Huppke: Newspapers need a new mascot, too

Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Cubs gave columnist Rex Huppke an idea for saving his own industry. As he points out, despite many attempts to reposition the news biz, "nobody has tried a mascot." His idea: "Nathan the Newspaper Narwhal." Why a narwhal, Rex?

Narwhals are majestic creatures known, thanks to their long, helical tusks, as the unicorns of the sea. They represent the noble status newspapers hold in our society and, like journalists, consume pretty much whatever happens to float into their mouths.

Nathan, unlike Clark the Cub, has the good sense to wear a full set of clothes. And while loving to all children, he's never afraid to use his tusk to violently skewer any Drudge Reports, Huffington Posts or Anderson Coopers who might undermine the newspaper industry's media dominance.

I tried a "soft launch" of Nathan in the newsroom recently and experienced only a few glitches. The inadvertent shish kebabing of half the editorial board led me to replace Nathan's titanium tusk with a foam version. And there were some mobility problems caused by his lack of legs. That's still being ironed out.

Here's an illustration of Nathan, by Alexander Helbach:

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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