Passing of Joseph Cunningham '86
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Posted by: Michael Graziano
The following news about the passing of Joseph Cunningham '86 appeared on the New York Post online edition.
Joseph Brendan Cunningham, a veteran Post copy editor whose sharp,
caustic wit produced some of the paper’s most memorable front-page
headlines in recent years, died Thursday of complications following a
stroke. He was 43.
A New York native, Cunningham grew up in Little Neck, Queens and graduated from St. Francis Prep and Queens College.
journalism wasn’t much on his mind in those days -- he dreamed of
becoming a rock star, and spent much of the ’90s as the lead singer of
Sub Rosa, performing at such venues as CBGB.
He joined The Post
in 1997 as a city desk assistant. Before long, he began contributing
articles to the paper, then was given a tryout as a copy editor.
Over the years, many of his suggestions for the "wood” -- the paper’s
celebrated lead headline -- found their way onto Page One.
them: "Let’s Mecca Deal,” about financial questions surrounding the
Ground Zero mosque; "Freakin’ Flyer,” about the JetBlue attendant who
went berserk at JFK; and "Screw U.,” about a professor caught pimping
out girls on the Web.
His most famous headline ran on Jan. 24,
2003: "Axis of Weasel” -- a play on then-President George W. Bush’s
denunciation of the "axis of evil” -- and described the reluctance of US
allies Germany and France to support the planned invasion of Iraq.
As Chris Shaw, then the paper’s managing editor, recalled to NPR several
years later, Editor-in-Chief Col Allan was looking for headline
suggestions when "Joe, a copy kid who shouldn’t be saying anything to
anyone, just chimes up in the background of the newsroom: ‘Axis of
"The boss points at him: ‘He nailed it’ -- and he got himself a job.”
Gross, the paper’s chief copy editor, recalled Cunningham’s "explosive
wit,” saying, "He just blew me away with how he could come up with five
or six great headlines each day.
"He was like a shooting star,” said Gross. "He was a wonderful, incredible colleague.”
Cunningham is survived by his wife, Johanna Huden, a former Post features writer, and t
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/post_front_page_wiz_dies_at_HcFPJZzYMkNHIXUrj0QACI#ixzz1XCLByWdE