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Capital's regular place for the most im- government. Sometimes when people portant news.
have asked me if the paper was not a Along with this news item I printed failure, as the press reports for the a call for famine relief asking the read- most part said it was, I have replied ers of the news to send in contribu- that if it accomplished nothing more tions. This appeal followed the ac- than saving several thousand children count of the famine on the front page from starving to death I should always I may say that I still believe that news feel that the paper was a success. of this kind should be edited; that edi- Besides the shipload of corn that torial comment on great world-events was contributed, I forwarded from the should be made directly on the page Capital office that week and for weeks which prints the event. The first great afterward money contributions for the daily in this country to print editorial famine amounting to more than $40,comment directly under Associated 000, which were disbursed by different Press news calling for such comment church and missionary organizations. will have a reading that editorials This money came from all over the printed on the editorial page do not world in response to an appeal that now have. Very much of what is took up less than two inches of space called news needs intelligent comment in the paper. in order to be understood by the aver. During the remainder of the week age reader of newspapers. In very the Christian Herald carried a halfmany cases the newspaper reader does page advertisement making an appeal not know what the news item means. for the people of India, and stating The editor ought to be able to tell him that the British Secretary of State If the editorial were written immedi- for India would pay all transporately under the news it would be read. tation charges for food sent from It is a question whether the average America. The Herald received in reeditorial in the regular dailies of this sponse to that appeal over $100,000 in country is read by more than two per cash, besides the shipload of corn given cent of the readers. If it were written by the Kansas farmers. It is within with the news everyone would read it. modest bounds to say that over $150,If editorials are written to be read, why000 worth of food and relief was sent not put them where the reader will to a starving people from the first item read them?
of real news published in the Topeka As a direct result of the appeal for Daily Capital of March 13, 1900. I help in the case of the famine sufferers, hope the reader of this article will not a trainload of Kansas corn was sent by think that I write in any spirit of cheap Kansas farmers to New York, and the boastfulness. I am trying to tell the Christian Herald of New York char- whole story of that week's experiment tered a ship and sent the cargo to as if I stood outside of it. If anyone Bombay, where it was handled by the else knew all the facts, I should be missionaries and distributed all over more than glad to have him tell them. the famine district. In correspondence It may be interesting to those who which came to me months afterward, did not see the paper to know what the missionaries told me that this subjects were discussed in the week's Kansas corn saved thousands of chil- issues, which were being published as dren from starving, and I have learned nearly as possible according to the that some of them have since held re- standard of what I thought Jesus sponsible positions under the British might do. Considering the fact that a
going on ar pirit De
Were the war
majority of the newspaper correspond- remarkable series of articles by Mr. ents characterized the paper as deadly F. D. Coburn, at the time Secretary of dull and a failure as a newspaper, it Agriculture in Kansas; these articles seems no more than fair to let the went all over the world and were copied actual contents of the paper speak for in scores of journals); Social Settlethemselves. Here are the titles of ments; Against War (written by Dr. some of the articles published, and Parkhurst of New York); Sunday some of the news items discussed, School Lessons; The Churches of either editorially or on a news page: – Topeka; Letters from Ministers; The
Starving India; The War-Spirit De Armenian Massacres (a protest against nounced (wars going on at the time them); Disease Prevention. were the war in the Philippines and These were, of course, only a very the Boer War); Is the Boer War few of the topics discussed in the six Just? (answer, no); New Books (with issues of the paper. All of the outside reviews by well-known authors); contributions were freely given, as all Federal Reforms; Against Cigarettes; the writers agreed to the plan of no Kindergarten Schools; The Philippines compensation. Among the many con(a history of their internal affairs tributors were Bishop John H. Vincent, then published for the first time); who wrote the prayer printed above Letters from Famous People; Sunday the news on the first page; Dr. J. E. Observance (advocated); Market Re- Abbott, Bombay Mission; C. N. Howports (abbreviated on account of ard, Rochester, N. Y.; F. D. Coburn; some questionable transactions on Governor W. E. Stanley of Kansas; the stock market at the time); Prison Dr. F. W. Gunsaulus; Whitelaw Reid; Reform; Liquor Advertisements in Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Magazines (a protest against them – David J. Brewer; Leonard D. Abbott; this protest was followed by letters Frank Beard, the cartoonist. Mr. written by prominent people in Kan- Myron A. Waterman also contributed sas, and most of the advertisements some very telling cartoons. were dropped by the magazines when If the paper was characterized by their contracts ran out); Kansas most of the newspaper correspondents Millers; Livestock Market; Mor- as dull, it is also true that the submonism (its menace); The Tax scribers received their money's worth Dodger (with a cartoon by a well- in contributed articles which would be known artist, M. A. Waterman); The able to stand comparison with any Union of the Churches (advocated; table of contents in any periodical of a front page editorial); Woman Suf- the present time. frage (advocated); Extracts from the One reason for the assumption that National Brewers' Journal Conceding the Christian Daily was dull and uninProgress