History of American Journalism/Chapter 18
PERIOD OF FINANCIAL READJUSTMENT
Manton Marble, one of the ablest of the early editors of The New York World, claimed in a published lecture on journalism two things for the maker of newspapers:—
- That he is a merchant of news. He buys it everywhere—he sells it in any market not stocked with his commodity. Enterprise and industry get him, and other merchants, success and honor, and of like kind. Probity has the same reward in public confidence. Shrewd and far-sighted combinations bring to the merchant of news—or of flour, or of pork—profit and credit.
- That he has it in trust and stewardship to be the organ and mould of public opinion, to express and guide it, and to seek, through all conflicting private interests, solely the public general good. Herein his work is allied to the statesman's, the politician's, and takes rank as it takes tribute of letters, science and the law.
The financial readjustment under which the larger daily newspaper went during the last two decades of the nineteenth century brought many changes in journalism. There was a time when the subscriber paid his money primarily to see what Horace Greeley had to say in The New York Tribune or to read what Joseph Medill wrote for The Chicago Tribune: even after Greeley's death the upstate farmer renewed his subscription for The New York Tribune because he thought Horace still prepared its contents. But the impersonal and commercial journalism changed completely conditions and customs. Formerly, the editor was practically supreme in control: he was the employer of the publisher, of the advertising manager, of the circulation agent, etc. After he ceased to have the controlling interest, it passed into other hands represented at official councils by the business manager: only occasionally, the exception which proved
the rule, did the editor have sufficient wealth or its equivalent in credit at the bank to buy or to start a daily in any one of the larger cities. The dividing line between the A and the B of Manton Marble's claims grew very distinct: the former became the downstairs office devoted to the business; the latter, the up- stairs office devoted to the profession. Here and there, more fre- quently in the West than in the East, arose a man who was both a good business executive and an able editor.
The metropolitan daily represented too heavy a financial in- vestment to be organized on any save a sound business basis. The telegraph and the cable made news a most perishable com- modity because of the rapidity with which it could be placed be- fore the public. Shop-worn goods the merchant can sell at a special sale to bring at least the cost of production, but stale news the publisher cannot market at any price. The franchise in a press association became harder to get and at the same time carried with it a constantly increasing charge for better service. Presses jumped from hundreds to tens of thousands in cost of manufacture. Extra ones were purchased for emergency cases so that if one press broke down the plates of the paper could be shifted to another without danger of missing the mails. Typo- graphical unions kept pushing the wages of printers and press- men higher and higher up the scale. Competition reduced the selling price, but increased the cost of distribution. The return privilege by which newsdealers did not pay for unsold papers kept the "profit and loss" entry on the ledger first in red and then in black ink according to sales. Additions to the editorial staff increased the number of employees while " bids " from rivals raised the salaries of other members. More and more the revenue came from advertising and less and less from circulation. Such conditions demanded a business pilot at the wheel to steer the newspaper craft sailing over seas uncharted by editors of previ- ous periods.
VIEWS OF CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER
Charles Dudley Warner, long associated with The Courarit, of Hartford, Connecticut, thus explained clearly and succinctly journalism conditions obtaining at the beginning of the Period
of Financial Readjustment in a lecture on "The American News- paper" before the Social Science Association on September 6, 1881:
The recognition of the fact that the newspaper is a private and purely business enterprise will help to define the mutual relations of the editor and the public. His claim upon the public is exactly that of any man- ufacturer or dealer. It is that of the man who makes cloth, or the grocer who opens a shop : neither has a right to complain if the public does not buy of him. If the buyer does not like a cloth half shoddy, or coffee half chicory, he will go elsewhere. If the subscriber does not like one news- paper, he takes another, or none. The appeal for newspaper support on the ground that such a journal ought to be sustained by an enlightened community, or on any ground than that it is a good article that people want, or would want if they knew its value, is purely chilolish in this age of the world. If any person wants to start a perioolical devoted to decorated teapots, with the noble view of inducing the people to live up to his idea of a teapot, very good; but he has no right to complain if he fails.
On the other hand, the public has no rights in the newspaper except what it pays for; even the "old subscriber" has none, except to drop the paper if it ceases to please him. The notion that the subscriber has a right to interfere in the conduct of the paper, or the reader to direct its opinions, is based on a misconception of what the newspaper is. The claim of the public to have its communications printed in the paper is equally baseless. Whether they shall be printed or not rests in the dis- cretion of the editor, having reference to his own private interest, and to his apprehension of the public good. Nor is he bound to give any rea- son for his refusal. It is purely in his discretion whether he will admit a reply to any thing that has appeared in his columns. No one has a right to demand it. Courtesy and policy may grant it; but the right to it does not exist. If any one is injured, he may seek his remedy at law; and I should like to see the law of libel such and so administered that any per- son injured by a libel in the newspaper, as well as by slander out of it, could be sure of prompt redress. While the subscriber acquires no right to dictate to the newspaper, we can imagine an extreme case when he should have his money back which had been paid in advance, if the newspaper totally changed its character. If he had contracted with a dealer to supply him with hard coal during the winter, he might have a remedy if the dealer delivered only charcoal in the coldest weather; and so if he paid for a Roman-Catholic journal which suddenly became an organ of the spiritists.
The advertiser acquires no more rights in the newspaper than the subscriber. He is entitled to use the space for which he pays by the in- sertion of such material as is approved by the editor. He gains no hi-
terest in any other part of the paper, and has no more claim to any space in the editorial columns, than any other one of the public. To give him such space would be unbusinesslike, and the extension of a preference which would be unjust to the rest of the public. Nothing more quickly destroys the character of a journal, begets distrust of it, and so reduces its value, than the well-founded suspicion that its edi- torial columns are the property of advertisers. Even a religious journal will, after a while, be injured by this.
To be just to Mr. Warner, and to inform the reader that in this "commercialization of the press" the second claim of Manton Marble, of The New York World, was not completely overlooked, a comment from "The American Newspaper" should be given in this connection:
It is scarcely necessary to say, except to prevent a possible misap- prehension, that the editor who has no high ideals, no intention of bene- fiting his fellow-men by his newspaper, and uses it unscrupulously as a means of money-making only, sinks to the level of the physician and the lawyer who have no higher conception of their callings than that they offer opportunities for getting money by appeals to credulity, and by assisting in evasions of the law.
Before taking up the changes and historical developments of the period, it should be said that The Hartford Courant practiced what Mr. Warner preached in "The American Newspaper " at Saratoga Springs in September, 1881.
INCREASE OF ADVERTISING
The Period of Financial Readjustment was marked by a tremendous increase in the amount of advertising printed in the newspapers. During this period came the development of the ! great department stores in the large cities. Their increase in size '. may be traced almost invariably by the increase in the amount \ of space they used to advertise their wares in the newspapers. Stores which inserted advertisements of a half a column at beginning of the period were using a full page at the close of the century, when individual stores were paying as high as fifty thousand dollars a year to one newspaper in order to market their merchandise to readers. Railroads, instead of inserting a time-table occupying two squares of the old blanket sheet, be- came heavy purchasers of space to advertise the scenic beauty
of the various roads and to attract settlers to the new territory opened up along their lines. Manufacturers of patent medicines seemingly entered upon competition to see which one could use the most printer's ink in American newspapers. New adver- tisers appeared with announcements of breakfast foods, laundry soaps, baking powders, in fact everything used in modern American homes. Local gas companies urged women to "cook with gas"; electric light and power companies pointed out how easy it was to attach the sewing machine to the current from the incandescent light; telephone companies started campaigns to get housewives to "shop by wire"; book publishers, usually the most conservative advertisers, caught the advertising fever and by the close of the period were, in exceptional cases, using a whole page in certain newspapers to advertise a popular novel; etc. Classified advertising grew from a column or two of "Help Wanted" and "Houses to Let" to several pages. The worst feature of this tremendous increase in the amount of advertising was the fact that it was possible to insert at a higher cost almost any advertisement disguised as a bit of news. Sometimes these paid reading notices of advertisers were distinguished by star or dagger, but more frequently there was no sign to indicate to the reader that the account had been bought and paid for and was not a regular news item.
