Content About Cats Was Popular Long Before the Internet

A confirmation connected to the passing of National Conference of Editorial Writers co-founder Phillip H. Joyce.

It’s funny sometimes where the formulation of a FishbowlNY item can lead.

In this case, it starts with Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Walter F. Naedele’s excellent obituary for Philip H. Joyce (pictured), a retired colleague who edited the paper’s opinion pages from 1971 to 1996. Joyce passed away this week at age 87 from injuries incurred after a fall at home.

Naedele’s tribute also notes that Joyce was a founding member and one-time president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW). The organization was rechristened in 2012 as the Association of Opinion Journalists (AOJ).

Like many groups, the AOJ holds an annual conference. Check out this paragraph from a New York Times report about the 1981 NCEW meeting, framed by the wonderful bygone headline “Opinion Molders Cross Pens at Parley:”

Editorials on local issues provoke fewer letters to the editors than editorials on national affairs, the writers said. But one can always get letters, said Hap Kaywood of The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, by writing about cats. He added that he got his greatest response from an editorial about one-eyed drivers.

Wow. The revelation that half-cornea content surpassed op-eds about cats makes us wonder if today, BuzzFeed could rack up similar huge numbers with a 2016 video related to that topic.

In the meantime, RIP Mr. Joyce, who is warmly recalled in the obituary by several journalists who worked with him over the years. A viewing will be held Monday afternoon and funeral mass Tuesday morning in Joyce’s native Albany, N.Y.

Image via: McVeigh Funeral Home

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.