Cetaceans Strike Back – Terror From the Deep

The Fording Report
Instigative journalism from Harold Fording – Presented by Dissociated Press

I have for you today a story so unexpected, so shocking, so absolutely Pulitzer-worthy, that I barely have to time to write it because of all the hours I am putting in on my award acceptance speech.

It’s not just a scoop, it’s an industrial earth-mover of a story, complete with hard-hats, cat-calls, and other hyphenated accessories.

The entire world has been aghast at certain, fairly recent developments in California’s Sacramento River, namely the unexpected presence of two Humpback whales in it. Scientists, whale watchers, and environmentalists alike have all been at a loss to explain this directional mishap, but in one of my regular displays of journalistic superiority I have uncovered the full story.

For hundred if not thousands of years, whales have been faced with countless human-devised threats to their well-being, including but not limited to: rising ocean temperatures, the whaling industry, and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. For countless years whales have faced these threats with resignation and pacifism, but recently things have changed under the sea.

Whales are fighting back.


For so long have humans have enjoyed their “mastery” of the seas that no one recognized the threat at first.

A mechanical difficulty here, a grounded ship there, even a even the “unexplained” fire on the whaling ship Nisshin Maru where not recognized for what they were: a whale counterstrike.

And with the discovery of cetacean operatives moving upriver towards California’s vulnerable interior, there can be no doubt that we are witnessing the beginning of a new phase of inter-species combat.

Fortunately, I was able to reveal their destructive purposes before they had a chance to reek any havoc on the Sunshine State.

Now, with their mission compromised by hard hitting journalism, the wary whales have disappeared as unexpectedly as they arrived, eluding marine biologists, port authorities, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose presence, although not actually near the incident, was enough to send the aquatic terrorists swimming for their autograph books.


Although things seem quiet for now, I don’t think we have heard the last from these dangerous denizens of the deep.

As always, this is Herman Fording with the second-half of the rest of the extended version of the whole story.

Click here for Herman Fording’s next award-leeching feature:
Rouge Agent Flips Canada The Bucket

Or see Fording’s previous effort at newsworthiness click here:
Simply Stunning Examples of Sensational Headlines


How to Write Sensational Headlines

Dissociated Press presents:
The Fording Report
A Special Report by Herman Fording

In my long and illustrious career I have fabricated countless headlines; all of them brilliant, many of them true. Except for one in 1992 about the Trans-Icelandic Iguana Guano gurney race, but I try not to think about that one

Yes, the headline is the single most important part of any story, assuming of course, you wish it to be read. A bad story is not good, but a bad headline is evil.

Take for instance this story, freshly ripped from the annals of internet journalism:

By Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press Writer.

Chimpanzees may have been using stone “hammers” as long as 4,300 years ago. An international research team, led by archaeologist Julio Mercader of the University of Calgary, Canada, said Monday it had uncovered the hammers, dated to that time, in the West African country Ivory Coast. It would be the earliest known use of tools by chimpanzees.

The hammers were used to crack nuts, a behavior still seen in chimps in that area, the researchers said in a paper in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The finding may indicate that a “chimpanzee stone age” began in ancient times, the researchers say.

I chose this particular story for its extreme badness.

I mean, sure it’s factual and accurate, containing real scientific discoveries and everything, but there is no mention anywhere of politics, Britney Spears, or Hurricane Katrina. How can you call that news? Even members of the Society of Boredom Thriving Anthropologists would be snoring away after the third sentence, in danger of possible electrocution from drooling into their keyboards. This story should come with a disclaimer stating: “Extreme Bore-o-hazard. Do not read this story while operating heavy machinery, washing machinery, or even on the toilet. You will lose consciousness, and possibly die.”

Of course the easiest thing to do would be to rewrite the story itself, giving it some snap and a little flair. -Like this:

Saskatoon – Today Britney Spears testified before congress in a non-binding video deposition from her rehab facility in the Scottish Highlands. Pointing to security breaches in historical events found in the wake of Katrina, she briefed legislators on her latest developments in the field of primate anthropology. It was a short session.

However, since most journalistic organizations are more interested in “accuracy” than flair, we will have to limit ourselves to merely re-crafting the headline.

First we take the original headline, still dripping from its long emersion in monotony:

“Did Ancient Chimps Use Hammmmmmm………”

Sorry, I drifted off there for a minute.

Then we throw it away and create a bold new headline, composed entirely of real words taken from the actual story:

“Archeologists Crack as Ancient Chimps Hammer Ivory Coast”

See how easy that was? Quality journalism doesn’t have to be difficult.

So there you have it, even though the story itself is still in danger of violating the Geneva Convention due to inhumane levels of boredom, we might still snare some unsuspecting readers, thanks to our newly improved headline.

That’s all I have for now. Come back next time and I’ll show you how to transform complete strangers into “highly respected sources” and then bend those sources to your newsbreaking will.

Click here for Herman Fording’s next groundbreaking feature:
Simply Stunning Examples of Sensational Headlines

Or see Fording’s previous journalistic effort click here:
Medical Mayhem


Fording Report: Medical Mayham

Dissociated Press presents:
The Fording Report
Weekend Edition

Friday, February 23.

Tonight I bring you a sad tale, a story filled with desperation and shame. A story so bad, that if it weren’t for the enormous boost in rating expected, I wouldn’t even cover it. It involves corruption and betrayal in one of the most trusted fields of human society: surgical medicine.

Witnesses say that Vukanic was distinctly heard to call “shotgun,” thus asserting his place on the patient’s right side…

The story centers around one of the oldest questions of medical procedure: when you have two surgeons and one patient, who get the coveted right hand operating position and who is relegated to the left? This question was at the heart of a recent tragic medical conflict in Belgrade involving two surgeons, Dr Spasoje Radulovic and Dr. Dragan Vukanic.

The surgeons had nearly completed a long and taxing upondectomy when they paused to take a “coffee break” which eventually grew to involve four and half pots of coffee, two bottle of vodka, and dozens of medical stories about the “patient that got away.”

Problems started when the doctors returned to the surgical theater. Witnesses say that Vukanic was distinctly heard to call “shotgun,” thus asserting his place on the patient’s right side. Radulovic, who had been operating from the right up to that point, denied his demand, claiming several hours of surgical precedence. Things quickly escalated until both doctors left the operating room, and the unconscious patient, to settle their differences outside.

Shocking? Yes.

Unprecedented? No.

Sadly, this sort of rivalry seems prevalent in hospitals around the world, with tragic consequences for the patients involved.

Following a similar bout of surgical pugilism, a Brazilian women was left carrying a scalpel in her innards for over twenty years.

Even in lesser developed areas, lacking the refinements of modern medicine, surgical shotgunning often leaves patients embedded with crude medical implements and doctors nursing swollen knuckles and bloody noses.

As for Radulovic and Vukanic, they entered a hospital sponsored mediation therapy program, where they will receive counseling and be trained in more mature forms of conflict resolution. I am speaking or course, of the time honored method used in the decision process of countless modern professionals: paper/ rock /scissors.

For the Fording Report this has been Herman Fording. Goodnight.

Click here for Herman Fording’s next groundbreaking feature:
How To Write Sensational Headlines