OCR Interpretation


The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, May 07, 1914, NOON EDITION, Image 5

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-05-07/ed-1/seq-5/

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ONE MAN'S OPINIONS
BY N.D. COCHRAN.
Why Newspapers Degenerate. As
a rule newspapers like individuals be
.gin to degenerate when they become
i Ifucces3ful. There are exceptions,
but the rule is that when a man starts
out with a little money to build up a
newspaper he has to make brains do
the work. He is radical, and appeals
to the masses; for he wants circula
tion. He wprks hard himself, and gets
along with as small a staff as possi
ble. When he gains public confidence
and circulation he begins to get ad
vertising. When he begins" to make
money like most men he begins to
take life easier.
When he gets rich he joins clubs,
associates with other rich men, lets
others do the hard work, gets into a
big home, buys an auto, eats too
much and generally gets into the
luxurious habits of the rich.
His newspaper begins to take on
his point of view. He is gentler in
handling news and comment about
the men he is now associating with,
and he gets farther and farther
away from, and out. of sympathy
with, the average citizen especially
the worker.
The publisher's point of view
changes. He sees things from the
money side. The atmosphere in
which he hves is the atmosphere that
influences the paper's policy. He be
comes more tolerant of the weak
nesses of the rich and less tolerant
of the weaknesses of the working
class.
He may be just as conscientious as
he was at the start if he was"con
scientious at the start but he sees
things from an entirely different
point of view.
But it i3 degeneracy just the same.
He isn't the man he was when life
wasn't so soft for him. He only likes
the working class theoretically; he
prefers to associate with the soft
clothes crowd. And, as he looks in
his mirror, he looks good to himself
in evening clothes.
He's on the toboggan and doesn't
know it.
His paper, once successful, will
travel on its shape a long tinie. News
paper reading is a habit a hard one
to break. The salvation of some of
the successful papers that have
grown rich, fat, lazy and reaction
ary Is the news monopoly of the As
sociated Press in the morning field.
That keeps some papers going when
they should be dead.
It is different in the evening news
paper field, and tjiat field is growing.
Anybody can get the United Press
service, and it's a better service for
evening newspapers than the Asso
ciated Press. It grants no exclusive
franchises.
That opens the field to radicals to
crowd the conservatives out when
they groW rich and lose their useful-.
ness. It saves the country from an
absolute monopoly in the distribution
of news to the people.
A Bluff That Was Called. I re
member reading not long ago an in
terview with W. J. Burns, in which
he said he knew the man who killed
Mary Phagen at Atlanta, and that
he would prove the innocence of Leo
Prank. That was right after the
Burns agency was hired to savev
Frank from death.
Now the news comes from Atlanta
that Burns has failed to make good
his boast Numerous witnesses
whose alleged affidavits were sub
mitted by the defense to clear Frank
have been repudiated by the, wit
neses themselves, knocking dowij
the new defense that tried to hang
the murder on a negro.
Another story came from Marietta,
Ga., near Atlanta, to the effect that
Burns left that town in an awful
hurry and a shower of eggs, thrown
by an angry crowd in that girlhood
home of Mary Phagen. And at At
lanta attorneys for the state hurled
1 charges at the defense of bribery,

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