Bi-Coastal Publicity

After the New York Times did a nice write-up on me and True, I sent a copy to a Los Angeles Times reporter so he could see how the out-of-town paper scooped a great story right in his own back yard.

He immediately set off to out-do the foreign competition, writing a huge personality piece — the color portrait of my face on the front of the “Style” section was nearly as large as the entire NYT piece.

“The lanky Southern Californian has a keen eye for life’s bizarre twists,” John Glionna wrote. “Cassingham is a humorist for the Information Age, an Internet-savvy satirist and social commentator. The Jay Leno of Cyberspace.”

“Highlighted by Cassingham’s sly asides and caustic comments, the stories make up his syndicated This Is True column enjoyed each week by readers in 88 countries. It’s a regular not-necessarily-the-news stand-up routine that has tickled online insomniacs and workaholics from Australia to Austria. In less than two years, Cassingham’s obtuse observations have become among the most popular columns on the Internet.”

“In a publishing universe scrambling into the Modern-Age computer realm, Cassingham is using his Internet column to break into the dinosaur world of print. And it’s working.”

“Last year, Cassingham was an overworked Jet Propulsion Laboratory [employee] whose only creative outlet was regular posting of oddball news clippings on the bulletin board at work — replete with his own wise-acre asides. His audience ate it up: ‘You’d read it and gasp — Randy’s comments were always funnier than the articles themselves,’ says Dotti Johnson, a former JPL worker. ‘If I was in the office and heard guffaws, I knew he had put up a new batch of stories. Pretty soon, people started coming by from other departments.'”

Glionna even spoke to one of the newspaper publishers running True in their pages. “‘Everybody loves it,’ says Judith Kenyon at the 2,500-circulation Ft. Nelson News in British Columbia. ‘People say, “Where does this guy live and where did you find him?” It’s as though he’s been reading our paper and listening to the [local] radio. He takes the nose of the Information Age and tweaks it.'”

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The piece brought thousands of new subscribers, and instant (and very brief!) celebrity-hood at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where I still worked at the time.

2 Comments on “Bi-Coastal Publicity

  1. That’s pretty cool…I love the blast from the past. It truly is amazing how things have changed so quickly in just 10 years (or so); for True, as well as the Internet in general.

  2. One thing caught my attention. Is obtuse the correct word? Is he not trying to be complimentary?

    He was, and yes, I think he grabbed the wrong word while writing quickly. -rc


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