Breaking down this year's headlines, Twitter-style

Thursday, December 4, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:35 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Say it in 140 spaces or less.  Just try, I dare you.

I am taking a professional development course in editorial writing, hoping to improve my work in print and online.  I have already done some experimentation with style, reporting and research.  And from your responses to my articles, you pretty much approve.

The language of the press is, in itself, interesting.  But mix in the new language of the Internet and one can find himself in the “dead zone of definitions.”  We all should know what a Web site is and many of you either have or have visited a blog.  But have you Twittered? defines its site as “a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”  However, you are limited to 140 spaces including punctuation.  

The goal of today's experiment is to write complete commentaries in 140 spaces or less.  I am used to writing stories limited to 700 words, so this is a challenge. 


Goodbye Wendy Libby. You did something more important than resurrect a school. You gave Stephens College back its pride.  You’ll be missed.

Breathe. Breathe deep and hope you’re not sitting behind a car belching blue smoke. Missouri needs to pass a statewide emissions law. Now!

Cyber bullying is a crime. More so when an adult, who knows better, bullies someone to death. Here’s another law for legislators to pass.

It’s finally over! The counting is done. McCain wins! At least in Missouri. Now, will the Red and Blue armies cooperate in Jeff City? Nah.

What’s that painted in the middle of the street? A bicycle with a pointy helmet? Safest place in Columbia is now the middle of the traffic.

Thank you Columbia Orthopaedic Group. Congratulations Central Missouri Food Bank. CMFB now owns its roof and can still feed those in need.


Don't be fooled!  $1.49 won’t last. We will see $4 gas again. Soon.  Going back to old habits will do nothing but accelerate the problem.

Citicorp is laying off 52,000 employees to save itself. Lost jobs. Less spending. Fewer Citibank VISAs used. Repeat. It’s a vicious cycle.

(This is not as easy as it looks. It is like writing a Japanese haiku and having it make sense. Just a few more, I promise.)

Now Citicorp is asking for more bailout money. Is it also too big to fail? In this case, yes, but it must also change its ways.

It is not the leader but the advisers selected. With Clinton, Daschle, Holder and Napolitano, President-elect Obama is choosing wisely.

Why is GM different than AIG? Organized labor. Don’t force one into bankruptcy and not the other. Don’t make this war white v. blue collar.


Pirates? Arg! Living and breeding in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, hijacking supertankers. Where are the Marines when you need them?

The attacks on Mumbai prove one thing — No matter how sophisticated your technology, the low-tech guy has the advantage.

The U.S. has repeatedly violated Pakistan’s borders firing rockets from unmanned drones killing mostly civilians. Where’s our honor?

Secretary of State Clinton. Hillary or Bill? As a private citizen, Obama can’t stop the Bill from joining international debates. Or can he?

During this holiday time, make your thoughts and prayers to bring all our troops home. Peace may not come this year, but we can try.

OK, I am done for now. This was fun. I would like to know what you think.  Twitter me with your opinion — in 140 spaces or less. Thanks.

David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at Find him on Twitter at

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


D. Kent Pingel December 5, 2008 | 12:11 p.m.


You wrote a nice piece
Headline writers can twitter
Most fun since haiku

Keep up the good work.

(Report Comment)
Megan Clark December 5, 2008 | 2:30 p.m.

Nicely done. I have to point out, however, that with 138 characters apiece, you could afford to include the commas you omitted from two of those:

"Goodbye, Wendy Libby..."

"Thank you, Columbia Orthopaedic Group. Congratulations, Central Missouri Food Bank..."

(Report Comment)
David Rosman December 6, 2008 | 8:44 p.m.

Thank you Kent and

Megan - Blame my editor(s). They left the commas out. But then again, commas, as an appropriate tool, seem to be, depending on your attitude, over used. Really!

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.