JOURNALISM THAT MAKES NEWS
Though the journalism that makes news really started when The New York Herald sent Henry Morton Stanley to find David Livingstone, the English missionary who was lost "somewhere in Africa," the newspapers were somewhat slow in sowing seed in a field so long fallow. The Herald on July 2, 1872, startled the world with its exclusive announcement that Stanley had found Livingstone at Ujiji and that the latter had discovered the source of the Nile. At the time this remarkable piece of news was looked upon as a piece of good fortune on the part of an American war correspondent who had been sent to witness the opening of the Suez Canal, to report the results of Baker's Expedition up the Nile, to learn the truth about the Russian Expedition bound for Khiva, and to write interesting letters from Bagdad, Persep
oils, etc. Stanley's achievement possibly caused a greater sensa- tion in England than in America. The London papers promptly acknowledged the achievement of The New York Herald. The London Post went so far as to say that the expedition surpassed everything which had hitherto been achieved by journalistic enterprises.
The example set by The Herald later led other American news- papers to undertake humanitarian enterprises which had not been formerly associated with the editing and making of a news- paper. Such enterprises became more distinctly local, but the sum total of good accomplished was greater than the more sen- sational finding of a man lost in the wilds of Africa. Among these humanitarian enterprises was the establishment of a Free-Ice Fund by The New York Herald. On May 29, 1892, the paper that had sent Stanley to find Livingstone laid before its readers a proposal to furnish free ice for the relief of mothers and babies in the tenement-house districts of New York. The fund, started with a donation of five hundred dollars by The Herald, met with the enthusiastic encouragement of charity organizations, wel- fare workers, physicians, and others, who longed to do something to relieve the distress which the extreme heat produced in tene- ment districts. On July 2 of that year The Herald distributed six- teen thousand pounds of ice from seven different stations with the result that over one hundred families were benefited. When the season closed on September 15, over forty thousand pounds of ice were being distributed daily from fifteen stations in the poorer sections of the city for the benefit of about twelve thou- sand, five hundred men, women, and children. During the ex- treme hot summer of 1914 a daily average of seven hundred thousand pounds were distributed among twenty-two thousand families. The ice was distributed upon presentation of tickets secured on the recommendation of social workers, physicians, ministers, and others who were familiar with the needs of the people living in the district of the station.
Somewhat similar to the Free-Ice Fund was the Fresh-Air Fund priginally associated with The New York Eve ning Post, but
taken over by The New York Tribune in 1881. This movement was a practical application of the text from which the Reverend Willard Parsons, a young clergyman, preached at Sherman, Pennsylvania, on June 3, 1877: "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me." In the course of his sermon he outlined the distress which pre- vailed in that section of New York where he once had a mission church and urged that his parishioners alleviate such suffering by taking into their homes for brief periods during the summer some of the children from the tenements. From the time that The Tribune became interested, it worked along two lines: first, it provided outings for children in private families in the country; second, it provided outings for children in so-called fresh-air homes and camps maintained by the Fund annually raised by the paper. Except in rare instances no organization except The Tribune has attempted to provide outings in the first of these two ways. Later, many organizations started sending children to institutional homes and camps for brief rests during the summer. The Tribune, in connection with this Fund, now maintains some ten homes and camps. It utilizes these primarily for special classes of children for whom it is either unwise or impossible to secure the hospitality of private families such as negro children, under-nourished children, tubercular children, etc. In 1881 The Tribune sent thirty-two hundred to the country for two weeks, and in 1900, the year in which the period closed, it sent seven thousand, four hundred and thirty-one. The maximum number was in 1892, when fifteen thousand, two hundred and sixty-seven were sent. The price of board in the country, the amount of annual subscriptions, etc., are factors which determine the num- ber which can be helped. The Tribune has aided in establishing a similar movement in other countries: in England it is known as "The Country Fortnight" and in France, as "Les (Euvres du Grand Air."
Special attention has been given the enterprises just mentioned because they were pioneer humanitarian enterprises of the press. Other papers, however, have attended to other things than put- ting ink on paper. The Press, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, started a subscription which raised forty thousand dollars to build a
home for the newsboys of that city. It raised a fund to erect a monument to the memory of Steven C. Foster, a native of Pitts- burgh, who wrote "The Old Folks at Home"; it started a young folks league, a baseball club, a brass band and drum corps, two clubs for girls, an athletic league, etc. The Times, of Troy, New York, following the example set by The New York Tribune, started its Fresh- Air Fund by which hundreds of children could get the benefits of a two weeks' vacation at the fresh-air home erected by The Times in the mountains of Rensselaer County. The Tribune, of Chicago, Illinois, initiated two reforms which developed into a national movement, that of a "Sane Fourth of July" and the "Good Fellow Club," the object of which was to make the children of the poor acquainted with Santa Claus. The News of Indianapolis, Indiana, built a fresh-air village for sick women and children, in addition to building several public mon- uments. But in doing this The News did not forget that such humanitarian enterprises could begin closer at home. It es- tablished a sub-station system of delivering papers to boys in the neighborhood where they lived and appointed a district man to look over them, to keep in touch with their parents, and to guard them as jealously as a school teacher, and above all to teach them business thrift. In this way The News eliminated the old-style newsboy with dirty face and worn shoes. The Press, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was one of the pioneer papers to carry on all-round welfare work for its newsboys. Knowing that boys like a noise, it started two bands, a senior and a junior, the latter to teaeh the rudiments of music to beginners. It went into the business of education to start a day school for the lads han- dling the noon editions and the extras : to be sure, the school was ungraded, but the teacher, always a high-grade woman with a good salary, has taught the boys from the poorer families so well that the movement has the endorsement of public school offi- cials. To its Hoe press it added the strange equipment of baths and a swimming-pool for the use of its boys. It put in a lunch counter where the carriers could get sandwiches, milk, buns, etc., for less than cost. The crowning feature of the welfare work of The Press has been the "Happy Hour" held in its own halls every Sunday afternoon. Here the programme begins with a flag
service full of thrillers and closes with motion pictures. The Journal, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, early started a similar welfare movement for its carriers. The Nashville Tennessean, at Nash- ville, Tennessee, soon devoted its attentions to the school children of the city and at its own expense it provided public lectures to amuse, entertain, and instruct the children. Its manager recently said: "It is far from the province of the daily press to print only the news a newspaper should be a community and section builder." The Chronicle, of San Francisco, California, was in- strumental in establishing the zoological gardens in 1880; it started the movement for the Golden Gate Park Museum in 1885. The Examiner, of the same city, erected the Little Jim Hospital for Incurables and the Free Eye and Ear Infirmary for the treatment of unfortunate children of the poorer classes. If space permitted, many other humanitarian news- paper enterprises could be mentioned, but the beginnings of the movement distinctly belong to the Period of Financial Readjustment.
PRESS AS DETECTIVE
With the financial readjustment many newspapers not only undertook humanitarian enterprises, but also assumed other extramural activities. Not content with mere publicity for crime, the press in numerous cities undertook active detective work in locating criminals. Mention might be made of how The Daily News, of Chicago, Illinois, followed D. E. Spencer, presi- dent of the State Savings Institution, who had absconded with something like half a million dollars from the vaults of the Bank of Chicago, step by step across Canada, over the Atlantic and thence through Europe until it finally located him at Stuttgart; or how The' Argus, of Albany, New York, after the police of that city were completely baffled in an attempt to locate a kidnapper, not only found the child, but also captured the criminal.
