WOW Word-Of-the-Week #479: Spectacular

October 10, 2013 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #479: Spectacular 

Spectacular dramatically daring or thrilling.

What was the last spectacular thing you experienced?  Would it occur to you that you could have a spectacular failure?

This week’s WOW is from the obituary of Al Neuharth who founded the USA Today. He actually died April 19th at the age of 89. Mike Schneider from the Associated Press wrote, “Critics dubbed USA Today ‘McPaper’ when it debuted in 1982 and accused Neuharth of dumbing down American journalism with its easy-to-read articles and bright graphics. Neuharth had the last laugh when USA Today became the nation’s most-circulated newspaper in the late 1990’s.

 He changed the look of newspapers. “Our target was college-age people who were non-readers. We thought they were getting enough serious stuff in classes.” Neuharth said. “We hooked them primarily because it was a colorful newspaper that played up the things they were interested in – sports, entertainment and TV.”

 Neuharth grew up poor but ambitious in Alpena, SD. His father died when he was 2. He had journalism in his blood and at age 11 took his first job as a newspaper carrier. Then later as a teenager he worked in the composing room of the weekly Alpena Journal. His ambition already was noticeable.

a spectaular

 “I wanted to get rich and famous, no matter where it was,” Neuharth said in a 1999 AP interview. “I got lucky. Luck is very much a part of it. You have to be at the right place at the right time, and pick the right place at the right time.”

 After earning a bronze star in WWII and graduating with a journalism degree from the University of South Dakota, he worked for the AP for two years. He then launched a South Dakota sports weekly tabloid, So-Dak Sports, in 1952. It was a spectacular failure, losing $50,000, but it was perhaps the best education Neuharth ever received.

 “Everyone should fail in a big way at least once before they’re forty,” he said in his autobiography. “The bigger you fail, the bigger you’re likely to succeed later.”

 This week’s focus is on spectacular. Do you like things that are dramatically thrilling or daring? Could you have a spectacular failure and recover?