Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Black and white and read all over

by Melanie Jongsma, Managing Editor

LANSING, Ill. (November 16, 2020) – One of the first jokes I remember hearing (from my dad) is the classic newspaper riddle:

Q: What is black and white and red all over?
A: A newspaper.

Of course, somewhat ironically, the joke doesn’t work as well in print as it does verbally, because the clever wordplay depends on the identical pronunciation of the words “red” and “read.” As a child, when I first heard the joke, I didn’t get it. “How is a newspaper red?” I asked. Once my dad explained that he had said “read,” not “red,” I was fascinated with how the set-up of the riddle had led me to one assumption, and the resolution made me see something different. (Yes, I’ve been a word nerd for a long time.)

I’ve been thinking of that riddle ever since Halloween. Josh Bootsma and I used it as the basis of our inexpensive costumes when we dressed up to hand out candy at Fox Pointe. I’m pretty sure none of our trick-or-treaters “got it,” but Beth Bozzo did, and she posted the correct answer on our Facebook page.

black and white

Black and white

And now I’m using that classic riddle to make a point about the printed newspaper we are planning to publish in approximately two weeks. The “black and white” has been paid for—we have over 20 advertisers who are paying to put their advertising message in this newspaper and have it delivered to 12,000 homes. Those advertising dollars will cover the cost of black ink on white pages, as well as the process of delivering those printed newspapers.


But what about the “read all over”? That’s the content—the articles you look forward to reading. The photographs that show what’s been happening in our community. The bylines of hardworking reporters who spend hours writing, editing, and re-writing.

We don’t have those costs covered yet. And, if you don’t mind the wordplay, we don’t want to go in the red in order to be read.


So we need some green.

We don’t know yet how many articles will be included in the 20-page print edition. It’s a limited amount of space, and we want to cram as much content as possible into it. We want to show off the work of our journalists, and we want to get important, community-building information into the hands of our readers.

black and white
This reader responded to last week’s editorial about “soft costs.” We are grateful for people who understand the value of community news and are willing to share the costs.

As I mentioned in an editorial last week, the costs of the actual news are “softer” than the hard costs of ink and paper. There’s no straightforward valuation of the time, thought, and skill associated with writing articles.

But if you need a hard number for these soft costs, I can tell you that we pay our freelance journalists $60 for each article they write (though they are worth much more). If we manage to fit 20 articles into the December print issue, that will cost $1,200. And that’s a bargain.

Obviously, I don’t expect each reader to pay $60 for each article she reads. But if everyone contributed something, we’d have more than enough. Imagine what we could do if every household in Lansing contributed the cost of just one or two articles!

So please, consider helping. Consider giving a little green, so the black and white (which is already paid for) can be read all over.

Monthly green helps sustain this community newspaper:

Occasional green helps with special projects like the December print issue:

Friends and fellow community members, thank you for whatever you can do. We appreciate your support!

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. What has 4 wheels and flys?

    A garbage truck.

    Sorry but I couldn’t resist. These 2 riddles were my favorites when i was a child in the 40’s.

  2. I am a long time resident of 57 yrs my parent’s moved to Lansing when I was 4yrs old. My father quickly fit right in as a member of our old fashion Village. He quickly became a Police officer of our town. He was well liked & loved by his fellow officers & residents. He was very active and involved. He unfortunately passed away at the young age of 35, I was 13 just 13 yrs old getting ready to graduate Memorial Jr high, very sad event going on stage to get my diploma instead tears of joy it was tears of sadness wishing he was there. I have many memories of all the good times, like when the Police Dept. had a softball team that use to play at Shultz Park many games. I remember your paper had a big pic & article of him from one of the games. His Name was Robert Vincent Angarola, his Nick name his fellow officers gave him for short was Angie. I had also wrote a poem about him being the daughter of a cop. I was in either 5th or 6th grade at Calvin Coolidge when I wrote it, little did I know my grandmother had sent it in & was published in your paper, from what I remember by the title or beginning of each paragraph was “How would you feel if your Dad was a Cop”. Kids were very cruel back in the 60’s & early 70’s saying to me your dad’s a Pig, I stood up to them, yet hurtful, I was very proud of him. It would be wonderful if somehow you could locate the poem & other articles published from way back. I use to have them, but lost them stored in the basement from a flood 😥 It would bring such happiness in my heart to get ahold of them & reminisce wonderful memories to share with my grandchildren for them to be proud of, being they never had the chance to meet him neither have my adult children.
    Thankyou sincerely, Lisa Angarola

    • Hi Lisa, thank you for sharing some of your memories of Lansing. The Lansing Public Library and the Lansing Historical Society worked together to collect and digitize the old Lansing Journals as far back as 1935. They have posted those archives on the library’s website here: https://www.lansingpl.org/lansing-journal If you have some idea what year your poem was published, you might be able to find it pretty easily, as the archive site is organized by year.

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