The most remarkable instance, however, was possibly the identification by The World, of New York, of the man who made an attempt upon the life of Russell Sage. Isaac D. White, then a reporter on The World and now head of its Bureau of Accuracy and Fair Play, secured a button from the trousers and a piece of
cloth from the clothing of the would-be murderer. The button was stamped "Brooks, Boston." Going to that city White found that there was only one tailor by the name of Brooks and that he still had his roll of cloth like the sample cut from the trousers. Investigation of the order books proved that material for only one pair of trousers had been cut from it. It was com- paratively easy to find, by means of the tag number of the roll, the name and address of the man for whom the trousers had been made: the address was the business office of Norcross at Boston. White, on going to this office, learned that Norcross had been away for several days. He then went to the home of Norcross in Somerville, where he found that the man had been missing for several days and that his disappearance had greatly worried the family. The parents of Norcross recognized the sample of cloth- ing and came to New York with White, where they identified the head of their son.
Many other illustrations might be given of the excellent work that the press has done in the field of detection of criminals. Every police commissioner in the city of New York who has proved himself competent to hold that office has frankly ad- mitted the great assistance of the press. In every great city there is only one thing members of the police department fear, that is, the exposure of their incompetence by the daily press. Pub- licity for the defenders of the law has accomplished almost as much good as publicity for the offenders of the law.
PRESS VS. PRESIDENTS
The question of a presidential third term again came up for discussion in the press in 1880. Grant had returned from a most spectacular trip around the world and his friends again started a movement in the newspapers for a third-term nomination. There is every reason to believe that Grant in this instance did not desire such an honor, but was used simply as a tool by Roscoe Conkling, the senior Senator from New York, to prevent the nomination of James G. Blaine, who had become such an im- portant Republican leader that he was disputing the field with Conkling. The struggle was even more bitter than in a former contest. Editorial pages in the opposition press fairly bristled
with almost a standing caption over the leading article, "Any- thing to Beat Grant." The result, as every student knows, was that both Grant and Elaine were defeated and the nomination went to James A. Garfield.
To The New York World belongs the honor of reviving the cartoon, the wordless editorial of American journalism. From the time that Franklin had cut a snake into eight parts, each part representing a section of the country, and published the same in his Gazette under the caption "Join or Die," cartoons had ap- peared spasmodically in the American press usually at times of great political or national excitement. The New York World, however, was the first newspaper to make the cartoon a regular feature. Its first cartoon, printed on August 10, 1884, was en- titled " The Difference Between Two Knigh,ts," and was a con- trast of Blaine and Cleveland. This cartoon was not signed. In August, 1884, The World began in its Sunday issue a series of political cartoons which attracted a great deal of attention and so increased its circulation that new presses had to be ordered. So popular, indeed, were these cartoons that they were introduced into the daily edition. Of these early cartoons none was more popular than that entitled "Belshazzar's Feast," which ap- peared on August 30 and dealt with the coming presidential elec- tion of the Cleveland-Blaine Campaign. It occupied half of the first page and showed the Republican chiefs in the robes of Babylonian revelers at the Belshazzar banquet of Special Priv- ilege. Though the cartoon was crudely drawn, it had a certain strength which caused it to be remembered long after Cleveland was elected to the Presidency.
FIGHT OF TYPOGRAPHICAL UNION
In 1884 The New York Tribune possibly aided the election of Grover Cleveland though not through the support of its edi- torial page. This assistance, such as it was, grew out of a strike which started in December of 1883 when the Typographical Union decided upon a boycott of the paper because of some dis- agreement about wages of printers. A circular was sent to labor
organizations throughout the United States to announce the boy- cott and to ask the withdrawal of all support from The Trib- une. Pressure was brought to bear to get advertisers to with- draw from the columns of The Tribune and a weekly paper, The Boycotter, was started to induce other trade unions to take up the fight. As the strike at the start proved unsuccessful, the Union decided to enter politics, for The Tribune was considered at that time the leading exponent of the principles of the Republican Party. A committee was sent to the Republican National Con- vention, when it met in Chicago on June 3 of the following year, to inform the delegates that the policy of The Tribune was hos- tile to organized labor and to request the convention to repudiate that paper as a Republican organ. When no satisfaction was received, the Union in August passed a resolution that "until the Republican National Committee give us written assurance that they will repudiate The Tribune the future policy of The Boy- cotter shall be to boycott The Tribune and James G. Elaine." In spite of the activity of political leaders to adjust the dispute, The Tribune was not repudiated and many of the Union printers decided to vote against Elaine. As Cleveland carried New York State by a plurality of only 1144 votes, and as the Union num- bered over 3500 printers, the assertion has been made that, New York being the pivotal State in the election, Elaine was defeated because The Tribune refused to come to terms. A year later the Republican State Committee took the matter up with The Trib- une in order to bring about a settlement of the controversy, and a satisfactory agreement was finally reached so that by 1892 the Union announced its willingness to send a committee to the Na- tional Republican Convention at Minneapolis to declare that all hostilities against The Tribune and against the Republican Party had ceased.
BRYAN AND PARTY PRESS
When William Jennings Bryan was nominated for the Presi- dency at the Democratic Convention held in Chicago in 1896, many of the Democratic papers refused to support the party ticket because of the stand taken by the nominee on the question of free silver. Colonel A. K. McClure, editor of The Philadelphia
Times, thus summed up the remarkable editorial change in policy of these papers:
A number of the leading newspapers of the country which had sup- ported Cleveland in his three contests repudiated the Chicago platform and its candidate, and they stood in the forefront of American jour- nalism. Not one of them ever had conference or communication with the McKinley leaders, or received or proposed any terms for their sup- port, or ever sought, accepted, or desired favors from the McKinley administration. Some of them suffered pecuniary sacrifice, but they per- formed a heroic duty, and it was the inspiration they gave to the con- servative Democratic sentiment of the country that made McKinley President by an overwhelming majority.
This opposition of the press undoubtedly explains the criticism which Mr. Bryan later showered upon newspapers in general and those of New York State in particular. The New York World in explaining its own course said, "Never before in a Presidential campaign had the leading newspaper of either party declined to support the ticket and platform presented by the politicians, not only without loss of power and prestige, but actually with a gain in both."
Yet it was to this New York newspaper that Grover Cleveland once said he owed his election to the Presidency.
JOURNALISM DURING WAR WITH SPAIN
In the war with Spain, the American war correspondent reached his highest development. Arthur Brisbane has told what it meant to report that conflict in the American press. It meant, to quote his own words:
To cover the field of possible action in advance from Manila to Porto Rico; to place the right man in the right place, select the man through intuition; to secure boats and arrange telegraphic facilities; to get the news into the office first, into the newspaper first, on the street and all over the country first; to sift the kernel of fact from the mass of rumors; to exercise discretion and reasonable conservatism without falling be- hind in the great fight for news priority and supremacy; to meet the problems of circulation grown suddenly to be vastly in excess of the mechanical facilities; and with the weaker papers to meet with limited capital the problem of expense unlimited, to make mental re- source replace the hard money sinews of the newspaper war reporter.
The explosion which sank the Maine occurred on Friday eve- ning, February 15, 1898, at 9.40 o'clock. The first reports from Havana, however, did not reach the New York papers until about half-past two the following morning. Yet before noon of that day a tug chartered by The New York World left Key West with three divers on board. The correspondent of The World at Havana received the following instructions by cable:
Have sent divers from Key West to get actual truth, whether favor- able or unfavorable. First investigation by divers with authentic re- sults worth one thousand dollars, extra expense, to-morrow alone.
