Hoosier Wins Ugly Tie for Silly Story

Jeff Kramer Mystic Tie Award 2014

Amanda Beam agrees to display her trophy for the next year. Photo by Ginger Truitt

Amanda Beam is stuck with the trophy for a year.
Photo by Ginger Truitt

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amanda Beam, columnist at the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Indiana, is the winner of the 2014 Jeff Kramer Mystic Tie Award for her creation of the top of a story from a farcical premise.

The set-up, by 2013 winner Samantha Bennett, Pittsburgh-based columnist, was as follows:

“The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday [June 25] that police cannot search the digital contents of the cell phones of those they’ve arrested without first getting a warrant. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his opinion that cell phones “hold for many Americans the privacies of life.” The high court had weighed the appeals of two people convicted, based on evidence found on their phones, of crimes for which they were not initially arrested.

“Write the first paragraphs of a story/column featuring the reaction to the ruling of a prominent person of your choice, who is relieved that arresting officers will not immediately be permitted to examine cell phones for incriminating information.”

The award is a lighthearted tradition of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. The set-up is announced Friday with a 24-hour deadline. Jeff Kramer now is a columnist with the Syracuse (New York) New Times. He’s not currently in NSNC — Jeff’s bio may explain why. Mystic refers to the 1989 NSNC conference held in the Connecticut city. The tie is spectacularly ugly. And soiled.

Here is Beam’s winning story top:

Hugh Hefner heaved a sigh of relief.

It was Thursday, June 26, and the Supreme Court decision prohibiting warrantless cell phone searches by law enforcement officers blurred across the old black-and-white TV. Hefner turned from the kitchen sink and wiped his floured palms on a rose-filled apron.

“Damn time they made this decision. Privacy must be protected,” Hefner said. “It’s none of their GD business what’s on my radio phone. What happens at the Playboy Mansion stays at the Playboy Mansion. Guests get loose. Photos get taken. That’s life.”

Remnants of a recent party could be seen strewn across the floor. Two broken canes. A burning whiff of Vaporub. Shredded tickets to early bird dinner specials. Gloria Steinem still lay passed out on a hand-woven afghan, five of Hefner’s cats cuddled at her feet.

“Individual rights, like freedom of the press and free speech, must not go by the wayside,” Hefner said. “Plus, on a personal note, a guy’s got an image to protect, don’t you know.”

(1st lede … writethru to folo?)


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