maitre d’, and our Survival Guide section, Preview, and

Life in the Fast Lane are the standard fare that readers can count

on — and get good value for their money (in this case their


time spent). At the end of the evening, the old man comes out from

the kitchen and joins us in this column.

And U.S. 1 gives you the occasional special event: the Business


the U.S. 1 Calendar, and the Summer Fiction issue come to mind.

But in my perhaps overly critical view we have not done so well with

the innovative items that pop up on the menu at the best of the


restaurants. In our case it’s the occasional story that comes in from

left field that no other paper is in position to print. Over the years

we have had some: The profile of the Menendez brothers; an unusual

survey of the funeral industry; a woman’s battle with breast cancer;

a mother’s account of the death of her son.

Lately the paper has been consumed by the standard fare, necessary

but not sufficient — in my opinion — to earn greatest raves

from the readers.

What’s happened? In part producing the standard fare has become more

difficult. If 15 years ago we shortchanged the calendar listings to

tackle some difficult special subject, no one would have cared; today

we believe the minimum standard is much higher. And we crank it out

every week, as opposed to once a month or every two weeks when some

of those landmark stories mentioned above were printed.

Over the years helpful suggestions to writers become ironclad rules.

I can imagine a chef telling one of his assistants not to use a


spice in a certain dish — no garlic on lamb, he might say. Years

later a bright new sous chef comes on board with a recipe that


garlic on lamb in some novel combination. His idea is immediately

rejected — no garlic on lamb.

Around here I cringe at the "rules" I have heard attributed

to me. Why doesn’t anyone remember Rule No. 1 — that rules are

meant to be broken. Writers still ask me how many words I want a story

to be: The answer they are looking for is 950 (this column’s word

count) or 1,400 (the count of the directory fraud article on page

8 of this issue). My answer is whatever it takes to tell the story

effectively — if it goes over 6,000 words let me know so we can

order more newsprint.

In many towns across the country readers give their newspapers


Some people used to refer to U.S. 1 as "U.S. Fun." Putting

the fun back into U.S. 1 is part of the challenge. As this paper was

going to press, Barbara Fox and Nicole Plett kicked around the ideas

from this column. Then they turned their attention to the headline

on page 1. A first draft referring to "non-trad" music was

replaced by what you see now: "When Irish Eyes Are Scowling."

Please read the story to understand the reference to scowling. But

remember Rule No. 2: Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good


Top Of Page
Between the Lines

Top Of Page
To the Editor: Jack O’Leary Remembered

The members of the Princeton Regional Chamber of


and the Princeton Community suffered a great loss with the passing

of Mr. Jack O’Leary. As a long-serving board member of the Chamber

of Commerce and a former chairman of the board, he was the catalyst

for many of the programs that the Princeton Chamber has presented

throughout the years.

Jack had an uncanny ability to develop and successfully launch unique

events that brought the business community together with the community

as a whole. He worked tirelessly to organize events celebrating the

American Bicentennial, the Bicentennial of the Treaty of Paris, and

Princeton University’s 250th anniversary.

Jack O’Leary was the founder of the long-standing Albert Einstein

Memorial Lecture Series sponsored each year by the Chamber of Commerce

to bring a noted Nobel Laureate to the Princeton community. He also

founded the Chamber’s Zenger Lectures and Kilgore Lectures. Mr.


vision was also instrumental in founding the Free Enterprise


Chris Tarr, a former chair of the Princeton Regional Chamber of


recently commented that, "we’ve had no better dreamer, creator,

or questioner of the status quo than Jack." His contributions

to the Chamber will not be forgotten, and it will be our legacy to

continue the service to the community that he so passionately believed

in. Jack O’Leary led by his good example, hard work, and creative

ideas. He will be missed.

Michael Hierl

Chairman of the Board

Kristin S. Appelget

President and CEO

Top Of Page
Books As Tools

Thanks to F.R. Rivera for covering the "Altered

Books: Spine Bending Thrillers" exhibition at Rider University

( February 26). I thought you had many good reads on the exhibit.

However, while I appreciate the Duchampian reference, I would like

to clarify the work.

What may appear to be paper glued onto saw and hammer handles is


made solely from laminated and hand-carved book pages. I realize this

is very subtle, but in "Against the Grain (Toni Morrison)"

and "Power Tool (Susan Sontag)" there is no wood underneath

the paper. The handles for these text-tools are made completely from

altered book pages. This difference is everything to me and a reward

for careful readers. In that light, the books and tools are analogous,

as empowering extensions of the human body grasped out of a desire

to rework our physical and/or intellectual terrain.

I hope this alters your perception.

Byron Clercx

Department of Art & Design, University of Idaho

P.S.: The chest protector "Purification" is made from

shredded Bibles and self-help books (sans the straps and snaps).

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