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The Story Pitch We Caught And Released: The 'Assfish'

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The Story Pitch We Caught And Released: The 'Assfish'

Animals

The Story Pitch We Caught And Released: The 'Assfish'

The Story Pitch We Caught And Released: The 'Assfish'

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/471161674/471161675" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Each week, some story ideas make it on air while others die at the pitch meeting. Editor Ed McNulty gets a second chance to sell Rachel Martin on a story about a bony-eared fish with a funny name.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

OK. At this point in the show, I'm going to pull the curtain back a little bit on how we do what we do. Every Wednesday morning, we have an editorial meeting - when our producers and editors throw out their story ideas. The ideas we like, we pursue and then we turn them into interviews. And the ideas we don't like...

(SOUNDBITE OF DRAMATIC FADEOUT)

MARTIN: Well, those just die. The thing is, though, sometimes the person who has pitched said idea is really into it. So we thought we'd carve out a little space in the show to get that producer or editor a second chance to talk about the pitch that failed. First up, editor Ed McNulty. He's here in the studio with me. Hi, Ed.

ED MCNULTY, BYLINE: Hi.

MARTIN: What's your pitch?

MCNULTY: It's about the assfish...

MARTIN: The assfish?

MCNULTY: ...which I want to say real early is ass as in donkey.

MARTIN: That makes it way better. All right.

MCNULTY: I saw it in National Geographic. It's a story that has gone - because it's a Canadian story - politely viral. In the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, they've just put on display an assfish.

MARTIN: What does it look like?

MCNULTY: It's a deep-sea creature, kind of like a fish and kind of like an eel together - looks like a tadpole. It is soft and flabby.

MARTIN: Uh-huh.

MCNULTY: And this particular assfish is called the bony-eared assfish.

MARTIN: Why did this story jump out at you and make you think this - this is for WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY?

MCNULTY: Well, it's an interesting deep-sea creature.

MARTIN: (Laughter),

MCNULTY: The name actually comes from confusion about the scientific name Acanthonus armatus.

MARTIN: Uh-huh.

MCNULTY: And acanthos is Greek for prickly, so that's where the bony-eared part comes from. But the onus part of that word can either mean hake, which is, like, a relative of cod or donkey in Greek.

MARTIN: So were you interested in the linguistic origins of this fish and its name, or did you just want the excuse to say assfish on the radio?

MCNULTY: I think the story has everything.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

MCNULTY: I think the story has ichthyology. We could talk about Carl Linnaeus and scientific nomenclature.

MARTIN: We could.

MCNULTY: Canada.

MARTIN: Uh-huh.

MCNULTY: So, I mean, what does it lack?

MARTIN: Well, Ed, thank you so much for sharing your enthusiastic pitch. I think we're all better for it. At least you got to say assfish on the radio.

MCNULTY: No, you did.

MARTIN: Ah, boom. Ed McNulty, editor, assfish lover. Thanks, Ed.

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