Source: Idle Comments
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “In and About a Newspaper Office” [chapter 1]
Author(s): Avery, Isaac Erwin
Publisher: Stone Publishing Co.
Place of publication: Charlotte, North Carolina
Year of publication: 1912
Pagination: 1-19 (excerpt below includes only pages 1-3)
|Avery, Isaac Erwin. “In and About a Newspaper Office” [chapter 1]. Idle Comments. Charlotte: Stone Publishing, 1912: pp. 1-19.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|William McKinley (death: news coverage); Charlotte Observer.|
This book is copyrighted for 1905; however, the year 1912 is given on the title page.
From title page: By Isaac Erwin Avery, Late City Editor of the Charlotte Observer.
In and About a Newspaper Office [excerpt]
THE public is probably now able to understand the strain that
has been upon newspapers in recent days. The burden of a great crisis has rested
severely upon the daily press. Its members, part of the machine, have had personal
feeling, also, but everything with them had to be subordinated to the ever-pressing
task of conveying correct intelligence to the world.
Blessed with favorable service, The Observer was one of the only two papers in the State that sent out from their own towns early yesterday morning the news of the President’s death. The statement is made not boastfully; for the mere purpose of this writing is to explain what the fateful news meant to a morning paper in Charlotte, far removed from the more densely populated centres.
The sending of the news and the manner of the send-  ing was not a little thing, and there is pardonable pride in this saying. Early in the night the despatches [sic] had showed that the end was to be expected at any time, and in preparation for the sad certainty, all matter outside of press service was ordered to be rushed, and was rushed.
There was but little talk in the print shop. Every man waited—and waited.
At 2 o’clock the forms from which the paper is printed were scattered lead and iron. A fateful wire was to decide the exact mode of their arrangement and until it came there could be but indecision. And the time for carrying those forms to the press room, in some shape, was drawing nigh.
At 2:17 o’clock the paper’s Associated Press operator received the wire announcing the death of the President. The message came out to the composing room, and a dozen and more men breathed a prayer for time.
The mailing clerk had received orders that would require The Observer to issue the largest edition ever sent out. The staff and the mechanical force knew that the paper, to make the mails, must go to press an hour earlier than usual, and this demanded all that mind and quickness could do.
System won out. Every man kept down nerves and worked for what he knew he must do and do quickly. The minutes passed—and the press downstairs waited.
And the paper won out. In just exactly an hour after the telegram was received the forms were in the press. No mail was missed, and, at every point that The Ob-  server reached, its distribution was unprecedented in its history.