of Prohibition in Kansas; teresting may be found in the fact that Municipal Ownership (advocated); crime and scandal and sensational diIn Labor's Behalf (a plea for bet- vorce cases were absent from its pages. ter housing-conditions); Appeal for When crime was reported it was reCleaner Humor; Tenement House ported briefly and the emphasis was Reform; League of Mothers (advo- placed on the cause, and if possible on cated); Police Department (a plea the remedy. This is the only scientific for decent wages); Women's Clubs; way to report crime. It is the way the The Y. W. C. A. (appeal for endow- Bible always reports it, and the Bible is ment); Dairying in Kansas (a very the most scientific world-news reporter that was ever compiled. It is childish count of the tragedy which came up and useless to report human frailty from Kansas City, in which there was simply for the sake of creating a morbid a detailed description of the room mental sensation in the reader; yet this where the young man was found, and is the regular and stupid fashion of re more than a hint at some motive for porting human sin adopted by those suicide other than that given in the dailies which print elaborate stories of note which he had left for his father. human lapses. The rule which the It seemed to me at the time, it does Capital observed during the week that yet, and it always will, that such it was a Christian Daily was the Bible human tragedy should be reported, if rule, and in time that will be the rule at all, in the briefest and most sympaobserved by all the daily Press. thetic manner. I see nothing to be
A signal opportunity to practise this gained by relating the ghastly details method of dealing with sensational of human sin. Even the tremendous news occurred in the office of the Capi- story of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas tal itself during the week I was in is told in the Gospel narrative in a charge. Senator Peffer of Kansas, who space less than one third the length of a was as highly respected and honored newspaper column, and the stupendous by his townspeople generally as he was event of the Crucifixion occupies what caricatured and dishonored by the would be less than a single column in a public that did not know him, had a modern metropolitan daily. Yet the son who happened to be an employee great dailies will give whole pages to a in the advertising department of our robbery in which some silly woman's paper. During the week, this son of the jewels have been taken from her hotel; Kansas senator went down to Kansas and they will keep it up for weeks at a City, and in a fit of despondency com- time. mitted suicide, leaving a note ad- The greatest examples we have of dressed to his father, saying, ‘Father, ideal reporting of wrongdoing are in I don't like to do what I am doing, but the New Testament, and they are I am tired.
ideal because they do not attempt to The fact of the suicide was published report improper detail. briefly in the Thursday edition of the paper, together with the note he had left, and after the item I wrote, “The Capital extends to Senator Peffer and The Capital, being a morning paper, his family profound sympathy in the had a regular Sunday edition, and, time of their trouble. May the God of owing to the fact that Sunday papers all comfort bless and strengthen all were then and are yet repugnant to me, those who mourn.'
it was at first something of a problem The news of the suicide reached one to know how we were going to give our of the Capital reporters before we re- subscribers a week's issues. But with ceived it in the office, and I remember the combined and willing coöperation how he came running in with it to me, of everyone on the paper, and with asking for instructions about going enormous loss of sleep and meals, we right up to Senator Peffer's home to in- issued a Saturday afternoon edition in terview the family so as to get inside place of the Sunday paper. This edifacts about the affair. I not only re- tion was off the press at eleven-fifteen fused to let any reporter go to the Saturday morning, in spite of the fact house, but I turned down a long ac- that the Saturday morning issue did
or: M with the sold
not come off the press until 2.30 a red-letter Bible. I think it may A.M. One aid in the overcoming of safely be said that after recovering what seemed superhuman difficulties from the shock caused by getting a for a newspaper which possessed every paper without any news in it many of handicap in the way of imperfect the subscribers read for the first time, equipment and ridiculously cramped perhaps, the whole of the Sermon on physical quarters was the fact that the Mount, and it may have been most of the matter for the Saturday news to some of them. afternoon edition had been set up in In an editorial printed on the front advance, as the entire edition was made page I took occasion to preach a little up of extracts from the Bible and arti sermon on the value of Sunday as a cles about the Bible. There was not one day of rest and worship. I also said to line of local or national or world-news the subscribers, "There has been no in the Saturday afternoon Capital Sunday work on this paper. The press
The main heading of this edition and mailing work stopped before midwas "The Bible: The Basis of Our night. The carriers have been inChristian Civilization. The leading structed to deliver their papers in sentences at the head of the first column time to reach home themselves before were from Daniel Webster's Epitaph, Sunday. There will be no papers sold written by himself and copied from his or delivered on Sunday with the aptomb at Marshfield, Massachusetts: – proval of the editor. May God bless Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine un
the Press of the world to the glory of belief. Philosophical argument, especially
His kingdom on earth.' that drawn from the vastness of the universe in comparison with the apparent insignificance of this globe, has sometimes shaken my reason for the faith that is in Years afterward, during the campaign me; but my heart has assured me that the of the Flying Squadron, — an organGospel of Jesus Christ must be a divine ized body of Prohibitionists under the reality. The Sermon on the Mount cannot
leadership of Governor Hanly of Inbe a merely human production. The whole
diana, touring the United States in the history of man proves it.
