Winners of a Haiku Journalism Contest and My Editing Philosophy in Three Lines

By Jack Limpert

From a Poynter haiku journalism contest:

Here’s how they explained the contest and judging: Various traditions of haiku allow the poet to order the 17 syllables in a variety of ways. Our standard was the most common: three lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. We gave points for interesting interactions of the lines: comparison, contrast, paradox,tension, resolution, epiphany.

The content had to be about journalism and the news media: its culture, mission, practice, frustrations.

The five winners:

By Gabriela Guedez

Seas of black coffee

Blank paper boats sink empty

Deadline is coming

By Smiley Anders

I miss typewriters

Only crashed when you dropped them

Holes in newsroom floor

By John Dillon

Ink-stained wretches learn

At fires on ice-cold nights that

Pencils never freeze

By Lillian Reed

Hands tapdance on keys

Clacks halt. You forgot to get

The name of the dog.

By Dan Gayle

Digital dimes cry

Web first binary teardrops

Pinkslips replace print

I entered one—an actual conversation with a writer—that got an honorable mention. (Counting style as two syllables probably should have disqualified it.)

You’re editing out

my style. Overwriting

is not a style.

Some of my other entries:

Many editors

have failed as writers. But so

have many writers.

(Adapted from a T.S. Eliot quote: “Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”

Half the staff writers

disliked the editor; the

other half hated him.

(Adapted from a Billy Paultz quote about Rick Barry: “Half of the players disliked Rick Barry. The other half hated him.”

And my editing philosophy in three lines:

You never have to

apologize for showing

readers a good time.

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