Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/352

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Newspapers Since 1860

unexciting news and well-considered discussion of matters of current interest. There have also arisen a number of party or individual organs, like Bryan's Commoner, La Follette's, and Harvey's Weekly, which seek to preserve the personality and individuality now almost wholly gone from the daily press.

Enterprises in social service have become an established activity of the newspapers. From lending aid to police officials in investigating crime and detecting criminals, reporters have proceeded on behalf of their papers and the public to many notable exploits of this kind. These have been in large measure, like Stanley s search for Livingstone, undertaken to create sensational news. Related to this conception of the uses of a news paper go the departments of personal aid, giving advice in matters of health, courtship, manners, law, greatly helpful, though sometimes reminiscent of the Athenian Mercury. More ambitious have been such undertakings as the long-continued campaign carried on by the Chicago Tribune for a "sane Fourth" and the Good Fellow movement at Christmas time, the series of free lectures and other educational endeavours of the Chicago Daily News, the municipal projects of the Kansas City Star, the fresh air funds, ice funds, pure milk funds, and other philanthropic projects supported by many papers. These had become an established function of American newspapers long before the calamities of Europe made of them the wonderful collectors of charitable gifts they have been throughout and since the war. The newspapers have made efforts to prevent swindling by excluding questionable advertising and exposing frauds. Some have gone so far as to guarantee their advertisements. Others have established "bureaus of accuracy and fair play" and made systematic plans to publish corrections of their mistakes.

While the newspapers have been finding new ways in which to serve the public, the public through state and Federal laws has been manifesting a similar interest. In 1900 the Associated Press gave up its charter in Illinois and secured a new one in New York because the Illinois Supreme Court held that it had "devoted its property to a public use ... in effect, granted to the public such an interest in its use that it must submit to be controlled by the public, for the common good, to the extent of the interest it has thus created in the public in its private