Google suggests WSJ editorial board walks on water

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Posted by on February 15, 2009 at 23:06:02:

Google news splash suggests Wisconsin State Journal editorial board walks on water


Readers sometimes ask me where ideas for our newspaper editorials come from.

Well, thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can now plot their origin on a map.

Our editorial page, according to Google, is about 700 feet offshore in Lake Monona.

I discovered our aquatic coordinates last week after tracking down a problem with my desk phone. I've been receiving a lot of misdirected calls about newspaper subscriptions and advertising lately. I'm happy to transfer readers to the right people who can help them. Yet being an impromptu telephone operator is time consuming for me and the lost callers.

So I finally asked a couple of them where they got my phone number, and they pointed me to Google.

It turns out if you punch "Wisconsin State Journal" into the popular Internet search engine, a phone number and listing for the editorial page pop up ? along with the goofy locator map.

I'm not sure if being at the top of Google's search list is an honor or a curse.

For fun, I e-mailed the map to a group of opinion writers and editors around the country, and within minutes a flood of one-liners washed in.

"Seems like an editorial comment on Google's part ? out to sea?" wrote Kate Riley, associate editorial page editor of The Seattle Times.

"So now, when your readers say, 'You're all wet,' they can cite Google as the source!" added J.R. Labbe, deputy editorial page editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"It must be true. It's on the Internet, right?" suggested Robert Benson, opinion page editor for the Danville (Va.) Register & Bee.

"Does that mean you're off the deep end?" asked Claire Duquette of The Daily Press in Ashland.

Rick Horowitz, a syndicated columnist in Milwaukee whose work appears in the State Journal, seemed to take the high ground.

"Scott: Some editorial pages are mainstream," Horowitz wrote. "I guess others are midlake. At least they gave you a nice view of Monona Terrace."

But it took Jane Nicholes of the Press-Register in Mobile, Ala., to set the record straight.

"Obviously," she noted with authority, "your editorial board walks on water."

I then admitted the truth: Google is right. We used to produce our editorial page on the company yacht in the exact location Google marked in Lake Monona. But then came Wisconsin winter and budget cuts, leaving us with only an ice shanty.

"A good editorial page is not afraid to make waves," encouraged Ron Dzwonkowski, associate editor of The Detroit Free Press. "Never let it be said your editorial board was in over its head."

Charley Reinken, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, wondered: "Can you type while wearing water wings?"

Dzwonkowski then suggested I write a column.

"But don't go overboard," cautioned Tricia Vance, editorial page editor of the Star-News in Wilmington, N.C.

"And if your readers want to complain about such cheesy journalism," Dzwonkowski counseled, "tell them to go jump in the lake. Bottom feeders."

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