When the boat chartered by The World reached the Maine its divers were not allowed to make any investigation and the only direct result to The World from this expedition was an expense amounting to one thousand dollars. Yet this incident was fairly typical of the enormous expense to which American newspapers were put in reporting the war. One New York newspaper re- ported that it spent on the average of three thousand dollars a day during the entire war.
Immediately after the sinking of the Maine, correspondents from all the leading papers hastened to Havana. From the start they met continued opposition from the Spanish censor, who sometimes let what they wrote go through, but who just about as often threw their communications into the waste-basket. To overcome this difficulty several of the more influential American newspapers chartered special boats to ply between Havana and Key West. Their cargo consisted, as one war correspondent put it, "of a little package of copy which a man might carry in the vest pocket of his coat." After the blockade was established the newspapers had to increase the number of boats, which patroled the waters of the West Indies. All this, of course, meant a tre- mendous expense for getting the news from Cuba.
After the correspondents were compelled to leave Havana and the blockade was firmly established, it became still more dif- ficult to get news through the lines. Some of the newspapers, which up to that time had been gathering news separately, now pooled their interests in self-preservation.
As the war progressed, newspapers had additional difficulties to meet. There were only two cables between Key West and the mainland of Florida. Because the official Government dispatches took precedence over everything else, correspondents found that the cables were soon overloaded and they had to wait the pleasure of the Government. Some of the newspapers then made arrangements to run their dispatch boats to Miami on the main coast of Florida. This trip took longer, but it got the messages through.
After the American correspondents left Havana, several of them joined the insurgents and thus kept in touch with what was going on. Every so often they returned to some point on the coast where they were met by dispatch boats which forwarded their copy to their newspapers.
When Sampson sailed for Porto Rico, correspondents stationed at Key West found that the censor had placed an embargo on any word relating to the departure for San Juan. One correspondent, in spite of this censorship, managed to get the information, as he thought, to his managing editor in New York. The latter, with a stupidity unusual in newspaper work, failed to interpret the news in the personal message, "Tell father to send my valise to San Juan," and cabled the reply, "Can't find father, send better address." By this time the Key West censor, who was Lieutenant-Colonel Allen, of the Signal Corps, had read between the lines and refused to allow the correspondent to send any more personal messages. The correspondents, however, were poorly prepared to report the sea fight outside of Santiago. Of all the dispatch boats on the south side of the island only two were present at the time Cervera's fleet was destroyed. The explanation was that none of the newspaper correspondents thought that Cervera would come out and were devoting all their attention to the exciting events on the island.
Correspondents located in Madrid had their problems almost as difficult as those of their brethren in Havana. The cable companies took their messages, but neglected to forward the same to New York. In vain did the correspondents protest that either the messages should be sent or the money returned. The American newspapers spent thousands of dollars for which they never received a single word of news. Later, the American correspondents in Madrid sent their news by special couriers to France, thence the messages were sent without censorship, and without other molestation from authorities. Such messages had to be paid for in gold and in advance and the expense for this service for one New York newspaper totaled over two thousand dollars a week. After the Manila cable was cut, a certain newspaper in order to be first with the news chartered a special dispatch boat to run to Hong Kong and thereafter sent its war news by cable from that place at $1.80 a word.
At home the American newspapers were put to great expense in being forced to get out extra editions. The New York Evening Journal, for example, printed as many as forty editions in a single day, and The Evening World nearly, if not quite, as many. The size of editions reached startling figures: one New York newspaper, for example, frequently printed over one million copies a day and failed even with such an output, to meet the demand.
APPEARANCE OF BIG HEADLINES
The immediate effect of the war with Spain upon American journalism was the large streamer headline. During the war the headline of the most important item, or news story, stretched itself across the page. It not only increased in width, but also in length, until some of the more sensational newspapers used one which occupied fully one half of the first page, except a little corner where the name of the newspaper appeared in small type. In the absence of exciting news, certain newspapers adopted rather questionable methods in the composition of headlines. A half-page would be given to the two words "BIG BATTLE," in large black letters. Underneath these two words and directly under the fold of the page would be some qualifying expression, in small type, such as "Expected To-morrow." When the paper was on the stand or when it was held aloft by the newsboy, all the passer-by could see was "BIG BATTLE." Such questionable tactics brought certain papers into bad repute with their readers. While the newspapers of the better class never practiced such deceptions, they did increase the size of their headlines. Even the World War did not produce any such flaring headlines in American newspapers as appeared during the time the United
States was fighting Spain. The flaring streamer headline is not in itself open to such hostile criticism as it has received: the American people, with their hustle and bustle, seem to take kindly to a paper which gives them the latest news of the hour in a headline which can be read by those who run to catch trains, and they do not consider it a piece of extravagance to pay one cent or more for a newspaper which is prodigal in its use of space. But when these sensational headlines are absolutely mis- leading, or feature something that is silly or that has no per- manent news interest, they are open to just criticism.
NEWSPAPER STRIKE IN NEW YORK
One of the most important newspaper strikes, at least in New York City, was the one that commenced on August 5, 1899, in the plant of The Sun. Until July of that year The Sun had put its news into type by hand composition, chiefly because Dana thought such composition gave a neater typographical appear- ance to the page, but it then determined to adopt machines to do the work. As the old hand compositors, not being familiar with the mechanism of the machines, were unable to set matter by this process, The Sun was forced to employ a number of ex- pert machinists. According to a statement issued by The Sun, the old compositors simply " stood by, looked on, and drew their salaries." The Typographical Union, on the other hand, in- sisted that the strike grew out of an attempt to make The Sun an open shop, and pointed by way of proof to an advertisement inserted in a Philadelphia newspaper asking for compositors to work on a newspaper a short distance from Philadelphia. After the strike had been declared, some of the men hired in Phila- delphia came to New York and worked on The Sun. With the assistance of The Evening Post, The Sun was able to get out its regular issues, but in reduced size. The strike was bitterly fought on both sides. The Sun, under Dana, had passed from a news- paper of the masses to one of the upper classes. For this reason it was better prepared to stand a strike than other morning papers of the city with larger circulation among the laboring people. Pressure was brought to bear upon advertisers to with- draw from the columns and the reading public was asked in vari
ous ways to boycott the paper. Relief was sought in the courts, and injunctions, forbidding the boycott, were issued. Posters and circulars were then printed after the style of the Brisbane headline only reversed:
It is illegal to
BOYCOTT THE SUN
BOYCOTT THE SUN
Hostilities did not cease until March 12, 1902, when a mutual agreement was reached, the strike declared off, and the Union refrained from " further action repugnant or injurious to the paper."
CHANGES OF OWNERSHIP
During the Period of Financial Readjustment there were many changes of ownership in newspapers. Of these only a few may be noticed without expanding beyond the legitimate limits of this volume. On July 1, 1881, The Evening Post in New York City passed into the control of Henry Villard who had achieved dis- tinction as a great railroad builder in the West. He was a man of the highest patriotic motives, and he early declared his inten- tion to make The Evening Post " independent of himself, inde- pendent of its counting-room, and independent of party." This intention he carried out by putting all his shares in trust and turning them over to trustees with full power to act. Upon his death the control of The Evening Post passed to his wife, but his son Oswald Garrison Villard became the president of the company which published the paper. He, too, has kept The Post as independent as it was in the days when it was conducted by William Leggett.
