Here's a bright ray of sunshine piercing through the dark skies of the newspaper industry: Bingo Gossip. It's thriving! Could Missy Mouser, the 26-year-old founder of this free bimonthly tabloid chronicling the lighter side of the Texas bingo world hold the answers for what ails the publishing business? YES, if the predilections of elderly Texas bingo fans are any indication!:
As Eve Brice, 86, waited for the action to begin at Town East Bingo last week, she thumbed through the September issue. There she learned that the day's lucky color was blue, that fellow bingo enthusiast Rodger Hall grew up in Dunseith, N.D., (population 739) and that the newspaper's advice columnist, "Nosy," counsels readers to protect their lucky seats by arriving early rather than by confronting interlopers. "I don't go out to shows, I don't run around with men, but I'm here every night," Mrs. Brice said. "And I love her paper."
The secrets of Ms. Mouser's success: Don't shy away from hard-hitting topics ("recent issues, for example, have urged readers to educate themselves about which candidates will support the bingo industry"); keep it upbeat ( "'I like to do profiles, anything that's lighthearted. I don't do negative stuff,' Ms. Mouser said."); and, most critically, don't be afraid to push the envelope:
The biggest buzz generator, she said, is the joke section – which runs two full pages. "The jokes are the most popular thing I have in there," she said. "But I get a lot of complaints from people who think they're too risqué." Mrs. Brice thinks the jokes are great. "It's just how people are," she said. "It's racy, but it's fun." A few tables over, Jean Wheat, 80, of Mesquite, acknowledges that some of the humor is bluer than you would find in your average church bulletin, but she likes Bingo Gossip enough that she not only reads it from cover to cover but also passes it on.