Old Newspapers

If you picked up a copy of my newspaper 103 years ago, I hope you would be able to read Swedish. This week marks the anniversary of the transition for the Nordstjernan to the North Star, and I am writing a feature story about it.

A Mr. Guderlian purchased the business from a Mr. Gilbert, waiting a week for the editor to vacate the office, and came in to clean house. New graphics, new name, new language; Mr. Guderlain meant business. To set the tone for his editorial tenure, he prints the following column.

In assuming charge of the North Star management is not unmindful of the many responsibilities that come to those who control the public press. In times like these when greed for money is looked upon more often as a virtue than a sin, when politicians by corrupt means buy their way into legislative bodies, when money bars the passage of good laws which a deserving people needs, when such conditions exist, it is not surprising that the newspaper, perhaps the most influential power today in swaying public opinion, should be preyed upon as an agent for accomplishing dishonest and polluted purposes. There are too many instances which need not here be stated in this country where the biggest pile of money owns the public press which is thereby used to forward the scheme of the “boodler” and thwart the will of honest people. To those therefore who control the public press, who use it as a medium of informing and influencing the public will the greatest of responsibilities be attached. An ordinary newspaper speaks to larger audiences than most public speakers, How important is it therefore that the literature of the public press should be honest in purpose, true in facts and uplifting in character. Establish the public press on such a standard and the people will be given one of the most powerful weapons for the development of good citizenship and good government. There are hundreds of newspapers in the land that are servings the people. There are likewise hundreds of other that are serving the boss, ring and the corporation.

As I read this passage, I felt that I could publish it as is in next week’s Opinion section. It seems that Presidents, economies, and technologies come and go, but journalists will always be fighting the good fight for truth, justice, and the American Way.

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