The scandal-ridden News of the World, owned by the Snidely Whiplash of the media world, Rupert Murdoch, took its last breath this past Sunday.

Back in the 1960s, we found ourselves stationed at Croughton Air Force Base in England, and it was here that I first became fascinated by the world of journalism.

No, not the sort of journalism as practiced by Walter Cronkite, or the offerings of the Associated Press or United Press International, but by the sort of offerings put forth by the men behind the curtain of The Daily Express and the News of the World.

The Daily Express offered news and a few racy articles, and some great daily comic strips – James Bond, Gunlaw (the British name for Gunsmoke), and the offerings of the great cartoonist Giles. And yes, nudity in daily comic strips. Family groups in this country would have gone berserk with rage at the very idea of nudity in Dodge City, but it kept me coming back every day. And the stories were well-written, as well.

But it was the News of the World, Elongated Reader, which really got my blood flowing, on the occasions my parents would buy a copy.

From the wondrous “page three” girls – (who were never actually naked – I’m pretty sure I would have remembered something like that) to the tawdry articles about naked people here, naked people there, naked people everywhere, it opened my eyes to the wonderful world of journalism.

Of course, my junior high English teacher wasn’t amused when some of the influence of the News of the World began making its way into the short stories I was assigned to write.

IN 1967 we came back to the states, and the papers, while not exactly boring, were not exactly as visually stimulating.

Well, I got over it. It was, after all, the 1960s.

I’m actually kind of surprised that the News of the World managed to stay afloat for so long. Well, P.T. Barnum once said, “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.”

I guess that holds true for people everywhere.


Quote of the Day

Traveling is like falling in love; the world is made new. – Jan Myrdal