Thursday, October 29, 1998

Lois Lingeman
Lois Lingeman

Star-Bulletin editor
honored for 25 years
of luring readers

By Mary Adamski


Headlines that capture the essence of a story and lure readers, sometimes with a wry or whimsical twist of humor, are the speciality of a Honolulu Star-Bulletin employee whose name is seldom seen in the paper.

In perhaps an even greater contribution, Lois Lingeman catches gaffes and gaps in stories before they make print in her job as a copy editor.

"She's one of the finest copy editors we've had in the time I've been here," said managing editor Dave Shapiro. "She sweats the small stuff, which is a lost art in some ways. Her work is key to our ability to put out a quality publication."

Lingeman, 67, will be inducted tonight into the daily newspapers' 25 Year Club. Employees of the Star-Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser and Hawaii Newspaper Agency with a quarter-century of service will be presented gold watches at the annual banquet at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

"We're always fighting deadlines, sometimes I hate the pressures but I can't imagine life without that," said Lingeman. "It's a real high, even though it's not always a pleasant one."

Lingeman came to the Star-Bulletin in 1974 after 13 years as a reporter and copy editor with the Advertiser. It was a time when the copy desk crew used grease pencils to scrawl changes on reporters' typed copy and wrote headlines out by hand. She spent hours in the "backshop" with printers who set those stories and headlines into type, letter by lead letter.

"It was really light years of difference from the computerized process of today. It is, of course, very fast but it has made copy editing more difficult, very detailed. It has taken some of the fun out of it, it's more of a factory."

Most colleagues call her "Pooh Bear," a nickname bestowed in her first months on the job when she was trained by then-news editor Jack Crandall, a gruff fellow known to his staff as "Bear."

Occasionally Lingeman reverts to her beginnings as a reporter. Crandall's death earlier this year was one such occasion: Lingeman wrote the obituary for the man whom she continued to befriend in his recent years of illness.

When 1960s drug advocate Timothy Leary -- of "turn on, tune in, drop out" fame -- died in 1996, Lingeman's headline read "LSD guru Leary turns off at 75." It won a Kilohana award, one of several awards Lingeman has won.

Last year, she received honors in the headline category of the local Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.

A native of Indiana, she graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington and worked on newspapers in Kokomo, Indianapolis and Lafayette, Ind., before coming to Hawaii.

"I have always had an idealistic look at what we do. The press gets a bad rap and in some cases it is deserved. But I think we all try to be truth seekers," said Lingeman.

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