You Say There’s Not a Lot Going On…

I enjoy reading old newspapers, in large part because they provide a very visible demonstration of why newspapers today are dying. They also have their moments of unintentional humor, and the strange values dissonance that exists can sometimes provide some amusement, as well.

In today’s Saint Paul Pioneer Press, page “A2” – the “Nation & World Briefing” – contains three advertisements which take up about half the page; there’s some lottery information, some contact information for the paper’s various departments, and then the following headlines:

SeaWorld orca show reopens with a tribute
Warming panel seeks new review
Dictatorial ‘cult’ in Iran criticized
Obama opts to extend Patriot Act
Ransom released for Greek ship
Smoot named social secretary
Colombia court blocks Uribe run
Standoff ends in Ivory Coast
Dugard suspects get phone tome
1 killed, 7 injured in dance team crash

Ten items in all, on page 2. The front page has three partial items, continued elsewhere, and page 3 has two items, and a half-page ad.

By contrast, the April 14th 1905 issue of the Saint Paul Globe had the following stories on page 2 – I’ve included the subheads, because some of them are interesting

Grand Jury to indict Edward Gottschalk on murder charges – Woman Testifies Before Body That She Saw Suspected Man Coming Out Rear Door of Butcher Shop Few Moments After Christian Schindeldecker Was Killed – Says Man Answering Description of Joseph Hartmann Followed Gottschalk a Few Moments Later

City to strike back at phone company – Business Men Threaten to Abandon Northwestern Service if Toll Boards Go

Real estate men favor better roads – President of St. Paul Exchange Declares Improvements Will Help City

Ohage is through – Will Ignore Smoke Ordinance If Amendment Passes

Bad man is sorry – Fails in Attempt to Wreck Depot Lunch Room

Hustle for trade – Chicago Commercialists Making Business Trip to Pacific

Practice on range – Guardsmen and Regulars to Shoot at Lakeview

Is deaf to Mork – Speaker Clague Finds it Impossible to Hear Him

Trivial cut fatal – Veteran Attorney is Victim of Blood Poison

Asks big damages – Father of Injured Boy Sues Soo for $25,000

Sheriff denies he ever milked cows – Mr. Miesen Insists He Knows Nothing of the Dairyman’s Art

Morgan speaks for wine room ordinance – Aldermanic Committee on Streets Postpones Consideration for Two Weeks

Tschida to sober up at workhouse – Tires of Being Entertained by Drunken Husband and Arrest Follows

League will hold its annual meeting – St Anthony Park Citizens Plan Additional Improvements for District

Heavy rail falls on leg of laborer – Street Railway Section Hand Sent to Hospital With Fractured Ankle

Pioneer settler of Rosemount dies – Michael Farrell Drops Dead While at Work in Barnyard

That’s sixteen items, each from two to ten paragraphs in length, and considered important enough to merit subheads. When you add in the twenty-five other items – most short one or two-sentence items like “Woman Cyclist Breaks Arm – Jeanette Rivet, 875 West Central avenue, while riding a bicycle yesterday afternoon collided with a team driven by W. Cunningham and was thrown to the ground. She was picked up with a broken arm and taken home in the police ambulance after being attended by Police Surgeon Doran.” – it’s quite possible that the one page of that 1905 paper contained more actual news than an entire daily newspaper 105 years later.

I believe it was also quite a bit more entertaining, as well. As proof, I’ll leave you with a copy of the “Bad man is sorry” story, a journalistic jewel the likes of which one no longer sees, much to the detriment of the population at large:

They just don’t make ’em like that anymore…

Published in: General, History | on March 1st, 2010| Comments Off on You Say There’s Not a Lot Going On…

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.