We must say we were a bit tickled — and honored — when Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee made a point during Tuesday’s City Council meeting to laud the Leader-Call for its headline in Saturday’s paper about the final holdup of the Beacon Street Corridor project. Just to put into perspective on how long that project has been in the “planning stages,” that street hasn’t been Beacon Street since summer 2015.
The owners of the land on which Burger King sits were the final holdouts and the city was about to use eminent domain to secure the property. Laurel offered the land owners five figures for the small piece of right-of-way, but they wanted more. But after the LL-C published its “Whopper of a delay” headline, land owners had a change of heart. We cannot say with 100 percent certainty that our headline did the trick, but Mayor Magee believed it did and thanked the LL-C.
Of course, we do not work in concert with public officials and the goal of such headlines is not to do the work of any public entity. This newspaper has prided itself on delivering catchy, engaging headlines. Some rankle our readers, some draw laughter and others earn praise from national media outlets.
Several years ago, a convicted drug dealer named Arthur Miller got arrested by Laurel police narcotics officers. Laurel’s Arthur Miller had nothing to do with the playwright Arthur Miller, but the playwright’s most famous work is “Death of a Salesman.” And here was an Arthur Miller arrested for selling cocaine. Editors’ eyes lit up in the small North Magnolia Street newsroom. The next issue featured the headline “Arrest of a Salesman… Arthur Miller popped for selling cocaine.” The headline somehow caught the eye of Sports Illustrated NFL columnist Peter King and he bestowed upon us his “Headline of the Week.”
Sometimes it is nice to be recognized for being clever. And that is why we thank Mayor Magee for his compliment.
Many people ask us how we come up with our headlines. Some of it is teamwork, some just pop and others start with a thought and morph into a headline. Some work, some are clunkers and a few have cost us subscriptions. But those headlines are a calling card for what makes the LL-C the most unique and one of the most professionally respected papers in the state.
More importantly, though, with the Whopper headline, work can finally get moving on the Beacon Street, err Leontyne Price Boulevard project. It has been a long time coming and we cannot wait to see the results. Our only wish is that this might have happened many years ago when Mayor Melvin Mack was in office and it was McDonald’s instead of Burger King.
“Big Mac lauds Leader-Call headline”
Eh, well, we can’t have everything.