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Source: Buffalo Courier
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Night Scenes in Press Tent”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Buffalo, New York
Date of publication: 9 September 1901
Volume number: 66
Issue number: 252
Pagination: [4?]

“Night Scenes in Press Tent.” Buffalo Courier 9 Sept. 1901 v66n252: p. [4?].
full text
Milburn residence (outdoors: setup, conditions, activity, etc.); McKinley assassination (news coverage); McKinley assassination (use of telephone).
Named persons
William McKinley.


Night Scenes in Press Tent


Newspaper Men Are Working Overtime in Watching the Milburn Home
for News of His Condition
Their Tent Is Supplied with Telegraph and Telephone Communication
Many Hours Without Sleep.

     In a small, yellowish white tent at the junction of Del[a]ware Avenue and Ferry Street is centered the hopes and fears of a nation and the anxiety of a civilized world. The tent shelters the newspaper men and from there are sent the bulletins which inform the world of the condition of President McKinley.
     Throughout the world there is untold anxiety and a nameless dread. In the press tent is a nervous tension that is making itself apparent in the countenances of the tireless watchers. Every fractional change in the pulse or temperature of the President is given to the world from the tent. The nation is waiting for every reported condition with an anxiety that amounts almost to impatience. There is but one topic of conversation in America and the speculations and the truths of that topic come from the men gathered in the tent.
     In the tent are men who have not been out of their clothes since the day of the shooting of the President, nor have they had even an hour’s sleep. They must watch the Milburn residence with a vigilance that can permit of the escape of no important change in the President’s condition. The world is informed of the President through them.


     The tent is furnished for the rapid transmission of news, and comfort was not a consideration in its appointments. A long table extends from end to end of the tent. Here sits a force of telegraph operators flashing bulletins and details of the hour to every center of trade. The tables are piled high with telegraph blanks and paper for the use of the correspondents. There are several benches in the tent and two chairs. The light is furnished by three small kerosene lanterns and a street car headlight. At one end of the tent a telephone connects with an office in Ellicott Square in order to relieve the congestion of the wires. That is all the tent contains except the men themselves.
     The first night only Buffalo newspaper men were on watch, and they were stationed at the McKinley [sic] house. A few outside papers had representatives in Buffalo when the shooting occurred, but for the most part, the world had to depend on the energies of the men employed in Buffalo for the news. Early Saturday morning the influx of out-of-town newspaper correspondents set in. Immediately upon receipt of the first bulletin announcing the shooting of the President, the papers in the large cities hurried men of their staff to Buffalo. The most brilliant and capable men were sent, accompanied by photographers and artists. Buffalo is the news center of the world today and the men are not needed at home.
     Yesterday morning’s vigil in the press tent was a trying one for the reporters assigned there. Not a man of them had received anything like refreshing sleep and few had slept at all. It was deathly quiet outside the tent and inside was comparative silence. The man who attempted to keep awake by relating stories was illy repaid for his pains. There was not a laugh in that exhausted group of correspondents.


     At 3 o’clock yesterday morning a chilling wind blew up that crept in, under and through the flaps of the tent and made the lot of the correspondents a hard one. There were no blankets or coverings of any sort for the reporters. They were mostly without vests, and dressed for hot weather. They shivered and shook with the cold, and kept one eye on timepieces and another on the Milburn house. Circulation of the blood was necessary for warmth and some of the men joined the ceaseless patrol of the guards. They smoked furiously, both to keep awake and in the remote hope that the tobacco was warming.
     Every person entering the Milburn residence is noted for identification and in most instances stopped for a word by the reporters. A bulletin stirs the camp into life, there is a skurry [sic] for telephones, most of the papers having hired instruments outright for their exclusive use.


     The Courier has a telephone directly opposite the Milburn residence. Many of the men have to go three blocks to secure a ’phone. In critical times and with important news to communicate, The Courier has an advantage of ten minutes over the men who have any distance to go and therefore run the risk of a congested wire.
     Among the pr[e]ss representatives are men whose names are well known in newspaper circle[s]. Meetings occur now and then between men who possibly worked side by side in China, Cuba, the Philippines or other out-of-the-way places. But there is an indifferent interest in the conversation even among old friends met for the first time in years born of the nervous strain and tension of the hour.



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