Two activities of The Post during this period deserve more than passing mention. In 1885-86 The Evening Post rendered a distinct service to the country in general and to the South in particular when it opposed the Blair Educational Bill which pro- posed to appropriate one hundred million dollars from the Na- tional Treasury to promote negro education below the Mason and Dixon Line. The opposition of The Post to this measure was based upon the fact that its passage fostered a dist inct loss
to the South, not only in self-reliance, but also in self-respect. During 1890 The Post fell upon Tammany Hall, which it nearly destroyed by means of a series of biographical sketches of the leaders and numerous editorials about the work of the organiza- tion. While numerous warrants were issued for the arrest of its editor on the complaint of the various politicians whose biog- raphies appeared in The Post, none of these cases actually came to trial.
ARRIVAL OF PULITZER IN NEW YORK The newspapers of New York printed an advertisement on October 31, 1876, that the "Hon. Joseph Pulitzer of Missouri at eight o'clock at Cooper Union speaks for Tilden, Hendricks, and Reform." The next morning The World had at the top of its fifth column on its last page the name of Joseph Pulitzer in black letters and under it the words, "His Stirring Speech at Cooper Union Last Night." This was probably the first time that Mr. Pulitzer's name ever appeared at the top of a column in The New York World. The next evening he was one of the Democratic speakers at Tammany Hall. Among the others was Manton Marble, who, as editor and publisher of The World, had been successful in the first role, but a failure in the second. After the speeches were over the two gentlemen had a long conversa- tion about the possibilities of making The World successful financially in New York City. Nothing definite came out of the conference at the time and The World passed into the control of Thomas A. Scott, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who made William Henry Hurlburt its editor. Money to meet the weekly deficit came regularly from an unknown source by ex- press.
Of The World under Hurlburt's regime, St. Clair McKelway, long editor of The Brooklyn Eagle, has left the following account:
It upheld Horatio Seymour when he insisted on the gold standard for New York State in a time of irredeemable paper currency. It warred on William M. Tweed's criminal alteration of the city charter from behind which he practiced highway robbery to the tune of millions in the name of the law. It made now and then a stand for better muni- cipal results by informal fusion of parties. But it never sought th e art of
commanding a living by the approbation and confidence of the for the tendency of its management inclined to the satisfaction of the capitalists with its steadiness, and to the applause of the carping, the cynical, the sciolistic, and the pessimistic by its selection and treat- ment of topics. Its mistaken sense of humor comprised the discussion of serious matters from a comedy side and the discussion of trivial matters from a serious side.
Upon the death of Scott, The World passed into the control of other capitalists. During all this time the paper steadily lost in circulation until it had less than ten thousand in New York City, due doubtless to the reasons already outlined by Mr. McKelway.
Ever since his talk with Manton Marble, after both had spoken at Tammany Hall, Pulitzer had watched the movements of The World on the chance that he might sometime become its owner. Finding that its proprietors were willing to be relieved of an un- profitable burden, he purchased the newspaper in May, 1883. On the eleventh of that month he published over his own signa- ture the following editorial :
The entire World newspaper property has been purchased by the undersigned, and will, from this day on, be under different manage- ment different in men, measures and methods different in purpose, policy and principle different in objects and interests different in sympathies and convictions different in head and heart.
Performance is better than promise. Exuberant assurances are cheap. I make none. I simply refer the public to the new World itself, which henceforth shall be the daily evidence of its own growing improvement, with forty-eight daily witnesses in its forty-eight columns.
There is room in this great and growing city for a journal that is not only cheap, but bright, not only bright but large, not only large but truly democratic dedicated to the cause of the people rather than that of purse-potentates devoted more to the news of the New than the Old World that will expose all fraud and sham, fight all public evils and abuses that will serve and battle for the people with earnest sincerity.
In that cause and for that end solely the new World is hereby enlisted and committed to the attention of the intelligent public.
Sidney Brooks, a distinguished London journalist, in discuss- ing "The American Yellow Press" in one of the great English reviews, asserted that Joseph Pulitzer would prob ably be best
remembered as the founder of the yellow press in America. Yet Mr. Brooks admitted in the same article that Mr. Pulitzer con- ducted one of the most independent and most fearless news- papers in the United States. Now that the hysteria about yellow journalism has passed, Mr. Pulitzer will probably be remembered as the editor of the paper which tried to, and in many respects did, live up to the doctrines he set forth in making his bow as a news- paper publisher in New York. Once forced by competition to adopt questionable methods to secure a circulation, he later saw whither such a course led and ordered a "right about face."
It was to the editorial page that Mr. Pulitzer paid most of his attention. He cared little to be a great merchant of news, and in the words of one of his associates "the details of business management never engaged his attention longer than was neces- sary." He agreed with his editorial predecessor on The World, Manton Marble, that "the journalist has it in trust and steward- ship to be the organ and mould of public opinion, to express and guide it, and to seek, through all conflicting private interests, solely the public general good."
Pulitzer died on board his private yacht in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, after having guided the editorial policies of The World for not quite thirty years. Toward the close of his career he was totally blind, but he never let this affliction interfere with his interest in The World, which he continued to direct through the liberal use of the telegraph and the cable while traveling in the pursuit of health, lost through too constant devotion to his paper.
ENTRANCE OF HEARST
William Randolph Hearst, whose newspaper activities in California have already been noticed, came to New York in 1896, where he purchased The New York Journal, founded by Albert Pulitzer, a brother of Joseph Pulitzer, of The World. Before coming East Hearst is said to have added together the circulation of all the New York dailies and, after comparing the total with the population of the city, declared that there was room for a daily which met the needs of those who were not sub- scribing for any newspaper. According to the gossip of Park
Row, Hearst "broke into New York with all the discreet secrecy of a wooden-legged burglar having a fit on a tin roof" : according to a member of the staff of The New York American, Hearst, when he first came to New York, was compelled to "blow his horn un- usually loud to attract the crowd, but once he secured his audi- ence he became more dignified." He brought with him all the circulation schemes which he had successfully used in San Fran- cisco to increase the sale of his Examiner, and in addition tried many others such as sending New Yorkers each a card to which a penny had been attached with the instructions to buy a copy of The Morning Journal. He secured many of the men whom Pulitzer had trained and at once began to toot his newspaper horn so loudly that even those who ran were forced to hear that The Journal had made a new entry. Separating the paper into two editions, he later called the morning one The New York American while the evening still retained the old name of The Journal. In charge of the latter he placed Arthur Brisbane, son of Albert Brisbane, who had worked with Greeley on The Trib- une. Brisbane by still more sensational methods advanced the circulation by leaps and bounds until The New York Evening Journal led all other American newspapers in number of copies printed. Not until the next period did Hearst enter the news- paper field in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.
FIRST APPEARANCE OF MUNSEY
In 1891 Frank A. Munsey purchased The Star, a daily which had been established on September 22, 1885. On February 1, 1891, he changed its name to The Daily Continent. A distinguish- ing feature of The Continent was its small size, for it pre- sented the news in tabloid form. Mr. Munsey had the idea that a smaller sheet with the news presented concisely would be more convenient than the conventional blanket-size newspaper. His venture, though it attracted considerable favorable attention at the start and carried a good deal of advertising, was not suc- cessful and was discontinued on June 30, 1891. No other at- tempt has been made in New York to give the people of that city a daily tabloid newspaper.
Charles Anderson Dana, so long editor of The New York Sun, died on October 17, 1897. The paper which he had guided for nearly thirty years told of the occurrence in these two lines:
Charles Anderson Dana, editor of The Sun, died yesterday afternoon.
There were no inverted column rules, there was no long article in praise of the deceased editor. The announcement in fact was typical of the editor whose death it recorded. For a short time after his death, The Sun was edited by his son, Paul Dana. Later, E. P. initials which in The Sun office stand for Editorial Page Mitchell became its editor.