interests of national Prohibition, — it Immediately following this came the was my privilege as a member of the Sermon on the Mount, printed from company to speak in every state, and the revised version, entire. It occupied in every capital of every state, of the less than two columns. The remainder Union. We were in 247 towns and of the paper, which was the regular cities in 243 days, and I think there eight-page form, was filled, outside the was hardly a place in which someone advertising space, with Bible quota- did not come up after a meeting and tions and Bible teaching. Some of the say, “We took the Capital the week topics were: Usury; The Sabbath; you had charge of it. On a few occaMoney and Riches; Marriage; Evil of sions, so few that I do not recall even Drink; War; The Future; The Love the states in which they occurred, Chapter.
someone would say, 'I subscribed for There was a history of the Bible your paper but never got it.' Then I contributed by the American Bible So- would have to feel for a quarter of a ciety. The Christian Herald's adver- dollar, and promise to send a copy tisement in this Saturday afternoon when I got home if I could find one. issue was given up entirely to featuring But considering the fact that subscrip
man around for the ax so few complaz the three
lis, sit francs. To vars
tions were sent in from all over the jail; one thousand was given to Washworld, accompanied often with pen- burn College, and the balance to the manship of the sort that makes editors Young Men's Christian Association feel around for the waste-paper basket, and the Orphans' Home. it is surprising that so few complaints During the week I averaged about came in to the Capital office after the three hours' sleep a day. I had a room week was over.
at a hotel and went home only once. Payment of subscriptions was made If I had to do it again, I should not in every conceivable shape, stamps, change in any radical way the main money orders, bills, silver coin. Ger- plan of the paper. It remains to be man marks and French francs probably seen whether what was only an experimade their first appearance in Topeka ment may sometime become a fact. that week. Seven thousand dollars I think it is safe to say that in my corworth of stamps was received, hun respondence for weeks after the Capital dreds of dollars' worth from foreign week I had hundreds of letters asking countries, and it was months before if a paper along the same line could these could be cashed, as the banks not be established. No one, however, and business houses had to handle came forward with the millions necesthem through their correspondents. sary to establish it. And a Christian
People sent the silver quarters glued daily, like any other, would have to be and fastened in various ways to paper. endowed or financed with a large We had to soak the paper off by throw- amount. But the kingdom of God ing the coins into tubs of water. One cometh not with observation. night one of these tubs, owing to the fact that every place for locking up
VII money after banking hours had been used, was shoved under a counter in In looking over the press notices the office room. The Negro janitor which commented on the paper, I find stumbled upon it, and in dismay he that the most frequent criticism, made ran in to the press foreman shouting, oftener by ministers than by anyone 'Bob, all the money in the world is in a else, was the severe objection to the washtub under the front counter! thought of Jesus' taking any part in
One hundred and thirty-five tons of such a prosaic and material thing as a paper and six barrels of ink were used daily paper. The terms ‘blasphemous,' to print the issues. The cost of these 'sacrilegious,' 'irreverent,' are used to two items was $60,000. Ninety thou- describe what the critics called an irsand dollars were received in subscrip religious attempt to think of Jesus as tions, and over a hundred persons were participating in any of the common employed in the office and pressroom. everyday things that mere human be
In the opening editorial of March 13, ings have to do for a living. I said I would receive no financial This thought of Jesus in history is so compensation, but that a share of the strange to me that I cannot let this profits, if there were any, would be criticism of an attempt to imitate Him given to some benevolent work. At in the work of journalism pass without the end of the week $5000 was de comment. The entire concept of Chrisposited in the bank to my order. One tianity, to my mind, is stripped of thousand was sent to the India Fam- its tremendous meaning if we do not ine Fund; one thousand was used to think of Jesus as more vitally interbuild a hospital room for the county ested in the common doings of men
theo was shoved ing hours hadhg up