Right after college, I got a job with the Daily News Tribune as a newspaper reporter. Except for the pay (I could read want-ads for motel maids that offered more money), it was a dream come true. Eventually, I found out that about a year before I got there the Daily News Tribune had been responsible for what may still be the second funniest thing I've ever seen in the media in regards to the sport of running.
The Editor was a great guy, and loved to run. It was only a couple years after the publication of "The Complete Book of Running," by Jim Fixx, so running as a pastime was still a bit new to the general public (In fact, it was this 10K that first gave me the bug to maybe one day run a race). The Daily News Tribune came up with a great idea: let's sponsor a 10K race. It was new and exciting and well attended. The Daily News Tribune was very proud of its first Daily News Tribune 10K, held in the city of Fullerton.
Except, when it came to news for the next day's coverage, there had also been a gas leak the very same day in another part of town that actually caused many people to be evacuated for their safety. Big news.
So, across the entire front page, in dramatically big type at the top, was the headline: Gas Leak; Thousands Evacuate. And to the far right, was one column below the headline that told the story of the gas leak.
However, the Daily News Tribune was very proud of its 10K race. For a long time, they had been picturing this front page, with the 10K prominently featured. They were so happy to put a photo above the fold that was three or four columns across, and 10 inches or more deep. Huge. It showed off the big crowd of runners in flight, with a caption below it about the success of the race.
Only the editors of the Daily News Tribune saw the front page as a sensible presentation of the previous day's news.
The rest of the world saw the headline, "Gas Leak; Thousands Evacuate" above a big photo of hundreds of people running through the streets of Fullerton.
It looked like the fastest and best mass public evacuation in history.
And everyone had the good sense to change into their running clothes in order to evacuate as rapidly as possible!
It took well over a year before local newspaper people stopped laughing about it. Well, like me, they're probably laughing about it still.