Mention has already been made how, in the handling of news, Dana wielded a tremendous influence, for he made The Sun a sort of school of journalism in which he trained bright young college men who had the itch, or, to use a more academic word, the urge to write. Dana saw no reason why the news column should not be as well written as any piece of literature, for to him reporting was an art. He also insisted that the headlines of the newspaper should have some sort of literary form, so that The Sun in time shone not only with a literary finish in its news columns, but also in its still larger rays in the headlines. Dana liked to quote Dickens as being a great police-court reporter; and pointed to the Bible as a place where stories were boiled down, the story of the Crucifixion, for example, being told in six hun- dred words. The making of a newspaper in all its phases re- quired, so he asserted, the skill of an artist in every department, and when he came to put into a book his ideals about the editing and publishing of a paper, he called it "The Art of Newspaper Making."
CHANGES IN CHICAGO
The Herald has been unusually popular as a name for a news- paper. On March 11, 1881, The Herald appeared in Chicago. It had obtained the Associated Press franchise of The Telegraph, an old organ of the Greenback-Labor Party, and had no con- nection with two other papers of the same name whic h had been
established in Chicago. Under James W. Scott, one of the chief owners of the United Press, the paper was Democratic, but when The Herald passed into the control of H. H. Kohlsaat one year before the historic campaign of 1896, it became a Republican paper. The Record later united with The Herald which was started almost at the same time. It first appeared on March 31, 1881, as the morning edition of The Chicago Daily News and was known as The Morning News until January 11, 1892, when it became The Record. In March, 1901, Frank B. Noyes, who had been associated with his father on The Washington Star, became the publisher on the 28th of that month of the united papers known as The Record-Herald, the name under which it was published until May, 1914, when James Keeley, in consolidating The Rec- ord-Herald and The Interocean, called the new enterprise simply The Herald. The Interocean, started in 1872 as the political organ of the "Stalwart" Ring of the Republican Party of the West, was built upon the ruins of The Chicago Republican once edited by Charles Anderson Dana. The Chicago Daily News, a one- cent evening paper which first appeared on December 20, 1875, was started by Melville E. Stone with a capital stock of some- thing like five hundred dollars and with its entire plant pur- chased on time. Within eighteen months it purchased The Chi- cago Post and Mail and in this way secured an Associated Press franchise. From the beginning The Daily News aimed to make the first page worth the price of the paper. It was one of the first papers to believe that women readers were more valuable than men. It published mystery stories and offered cash prizes to women readers for the best solution of the mystery.
The City Press Association of Chicago was founded about 1885. At that time the Chicago newspapers paid a great deal of attention to suburban news, printing a page or two of personals or small society happenings in the Chicago suburbs. Minor weddings and club functions in Chicago were also given much space. J. T. Sutor conceived the idea of covering these events in a syndicate way for the Chicago papers. Sutor started with two men to help him. The work was acceptable to the papers and the organization, as time passed, gradually took over more and more territory for the newspapers. Various reorganizations
and changes in management have occurred since then and the news-gathering organization, now known as the City News Bureau of Chicago, employs over fifty men, serves all the Eng- lish papers, and covers all avenues of news in Cook County with the exception of finance, labor, and politics.
NELSON OF KANSAS CITY
One of the most picturesque figures among makers of Amer- ican newspapers was William Rockhill Nelson, editor and pub- lisher of The Star, of Kansas City, Missouri, from the date of its establishment, September 18, 1880, until his death, April 13, 1915. When The Star, called by the local press "The Twi- light Twinkler," first began to shine, it was a small four-page paper and "twinkled " for two cents a day or ten cents per week: when its owner died it equaled in size any of the metropolitan dailies and shone morning and evening and Sunday for the same rate of ten cents per week. At the start pennies were scarce in Kansas City, where papers sold for five cents per copy, and Mr. Nelson was forced to import them by the keg from the United States Mint in order that newsboys might have the change for customers. By the end of the first month The Star published a little note that it had more readers than any other newspaper published there. The purchase of The Mail in 1882 gave the pa- per an Associated Press franchise, which in turn furnished the telegraph news so much needed at the time. When The Times was bought in 1901 it was made the morning edition of The Star with the issue of November 18. The Sunday edition of The Star was begun on April 29, 1894. The delivery of thirteen papers by carriers morning, evening, and Sunday for ten cents per week has never been duplicated by any other newspaper publisher in America and practically stifled competition in Kansas City.
Two incidents in the history of The Star will illustrate the personality of its founder. An early issue called attention to the fact that the town opera house, owned by Colonel Kersey Coates, was poorly constructed and sadly in need of proper exits. Coates denied the danger from fire and denounced the editor as a black- mailer, but later went to Nelson and, after remarking that he was going to reconstruct the opera house, he added, "The town
needs such a newspaper as yours, and if you ever need help, come to me." It was the same Coates who helped Nelson raise the funds to purchase the first web perfecting press used by The Star. Years later a manager of a local theater complained about the treatment given him by The Star and threatened to with- draw his advertising unless a change was made. Nelson gave the change when he replied, "Out you go and out you stay!" a decision he never reversed.
These two incidents, selected from many much more spec- tacular, explain what Collier's Weekly meant when it said in an obituary notice, "The founder and editor of The Kansas City Star took his place in journalism's Hall of Fame by kicking in the door with hobnailed boots." Nelson, himself, expressed the same idea, but more moderately, when he asserted, "I've tried to be gentle and diplomatic, but I've never done well in my stocking feet." He was one of those men to whom reference has already been made in this chapter as being great editors and good business executives. By means of The Star he pulled Kan- sas City out of the mud, for there were "no pavements and only a few plank sidewalks" when he arrived, and made it a city of parks and boulevards.
The Star, it may be remarked in passing, secured the inter- view with General Nelson A. Miles which led to the condemna- tion of the army supplies used in Cuba in the war with Spain. The Star, through the liberality of its readers, did much to re- lieve the starving people of Matanzas, Cuba.
OTIS OF LOS ANGELES
Harrison Gray Otis became editor and owner of The Los An- geles Times, Los Angeles, California, on August 1, 1882. The paper had been started on December 4, 1881, and grew out of a weekly which bore quite a different name The Mirror. The latter paper had been started in 1873 as a little "thumb-nail journal" by the owners of a second-hand job plant in the hopes that the sheet might bring business to the office.
On August 5, 1890, there began in the office of The Times, be- tween its owner and the local typographical union, a struggle which stretched over a period of nearly two decades. The strike
started in the offices of the four Los Angeles newspapers, but finally concentrated on The Times. On October 1, 1910, occurred the widely known disaster which resulted in the destruction of the building of The Times and the loss of the lives of twenty members of its force when the plant was dynamited by lawless labor unions. While the attitude of the owner of The Times toward organized labor would not be within the scope of this book, the following official resume* of the publisher of the paper may be quoted :
The Times has never objected to lawful and legitimate organizations formed and maintained by laborers in any branch of industry. The paper does not do foolish things, but what it objects to is the tyranni- cal management of labor unions by the generally irresponsible, always ignorant, and frequently vicious leaders of these organizations. There has never been a word printed in The Times objecting to lawful or- ganizations of working people per se. All the fault ever found in the columns of the paper with these organizations has been leveled at some gross and mischievous abuse in the management of the organi- zations by the leaders of them. It has been a fight made for legitimate labor more than for any other interest in the country.
Mr. Otis, before his death, denounced the destruction of his building as "the crime of the century." His side of the contro- versy has been described in a small brochure entitled "The Story of a Sixteen Years' Battle."
