Writer for Jay Leno Goes Print

The Omaha World-Herald has a new humor-columnist. Actually, he was already writing for the World-Herald as a sports columnist on a free-lance basis. Brad Dickson grew up in Omaha and was even a paperboy for the newspaper at one time in his life. But that was a long time ago, before he made it big as a screenwriter writing monologues for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Fifteen years of success was all he could take before the ink in his blood called him back to newspaper writing. He took a chance going freelance, but it paid off when he got the full time gig, commenting not only on Christina Aguilera’s rendition of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, but also on (hold your breath here) real news — local and national — not to mention events in popular culture.

Dickson admits, “The World Herald was not a place you looked for comedy.” But now that Dickson is writing his daily humor column, that should all change. Dickson likes writing about news because it is constantly different. Sports columnists have long had more creative leeway and colorful description in their writing than political and other “serious” columnists, and so his jump to news is not actually such a major leap.

The Executive Editor of the newspaper is “tickled” to have him aboard, especially since he will also continue writing his weekly sports column and appear online as well as in print. His humor column is a barrage of one-liners in a set-up and punch monologue style, a style familiar to those who watch comedians and what we columnists would probably call an “items-style” humor column.

While the newspaper will still be a source for serious news, it hopes that Dickson’s wisecracks can help it to become a source of entertainment as well. In these days of decline in the news industry, we are happy to see that at least one newspaper recognizes that columnists still have a value in getting and keeping readers.

Check out the column “Breaking Brad” at Omaha.com.

Update: The American Journalism Review published an article about Dickson, “Heeeere’s the Newspaper” on Feb. 24, 2011.

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