Now that Arnold Schwarzenegger has been elected governor, California newspaper editors are scratching their heads over the daily challenge of squeezing his 14-letter last name into a headline. Copy editors, given large headlines to work with during the recall election, are likely to have smaller spaces for daily stories on state government.
“THERE WERE copy editors across the state who were dreading the prospect of Schwarzenegger becoming governor, not because of politics but because of the fit,” said John Armstrong, editor of the Contra Costa Times.
Editors at the newspaper briefly discussed using Schwarzenegger’s three initials, like JFK and LBJ, Armstrong said.
“But we looked up his middle name, Alois, and AAS — not so good,” he said. “Editors like me across the state would have a sleepless night worrying about the possible typo.”
Some may opt for the bland term “governor.” Others may take his name out of the headline, as the San Jose Mercury News did Wednesday when it proclaimed “BLOWOUT!”
IS ‘ARNIE’ TOO FAMILIAR?
Below the single word, in smaller letters, was a secondary headline: “It’s Governor Schwarzenegger; Angry Voters Dump Davis.”
Editors who’ve watched dozens of Schwarzenegger’s films and followed his wife’s family for half a century might take the liberty of calling him Arnold — or even Iron Arnie, as he is referred to by the Kleine Zeitung newspaper in his native Austria.
“Today we used the word Arnold,” said Morton Saltzman, deputy managing editor of The Sacramento Bee. “I suspect we might be going to that in headlines, because he’s used it. He’s called himself Gov. Arnold.”
But Saltzman said some editors are concerned that might sound too friendly, and “governor” may win in the end.
Dave Tepps, deputy managing editor of the Mercury News, said the paper is opposed to the first-name reference because it’s not appropriate for a serious story.
“I’m still not sure what we’re going to do,” Tepps said. “There’s going to be more discussion in the newsroom.”
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