Reporters And Reporters

This article in the July 23, 1877 edition of the Daily Alleganian and Times describes incidents stemming from the vast number of reporters who had arrived to cover the strike.

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During the past three or four days we have been overrun by quite a small army of reporters. The whole batch divides itself naturally into two classes—it may be strange that there should not be more than two, when you allow for all sorts of personalities, but such is the fact.

To the first belongs the thoughtful, well-bred observing man, with all his faculties on the alert, who knows just where to go for his news and how to get it. Like a wood-chopper felling a tree no useless blow is delivered. It is a pleasure to talk to him. He is chary of "leading" questions, but in a few moments you find that all your big money, small change and even coppers have gone into his pocket; that he has got all your facts and opinions to boot; and he hasn't pulled a pencil.

Let me illustrate by an incident that happened at the Queen City Hotel on Saturday afternoon, shortly after the arrival of the troops from Keyser. An old times friend of the writer, a reporter from Philadelphia, walked with us to the hotel to get the facts about the movement of the troops, etc. In a few moments our friend was talking in his quiet, grave way with one of the officers, the chat lasting perhaps ten minutes to the evident mutual enjoyment of both. They were still chatting on the verandah of the hotel when up comes a newcomer, pencil in one hand and note-book in the other. He was limp and sweaty; about him hung the odor of dubious whisky and vile tobacco.

Without any preliminary word whatever he blurted out to the officer, "Are you going to make your headquarters here?" "None of your business, sir," was the prompt and settling reply.

The class represented by the snubbed youngster is a compound of brass, watch-spring, bad manners, slangish, smartishness and cheap fluency in writing. See him flying about among the crowds at the depot, interrogating Tom, Dick and Harry, and the unknowing might fancy that all that nimble leg and pencil movement was doing much execution. Nothing of the kind.

About this Document

  • Source: Daily Alleganian and Times
  • Date: July 23, 1877