OTHER LEADERS OF THE WEST
While the newspapers especially in the East were be- coming more distinctly |impersonal in character, there were in the West numerous editors who, during the decade of 1880- 1890, impressed their personalities upon their newspapers. Among these leaders of Western journalism were Murat Hal- stead, of The Commerial Gazette, John R. McLean, of The In- quirer, and Charles P. Taft, of The Times-Star, in Cincinnati, Ohio; Edwin Cowles, of The Leader, William W. Armstrong and L. E. Holden, of The Plaindealer, in Cleveland, Ohio; General J. M. Comley, of The Commercial Telegram, in Toledo, Ohio; W. D. Bickham, of The Journal, in Dayton, Ohio; J. S. Clarkson, of The Register, and John Watts, of The Leader, in Des Moines, Iowa; John Arkins, of The Rocky Mountain News,
in Denver, Colorado; John Atkinson, of The Tribune, W. E. Quinby, of The Free Press, and James E. Scripps, of The Eve- ning News, in Detroit, Michigan; A. H. Belo, of The News, in Galveston, Texas; John H. Holliday, of The News, John C. New, of The Journal, and W. J. Craig, of The Sentinel, in In- dianapolis, Indiana; Henry Watterson, of The Courier- Journal, in Louisville, Kentucky; J. M. Keating, of The Appeal, in Memphis, Tennessee; Horace Rublee, of The Sentinel, and Wil- liam E. Cramer, of The Evening Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; W. E. Haskell, of The Tribune, and J. S. McLain, of The Journal, in Minneapolis, Minnesota; A. S. Colyar, of The American, in Nashville, Tennessee; H. L. Pittock, of The Ore- gonian, in Portland, Oregon; O. H. Rothaker, of The Republican, in Omaha, Nebraska; George K. Fitch, of The Bulletin, M. H. de Young, of The Chronicle, and John P. Irish, of The Daily Alia California, in San Francisco, California; William Hyde, of The Republican, and Joseph B. McCullagh, of The Globe-Democrat, in St. Louis, Missouri; J. A. Wheelock, of The Pioneer Press, and Lewis Baker, of The Globe, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
After the War of the States was over some of the newspapers which had been printing an edition on Sunday suspended pub- lication on that day. Others, especially in the South, continued their edition on Sunday, but omitted the issue on Monday. But the reading public demanded the news daily. How The New York Tribune, which had discontinued its Sunday edition, dis- covered this fact has been described by Whitelaw Reid in an address delivered on the Bromley Foundation at Yale Univer- sity:
For a long time I resisted the general tendency to extend the daily publication over into Sunday. Nearly every man I knew approved of this refusal to print a Sunday paper. Old friends went out of their way to congratulate me on thus setting my face against the pernicious habit of Sunday publication. They hoped I would never yield it; it was a noble stand and gave them yet greater confidence in my paper. Fi- nally, as they kept introducing the subject, I took to explaining to these excellent and well-meaning men that my noble stand seemed to result merely in sending all my regular readers, when Sunday came, over to
one or another of my competitors; and next, turning suddenly on each, I would ask, "By the way, what paper do you read on Sunday?" Then came stammering and hesitation, to be sure; but not once, during the years this went on, did I fail to find that, with the single exception of some of the clergy, the men who were exhorting me to continue setting a noble example for Sabbath observance by not publishing on Sunday, were themselves quietly gratifying their own craving to know what was going on by reading some Sunday paper!
Other papers by costly experience learned the same facts and then resumed their Sunday issues. The Sunday paper, as it is understood to-day, did not appear until the early eighties. Its development and enlargement were due to several causes. The department stores, finding the Sunday edition an especially valuable advertising medium, increased their space to set forth the bargain attractions of the coming week. The auxiliary presses purchased by papers for use in cases of emergency were utilized for the Sunday edition to print additional supplements in which were portrayed numerous interesting phases of city life. At about this time, S. S. McClure, founder of the magazine which bears his name and later editor of The Evening Mail, of New York City, began to retail to the newspapers, for simul- taneous publication on Sunday, novels and short stories by writers who had previously sold their manuscripts only to the better-class magazines. In addition to fiction, special articles about men and matters of moment were similarly syndicated for use in the Sunday papers. While McClure was developing his syndicate service, Morrill Goddard, whom Pulitzer had placed in charge of the Sunday edition of The New York World, was applying psychology to newspaper-making. Goddard, knowing the value of the optical center, began at once to develop the il- lustrated features and to enlarge the size of the pictures until they spread all over the pages. From his knowledge of psychol- ogy, he knew what features would give readers a thrill, and he emphasized such articles so much that people came to buy the paper on Sunday not so much for its news as for its special articles. Thus was the pace set for the feature editors who fol- lowed in Goddard's footsteps.
Sunday journalism was strangely influenced by a Puritan
strain in the matter of presentation of the special features. By chance two early products of American printing came to the notice of a Sunday editor. The first, published in Boston in 1656, was entitled, "Spiritual Milk for Boston Babes in either England. Drawn out of the Breasts of both Testaments for their souls nourishment But may be of like use to any Children. By John Cotton, B.D., late Teacher to the Church of Boston in New England"; the second, published in Cambridge in 1657, was entitled, "The Watering of the Olive Plant in Christs Gar- den. Or a Short Catechism For the first Entrance of our Chelmes- ford Children: Enlarged by A three-fold Appendix. By John Fisk, Pastour of the Church of Christ at Chelmesford in New- England."
"That's the way to write captions for our special features" was his exclamation. From that time dramatization of fact be- came the popular mode of treatment. Did a special article tell how Constantinople was freed from its plague of dogs? It bore the caption, "Constantinople No Longer a Dog Kennel." Not only were the headlines treated this way, but the practice crept into the text columns. The old essay was dramatized and made to live. "Don't preach, write a parable," was the advice given to copy-writers. Contents of the Sunday supplements became not a story that was told, but a drama that was enacted before readers. So popular was the new mode of treatment that even magazines adopted it.
Though The New York World had installed in 1893 a press capable of printing in colors and later added a larger press of the same type, both were allowed to lie idle except to put a tint now and then on a supplement page. When Don C. Seitz came to The World he urged that the color presses be used to print a comic section and Pulitzer cabled instructions of one word, "Experi- ment." Seitz "experimented." The yellow comic came when the pressman complained that "wishy-washy" tints gave no results and asked for more solid colors. R. F. Outcault had just submitted to the Sunday editor, Arthur Brisbane, who followed Goddard in that capacity, a series of "black-and-whites" which portrayed life in "Hogan's Alley." By way of experiment the "kid" in the pictures was given a robe of solid yello w. With the
arrival of the "yellow kid/' the success of the comic supplement was assured as a circulation-getter. The circulation of The World on Sunday jumped from a quarter to a half million. Other papers, following the example set by The World, issued a colored comic section on Sunday.
The addition of a section printed on coated, or glossy, paper permitted the insertion of advertisements which had previ- ously appeared only in the magazines. Other features and other sections were added until by the close of the period the Sunday paper became a "journalism department store" wherein every reader could find something for his amusement and entertain- ment. No other country has anything like the American Sun- day newspaper.
Many evening papers borrowed some of the Sunday "stuff" and became feature papers. Daily beauty hints, the bedtime story for the "kiddies," the comic "colyum," the woman's page, etc., crowded the space devoted to the news. Extensive use of the telephone by evening papers made the news more scrappy and bulletin-like in form. Even the editorial page was "popular- ized" in form. The growth of interest in baseball, "the great American game," was mirrored in the "sporting extra" in the publication of which The Evening Sun, of New York, and The Press, of Pittsburgh, were leaders. Enlarged size came when de- partment stores and other advertisers learned that the evening paper went to the home and was extensively read by women. The change in the character of afternoon papers was most no- ticeable in the Period of Financial Readjustment.
