Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: 'Man punches horse' is news to me posted a brief story last week about a young woman who was found walking naked down a Manchester street one early morning. She was taken into police custody, the item said, noting that she smelled of alcohol.

“Why is this news? “ asked a reader on Facebook.

“Why is it not news?” rejoined another.

News, by definition, is what is of interest or importance. But different people are interested in different things, it turns out.

Some people are interested in crime stories. Some people think it is important to know if their alderman is voting on raises for his family members.

I may be interested in the story of a school bus-driver shortage in Northwood. You may want to know how Wilton is dealing with increasing crowds at a pretty waterfall and swimming hole in town.

My father, a newspaperman for most of his life, once told a colleague that the guy wouldn’t know a news story if it “bit him in the arse.”

The old saying was that if a man bites a dog, that’s news, as opposed to a dog biting a man. I’m not sure where bitten posteriors would rank.

We ran a story on our Back Page recently about a man allegedly trying to punch a police horse. It was newsy enough for the Reuters news service to move it.

It interested me because it reminded me of a “Blazing Saddles” movie character named Mongo, played brilliantly by the late NFL star Alex Karras.

The monosyllabic Mongo rides into town on a bull. When a man on horseback tells him, “You can’t park there,” Mongo strides over and decks the horse. Not news, perhaps, but certainly remarkable.

Mel Brooks made “Blazing Saddles.” Given the absurdity of today’s politically correct times, Brooks has said that he couldn’t make that movie today.

It would certainly be news if he tried. There would be protests and counter-protests and 24-7 cable news coverage.

Somehow this seems a fitting point to recall Mongo’s lament: “Mongo only pawn in game of life.”

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter @deucecrew.