• U.S.

The Press: Long Live the Prince

2 minute read

Most U.S. daily newspapers would have a hard time going to press on time without the use of “filler.” Filler, i.e., stories and short items without a time element, is kept on hand, already set in type, in the composing room. Thus, the stories can be quickly tossed into the paper at the last minute to fill holes in back pages. While handy, filler can also make a paper look silly—if it is not careful. Last week even the meticulous New York Times fell afoul of its filler.

In a three-quarter-column feature story by North American Newspaper Alliance, the Times reported that the “happiest head of a royal house anywhere is Crown Prince Rupprecht, 86-year-old pretender to the nonexistent Bavarian throne . . .

Almost everybody in Bavaria loves Rupprecht … He is a symbol of fun and frivolity—a living link with Bavaria’s ‘good old days.’ “

The only thing wrong with the story was that the “living link” died a month ago. The Times had not only printed a full account at the top of its obit page, but had followed it next day with a story telling how his body would lie in state (“Thousands of Bavarians will file by the bier to pay their last respects”), and three days later with a third story on the prince’s last rites.

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