The Home Journal
Articles in database from The Home Journal: 3
The night editor -- how he works while others sleep -- Lawrence by night -- the beautiful moon and lovely stars
The local editor on a morning paper in a suburban city is a peculiar being. There is generally but one of him. The expensive luxury of employing a reportorial staff who wear out shoe leather for the benefit of a semi-god in a Brussels-carpeted and "dadoed" office is only indulged in by the metropolitan journals. In Lawrence, it is exclusively and entirely a one-man power.
Thus the local editor, having to bear too many responsibilities, becomes sober and thoughtful, meditates a good deal, thinks that life is a great comedy in two parts -- sleeping and hunting items -- and he finally, along towards the latter end of his earthly career, changes his business and seeks in the secluded dales of some rural district a place where he may put into practice all the horrible theories about Cotswold pigs and Jersey rams which he had once given currency to. We repeat he is an overburdened animal. To convince the public, we will turn our telephone to the past and tell our little tale.
The local arises at 9 o'clock, walks down to the office, sits around listening to an animated discussion on the comparative merits of two candidates for city marshal, looks over the morning mail -- which consists, generally, of county patent outsides and a few tracts -- sees the opposition local on the evening paper standing just across the way and sends him over the river on a goose chase; then life begins in earnest.
Until 4 o'clock he answers very politely at first, afterwards hurriedly, then gruffly, the inquiry "Isn't it hot?" It takes just about seven hours to satisfy a hungry humanity on that deeply interesting point. After 4 he sits down to a perusal of the evening papers. This is really a severe strain on his nerves, but it must be done lest some allusion to the local of the Journal as "an unprincipled liar" should be allowed to get abroad among the people uncontradicted.
In the evening, the boys drop in. Little items about runaways, parties, and such odds and ends are gathered, and at 11, after shutting the door, a dash is made for fresh air and a sensation. At 12 the lights are out, the busy city is silent, an occasional "late serenader" is the only one to break the stillness of the perfect night known to no other place than Kansas.
It does seem as though there was something wrong inhuman nature when the glory of a harvest moon, that lights up the sky and the little city beneath with a glorious mellow radiance, should be desecrated by the shriek of a maniac or the foul mouthings of the drunkard. Yet it is done, almost nightly -- if not here, then elsewhere, these deeds of violence, and they must all be hunted down and put in shape for the virtuous people who have kept the Ten Commandments themselves feel proud of it.
When the witching hour of 2 is pealed out by the old town clock, a cry generally comes up, or rather down, that more copy is wanted. Telegraph has run short, owing to a severe lightning storm. A long item about a swell marriage -- written before the event -- has been declared off because the lovely bridegroom had skipped town without paying his hotel bill, and a column of dark, blank, unoccupied space lies, like a Kansas grasshopper or Democrat, ready to be filled up.
Then life does indeed seem a hard thing. Perhaps the local ought not to lie, but the strain is great at such a moment. Nothing has happened during the day. He must make it appear as though the very spirit of mischief had been let loose, as though murder and dog fights were a usual thing. To do that a very liberal use of the imagination is required. How it is done is one of the secrets of our trade. The yawning chasm is filled up at last, the forms are locked up, the pressman prepares for work, the sleepy carrier boys arouse from dreams of wealth, and the huge press starts.
We resolve to go to bed, sleep, and, if sufficient legitimate news can be found, to lie no more. Nevertheless, for fear our stock of the latter may run short, we have every faith that the former never can.
The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad has just issued No. 1, Vol. 1, of an eight-page paper called The Santa Fe Trail, Chas. S. Gleed, editor. Of the paper itself, Mr. Gleed says: This paper is published for free distribution by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad. It is, therefore, a railroad advertisement and, as such, will be considered by some as unworthy of trust. To the contrary, however, the editor promises that all its contents shall be as accurate and as correct as though prepared for any publication of the highest literary standing....
As soon as it became known that T. D. Thacher had been elected state printer, the friends of Mr. Thacher came pouring in and asked for him, desirous on all hands of presenting their congratulations....Several of the members of the Cornet Band are employees of this office, and they had agreed among themselves that, when Mr. Thacher did come home, they would give him a serenade....