Journalism, in what was popularly called "the wild and woolly West," if told in detail would make a most interesting chapter. When a Colt revolver and a pen lay side by side on an editor's desk it was but natural that the contents of his news- paper should have a tang of the desert, a flavor of the sagebrush. The editor of a great metropolitan daily never had "anything on " these editors in the matter of excitement. Chief among these
fighting editors was Alvin S. Peek, who once boasted that he "had run newspapers in nine different states and territories, had shot eleven men who took exception to his editorial opinions, but had never been compelled to swallow a single opinion which he had uttered in his newspaper thanks to his ever-loaded pistol." He finally died "with his boots on" at the age of fifty- one. Another such editor was Albert Tyson, of The Rising Star X-Ray, of Texas, who announced himself in print "Lying and Fighting Editor." At the top of his editorial column he printed his motto, "Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You, and Do It Fust."
These weeklies were what might primarily be called one-man sheets. One of them, The Yampa Leader, of Oregon, enlarged upon this fact in the following editorial notice:
The great city papers think they are smart in having a large staff, and, although we have not published ours before, we shall do so to take some of the conceit out of the city brethren. The editorial staff of The Leader is composed of: Managing editor, V. S. Wilson; city editor, Vic Wilson; news editor, V. Wilson; editorial writer, Hon. Mr. Wilson; exchange editor, Wilson; pressman, the same Wilson; foreman, more of the same Wilson; devil, a picture of the same Wilson; fighting editor, Mrs. Wilson.
In the struggle for existence these pioneer editors duplicated the experiences of the colonial printer. The editor of The Gem, of Flagstaff, Arizona, printed an editorial notice very similar in subject-matter to what Peter Zengler once published in The New York Journal. Though slightly different in its phraseology it read:
Have you paid your subscription yet? Remember even an editor must live. If the hard times have struck your shebang, don't forget turnips, potatoes, and corn in the shock are most as welcome as hard cash at the Gem office. Also hard wood. Our latch-string is always out, or same (i.e., the turnips, etc.) can be delivered to our wife, who will give receipt in our absence.
The society news was found in such Western journals and was just as interesting as the "tommy-rot" of metropolitan dailies. The following is taken from an account of a wedding printed in The F airplay Flume, of Colorado:
The groom wore a long pair of overalls and a cutaway coat. The bride wore a calico dress and apron. They both looked the picture of health, and were ably assisted the groom by the bride's sister and the bride by Mr. Sam Meadows, a particular friend of the groom's.
The titles of these Western papers make interesting reading. For example, there was The Hannibal Hornet, of Hannibal, Missouri; The Bliss Breeze, of Dallas, Texas; The Arizona Arrow, of Arizona; The Mustang Mail, of Oklahoma; The Mother Lode Magnet, of California; The Rifle Reville, of Colorado; The Javelin, of Texas; The Oasis, of Arizona; The Creede Candle, of Colorado.
These weekly papers of the West were nothing if not original. One, for example, published notices of births, marriages, and deaths under the following respective headlines: "Hatched," "Matched," and "Dispatched." Inducements to subscribers were often unique : it was not at all uncommon for such a paper to publish a notice like the following: "All subscribers paying in advance will be entitled to a first-class obituary notice in case of death." By way of illustration the following obituary notice may be quoted as typical :
JAKE MOFFATT GONE SKYWARD!
As we feared on hearing that two doctors had been called in, the life of our esteemed fellow-citizen Jake Moffatt ebbed out on Wednes- day last, just after we had gone to press. Jake was every inch a scholar and a gentleman, upright in all his dealings, unimpeachable in character, and ran the Front Street Saloon in the very toniest style consistent with order. Jake never fully recovered from the year he spent in the county jail at the time of the Ryan-Sternberg fracas. His health was shattered, and he leaves a sorrowing widow and nary an enemy.
Many of these papers were published in mining camps and led peripatetic lives. The few of them which have survived to the present time, while having the same name, have lost their indi- viduality with the advance of the telegraph and the railroad.
How the Associated Press in 1880 was composed of smaller organizations scattered over the country has been out lined in
the preceding chapter. At various times discrepancies arose between a local branch and the general association. On one occa- sion the Western Associated Press withdrew from the general association and tried to maintain an independent and rival news- gathering organization. After a short period of competition, however, the differences were compromised and the Western Associated Press came back into the fold. With a develop- ment of new telegraph companies, and with the foundation of new newspapers unable to secure the news service of the Asso- ciated Press, came a more formidable competitor known as the United Press. Competition between these two organizations became extremely keen until an agreement was reached by which they worked in harmony and refrained from competing with one another in gathering and distributing the news. In 1892 the Western Associated Press again withdrew from the organization with headquarters at New York and the New York Associated Press was absorbed by the United Press. In the period of rivalry which followed, both associations had the co- operation of the Reuter News Agency of Europe. In their serv- ices they divided the United States along geographical lines. The United Press furnished news to practically all of the lead- ing daily papers east of the Alleghany Mountains, the newspapers of the South, and a few newspapers in the West. But in the sec- tion last mentioned the Western Associated Press supplied most of the newspapers. Later, the Western Associated Press suc- ceeded in obtaining the exclusive use of the news gathered by the Reuter Association and the United Press was put under a severe handicap in the gathering of European news : so much so that several of the New York, Philadelphia, and certain New England newspapers left the United Press to join the Western Associated Press. The depletion was so great that on April 8, 1897, the United Press was forced to discontinue its services and between two hundred and three hundred of its members joined the Western Associated Press. Other members formed a bureau, headed by The New York Sun, which practically supplanted the old United Press. The Western Associated Press was incorpo- rated under the laws of Illinois and had its headquarters at Chicago. Its general manager was Melville E. Stone. In 1900
the present Associated Press was organized out of the old West- ern Associated Press.
That the period was one in which the emphasis, on the whole, was placed upon the marketing of news, was shown by the forma- tion of the American Newspaper Publishers' Association, which, after preliminary steps had been taken at Detroit, Michigan, on November 17, 1886, was organized at Rochester, New York, February 16, 1887, to provide a clearing-house for the business departments of its members and to protect them in case of labor difficulties. From the start, it devoted most of its attention to a study of paper conditions, a supervision of advertising agencies in an attempt to weed out the undesirable, a campaign against the imposition of press agents who tried to secure the insertion of advertising as pure reading matter, etc. The association came to be a great force in American journalism, as its membership included the most influential newspapers in the country. The need of such an organization early became patent when legis- lators at Washington began to take steps looking toward the regulation of the press.
PRINTING-PRESSES OF PERIOD
The two decades from 1880 to 1900 saw the printing-press of the newspaper develop into the greatest mechanical achieve- ment of the human mind. Hoe had produced a press which would print on both sides of a continuous roll of paper, but there were several minor difficulties to overcome. Among these were the unequal distribution of ink and a frequent tearing of the paper web. Hoe took these matters up with the leading manufacturers and insisted that the ink-makers produce a product which would spread evenly from the ink fountain of his press ; he next turned his attention to the paper manufacturers and demanded that they produce a paper of even thickness and uniform quality, while he in turn experimented with presses where the paper pressure would be uniform. Other inventors perfected the me- chanical arrangement of the press by means of adjustments too complicated to describe in a book of this characte r. Tucker and
Campbell produced the rotary folder which made possible the great speed in creasing the web sheets transversely. The latter also gave the stationary longitudinal folder and perfected the rotary delivery of the printed sheets. Another inventor added the sheet-turning bar by which two parts of different webs were brought together. Later, Hoe produced the mechanical marvel which gathered together several streams of paper and united them into one printed product. Mergenthaler so improved his linotype that newspaper publishers were forced by the saving in cost of composition to adopt his machine. Then came a new process of stereotyping, known as the "autoplate," which trans- formed the old and laborious hand process into automatic opera^ tions. The introduction of the autoplate closed the period.