Ouch, Boston Herald!

From the 1944 book, “The Disappearing Daily.”

On Tuesday, I posted a Chicago Daily News headline asking – in 1978 – if print journalism was an endangered species. After seeing that, retired Minneapolis Star Tribune copy editor Bruce Adomeit sent a link to the 1944 book, “The Disappearing Daily,” by Oswald Garrison Villard. You can read it here.

What the press critic wrote about other news outlets in 1944:
The Associated Press: “One of its besetting sins is that it has always bowed down before authority and rarely ever stood up to the government in any controversy until its decision to fight the government’s suit against it. It is the first to take orders from Washington, for it desires above all else to stand well with every administration, if only to make sure it gets the news.” (page 42)

New York Times: “In America no other journal approaches it in the volume of news and coverage of the world. No important journalist can possibly do without it, and it has literally made itself indispensable to anyone who desires to be thoroughly informed as to what is happening on this globe. To miss even an issue is a detriment to all who deal with foreign affairs.” (page 78)

New York Daily News: “The Daily News is less vulgar than formerly and it is fortunate in not having to resort to some of the devices which keep many publications, notably in the magazine field, afloat. Its cheap paper and black headlines give it a worse and cheaper aspect than it really deserves.” (page 104)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Any honor roll of American journalism must place the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the head of the distinguished, politically independent, and outstandingly honest American newspapers.” (page 119)

Chicago Tribune: “The Tribune has risen to great financial success and maintained it despite depressions, wars, and periods of great unpopularity. …In its local news it is as biased and inaccurate as many of our metropolitan dailies, and it has never hesitated to reveal malice in its reports of the doings and utterances of those whom it does not like.” (page 128)

Gannett newspapers: “Mr. [Frank E.] Gannett has had the wisdom not to make [his newspapers] all look alike in make-up and typography as is the case with the Hearst and other chains; he has preserved their individuality, and has not overloaded them with star contributors and correspondents.” (page 158)

* “The Disappearing Daily: Chapters in American Newspaper Evolution”