5. Look of the News

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    The Chicago Tribune after the Great Chicago Fire. October, 1871.
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    The Cleveland News after the Collinwood Fire. March, 1908.
The spinning newspaper cliché relies on banner headlines that came into common use near the turn of the twentieth century.

fancy-divider-520-50px2-webThe new generation of mass-circulation dailies looked and read very differently from their predecessors. The staid and rigid columns of print that structured newspaper pages well into the 1880s gave way to flamboyant illustrations, elaborate advertising, and multi-column headlines screaming across the width of front pages. In 1871, When four square miles of quotation-marks-gray-3-webThe staid and rigid columns of print that structured newspaper pages well into the 1880s gave way to flamboyant illustrations, elaborate advertising, and multi-column headlines screaming across the width of front pages.quotation-marks-gray-closing-3
downtown Chicago burnt to the ground and hundreds died, the Chicago Tribune provided no pictures or illustrations.  It kept its columns straight and pushed a slightly enlarged headline all the way to the left.  In 1908, on the day after the Collinwood fire, The Cleveland News presented a more visually flamboyant layout.  The language of news reporting also changed to simpler sentences and a more emotive vocabulary toward the end of the 1800s. Papers such as The Cleveland News sought not to capture the literate or even necessarily the politically engaged citizen, but to inform and entertain urban, often immigrant working and middle-class audiences who often had only partial fluency in English.camera victorian orange transparent

In the eyes of the most innovative publishers of the era, newspapers democratized cities built around vast social inequalities.  They informed and engaged anyone with one cent to spend. As E. W. Scripps, autica-saturday-globe-small-800pxThe Saturday Globe March 14, 1908. CPL. The Globe colorized an image of the fire and added sensational flames. They also published a photograph of corpses at the morgue. newspaper tycoon particularly committed to a working-class readership (and publisher of The Cleveland Press) put it, the newspaper should be “the mouthpiece, the apologist, the defender and advocate of the wage-earning class.”  Scripps newspapers frequently turned a “searchlight . . . upon the predatory raid of the millionaire. . . the corporations . . . and the corruption of the railroads.” Joseph Pulitzer, who did not share all of Scripps’s political leanings, published The World not for elites and the best educated readers but as “a daily school house and a daily forum–both a daily teacher and a daily tribune.” William Randolph Hearst, publisher of the New York Journal, was even more direct: “It is the Journal’s policy to engage the brains as well as get the news, for the public is even more fond of entertainment than it is of information.”dagger2-web

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    Introduction
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    2. Postcards
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    3. News on the Street
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    4. Public Square
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    5. The Look of the News
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    6. Illustrations
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    7. Information
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    8. Glenn Sanderson
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    9. Fire Heroines
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    10. Fritz Hirter
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    11. Stereotypes & Sorrow
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    12. Memory & Witness
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    Home

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