.Final Missive—Newsroom Confidential

These internal emails between “Bohemian” and “Pacific Sun” Editor Daedalus Howell and copy editor and writer Mark Fernquest were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. They are presented here, including redactions purportedly made in the interest of national security, in their entirety. We present them here in the interest of fostering a transparent and open news-gathering process.

Hey, Mark—I need a Gen X gut check here. As the elders of the editorial team we have undoubtedly accrued the knowledge necessary to know whether or not something is going to fly over the heads of our readers, right? First off, as you know, I never aim that high—so why is it that every time I attempt to publish a column with a John Hughes film reference—“Breakfast Clubbing: The Up-All-Night Guide to Dining and Dashing in the Early AM” or “Daedalus Howell’s Day Off: In Which Our Hero Ditches Work, Lip Syncs the Beatles and Gets Up Close and Personal With a Seurat Before Trashing a Classic Car,” you “copy edit” the headline to a truncated shadow of my original? “Scone Zone?” That has none of the David Foster Wallace-ian zeal of my original breakfast piece headline. “Work From Home” completely misses the point of my eponymous day off. What’s the deal man? Is [REDACTED] once again threatened by my genius? Please inform. —Your Editor.

My Good Man—Proud ’68er here, as you know, wot. First lesson of the trade: Less is more. Less is always more. But also, regarding my continued egregious butchery of your insufferably gregarious headlines: We’re appealing to a multigenerational readership at this establishment, lad, not just our personal flocks of doddering groupies. Bridging the gap between “I love your sardonic sense of literary humor, you big, barrel-chested bucket of dry laughs!” and “ROFL,” as it were. I’ve been granted full command to wield the sword of grammatical propriety at this papyrus-printing enterprise, and wield it like the Grim Reaper I shall.
The key word is “readership,” old chap. Because readership = gold. Think: pieces of 8. We must. Maintain. Readership. And yet, with regards to [REDACTED]: your fear is so very real and poignant—grounded, as it were, in insufferably correct observation. In truth I’m quite verbose myself, as you well know, and if I’d my way I’d let the written words run away like wild horses over the hills—but there is a sound at my door, and I must take my leave immejiately, wot. I will continue to work “remotely” until the situation with [REDACTED] er … “resolves.” I will flee now, but remember: Less is more. Less is always more. —Your inimitable underling, Lord Fernquorcestershire

Daedalus Howellhttps://daedalushowell.com
Daedalus Howell is the editor of the North Bay Bohemian and Pacific Sun. He is the author, most recently, of Quantum Deadline and is the writer-director of the feature film Pill Head.
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