The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960

Carry Natio i exras
SAM WOOLFORD
A A NEWSPAPER REPORTER, the writer makes no claim to
being a professional historian. In the role of newsgatherer,
one writes and reports what is seen and said about the
events of history, but unlike the historian, does not attempt to
interpret those facts for anyone else. Certainly, however, the news-
paper reporter's work has never been static; as in the case of doc-
tors, preachers, and teachers, newsgathering has undergone a
process of considerable evolution. Blood-letting doctoring, the
hellfire-and-brimstone brand of preaching, and teaching children
how to spell have long since been abandoned. In the same man-
ner, changes have taken place in the newspaper profession.
The key man on the newspaper is the reporter. He always has
been. The old-time fighting editor was primarily a reporter, but
when he became just an editor, then he became a politician.
Today's columnist is a mongrel. He steals the news from the
reporters and adapts it to his own manner of thinking, despite
the editor of the paper, who is too busy making money to find
out what his paper is saying.
In the beginning newspapers were largely journals which pub-
lished the official documents of government. Few personal opin-
ions were ever expressed by the editor, and local news was not
published. An old newspaper story illustrates this. Half of a town
burned down, and the next week the editor did not mention the
fact. When asked why, he said: "Hell, everybody in town was
there and saw it."
The modern newspaper began to develop largely because of
politics. Early in American civic life the two-party system of local,
state, and national government was developed; and a paper, in
order to be successful, had to get on one side or the other, and
stay there. Thus the leading daily papers in America were known
as Democratic or Republican newspapers.
These journals were the Bibles of their day. They reached their

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/. Accessed July 28, 2014.