Here, I’m a Walter Winchell Wanna-be

You, The Columnist

By Dave Lieber
Imagine if this column about columnists was a 1940s-style rat-tat-tat column. Let’s be Walter Winchell for a day.
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  Good evening, Mr. and Ms. NSNC members; put down your phones and pay attention.
  Banner Day for our own beloved W. Bruce Cameron. We now know the W stands for WINNER.
  NSNC online queen Bonnie Jean Feldkamp tweets out the news at @NSNCgroup:
  “Congrats to NSNC member @wbrucecameron for reaching #1 on the @nytimes bestseller list with his book @adogspurpose.”
  First, let’s be proud as a peacock for W.B.’s big achievement – and that so many @ signs are involved.
  Cousin Brucie is a longtime NSNC stalwart who started small. His 1995 online column, one of the first, grew from four subscribers to 40,000 in 52 countries. He moved to the print side, and one column he wrote, “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” became a book and then a TV show.
  Now come more books and movies. The man’s story is now legendary, and we’re proud to call him one of our own. Now he’s on top of the heap, and deservedly so.
  Bruce spoke at our Los Angeles conference in 2016.
  If you haven’t seen the movie trailer for the coming flick based on his brainchild book, A Dog’s Purpose, look it up. Two-and-a-half minutes that are Kleenex worthy.
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  No fooling. How’s your 2017 conference savings fund going? It’s countdown to #NSNC17 June 8-11 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Mike Morin, head rooster in the Live Free and Write state, has connections throughout the state that can only be described as Bykofsky-like.
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  Speaking of our favorite Stu (Bykofsky of the Philadelphia Daily News), he’s still writing, but not doing much kicking. His annual holiday letter reports that he had a minor accident and is immobile. But he’s in love so all is good. Nice going, pal.
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  Dear Abby, Help! We run a scholarship fund for college columnists that’s funded by the saddest conference auction you’ve ever seen. (Anyone want to buy a worn copy of a 60-year-old Ernie Pyle book? Apparently, not.) How can we raise more money? Signed NSNC Education Foundation.
  Dear Foundation, How about if our family foundation helps fund this worthwhile cause? Signed Abby.
  Dear Abby, You’d do that for us?
  Dear Foundation, Consider it done!
  Yippee! NSNC President Lisa Molinari and Officer of Administration Luenna Kim have worked to make this dream come true. The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota is joining us to sponsor our annual college columnist contest. No fooling.
  Thanks to Jeanne (Dear Abby) Phillips and Walter Harris on behalf of their foundation, our funding appears to be secured for this lovely contest of ours, soon to be in its 19th year. But like our college student winners, still not old enough to drink.
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   Take a gander at the latest instructions from my boss? Keep your columnist videos down to 45 seconds, he says. OK, chief. Soon it’ll just be hello and goodbye.
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  Techno tip: Did you notice that the Twitter Machine no longer counts attached photos towards their stingy 140-character count?
  Selfie away.
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  Have you checked out ace writer Dave Astor’s continuing series on our columnists.com as he reminisces about all our Ernie Pyle Award winners in our Columnist Hall of Fame? The latest is Clarence Page. What a gas.
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  Take the moolah and run! Eric Heyl, former NSNC President and award-winning columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, takes a buyout only days before his newspaper shuts down its print edition.
  His social media profiles now describe him as “Writer/editor/communications strategist.”
Holy mackerel! A strategist should make double what a columnist makes. Megabucks, doncha think?
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  My new year’s resolutions.
  1. Don’t get sued.
  2. Don’t get laid off.
  3. Don’t get any correction boxes.
That ought to do it. Ready to blast off in 2017! See you back here in two months.
Dave Lieber, 2016Dave Lieber is The Watchdog investigative columnist for The Dallas Morning News. DaveLieber.org@DaveLieber.
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