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Names matter a lot in journalism.

For journalists, our bylines are our brands. And when it comes to the stories we write, messing up a source’s name is a cardinal sin.

Within the newsroom, we have an internal obsession with the Name of the Year bracket. (My personal fave was the eventual winner, Amanda Miranda Panda; Liam Dillon prefers Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa.)

Lately, I’ve come across some A+ names in our stories and beyond. Some are amazing on their own. Some are amazing because of the context of the story in which they’re appearing. Here are some of the better ones I’ve taken notice of recently.

Names That Are Awesome All the Time

A middle school student with the supremely badass name Oona Flood represented San Diego in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

We wrote about a San Diego manufacturing company run by the tag-team awesome name duo Rick Urban and Bob Grande.

For a story on Mission Valley’s horrendous traffic, we consulted a state worker named Kip Lipper.

Names That Are Awesome in Context

The Chargers’ new stadium policy guy is named Carmen Policy.

Lisa Halverstadt consulted a solar power expert named Michael Powers.

The New York Times quoted a New York state police trooper working on the case of two escaped prisoners named Maj. Charles E. Guess – Major Guess.

It would not take much arm-twisting to get us to start a local version of the name bracket. If you’d be into that, send us your nominations.

What VOSD Learned This Week

It was back in simpler times when the big debate over a Convention Center expansion was whether the plan to fund it was legal.

Now, we know it’s not, and a whole host of other issues has cropped up to take the place of that debate.

Last week, we revealed that a non-contiguous expansion – that means an expansion that’s not directly next to the original building, for those of us who don’t speak fluent Bureaucrat – was suddenly back on the table, after years of being a nonstarter. This week, Ashly McGlone peeked behind the scenes and found a lot of chaos over a study that might show a non-contiguous expansion is fine with convention-goers.

Those who still back a contiguous expansion, like former City Councilman Carl DeMaio, seem to believe we should keep giving money to the company that holds the lease to the land next to the Convention Center. But Caty Green examined DeMaio’s op-ed in light of how much money that company has already received for doing nothing on public land and found: “It’s unclear at best that cutting a large check now would have been advisable.”

What Else VOSD Learned

• San Diego State researchers might be able to provide a clearer view of whether police officers engage in racial profiling.

 At least one conspiracy theory has formed to explain why the city might leave Logan Heights out of its smart-growth push.

• El Cajon is the poorest city in the county – depending on which measure you choose.

 We have a new state budget.

 Todd Bosnich admitted one piece of his story about former congressional candidate Carl DeMaio was a lie – and that calls his other accusations into question too.

 There are lots of things that could go wrong with rooftop solar panels, but they’re not all as serious as you might think. When people do decide to go solar, many opt for the costliest route.

 We might be drinking recycled wastewater sooner than everyone thought.

What I’m Reading

Good Stories, Bad Feelings

• The L.A. Times had a great series this week on how San Bernardino broke down.

 The ugly aftermath of a Tea Party suicide. (New York Mag)

• Dana Goldstein does an excellent job trying to answer the question: “What is the right venue for trying a teenager accused of murder?” (The Marshall Project)

Good Stories, Good Feelings

 Last week, I brought you an oral history of “Clueless.” This week, my girl Lucy McCalmont has an oral history of “Love and Basketball,” aka, the greatest USC athletics promo ever filmed.

• For weeks, all of us at VOSD have been pushing a certain staffer who was invited to ride on an Astroglide float in this year’s Pride Parade to do it. Alas, another reporter beat us to the punch. (Slate)

• A linguistics professor analyzes the California/San Diego/surfer accent by listening to Blink 182. (Atlas Obscura)

Line of the Week

“I sometimes wonder whether writerly self-loathing is less a function of some sort of special insight or sensitivity to the human condition and more a painful acknowledgment that success in writing, as in so many other things, bears little relation to merit.” – Anna Holmes, on writers’ relationship with self-loathing.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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