Pulitzer and The World

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Images via Library of Congress

pulitzerI saw a great documentary on Joseph Pulitzer (left) the other night which of course was a lot about the New York World, which he published from 1860 until his death in 1911, after that his sons ran the paper (into the ground) and then in 1931, it merged with the New York Telegram to become the World-Telegram and then years later, in 1950, became the World-Telegram and Sun. You can see the Pulitzer documentary in full at PBS’s American Masters here. The story is great along with the images of the old newspapers and offices and of course, old black and white movies of street scenes and society at the time.

What was interesting about The World was that it seemed to have everything, especially on Sundays. It would print dress patterns, color comics, cut outs that kids could play with and had stories that were not breaking news, but features. Pulitzer and his staff would seek out human interest stories, which was a first for its time. He also designed interesting layouts and pages which were completely different than what was standard at the time – rows and rows of columns.

The World was one of the first newspapers to run comic strips and it started with the Yellow Kid which was stolen by Hearst his New York Journal (later the Journal-American).

One interesting item the documentary talks about was timing. When Pulitzer began publishing The World, New Yorkers started taking public transportation more often and the newspapers at the time were a perfect diversion on city transit.

I always loved old photos of the World building down on Park Row, across from city Hall. It’s gone as of 1955, and I found out from the Pulitzer documentary that it was due to Robert Moses, who seemed to destroy a lot of NYC in the name of progress, including the demise of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to which my father has not forgiven him to this day. Moses demolished the World and Times to build another ramp for the Brooklyn Bridge.

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These clocks can still be seen on the Sun Building today at 280 Broadway.

The Sun building was next door, but eventually moved to 280 Broadway, on the other side of City Hall,  where the is still today. Clocks on each corner show the name – “The Sun – It shines for all.” The Sun came back in the early 2000s but is only online now.

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Beautiful newspaper row.

The New York Tribune building was demolished in 1966 and is now Pace University.

The New York Times building at 41 Park Row is still there today. People mistakenly have claimed over the years that it was demolished for the Brooklyn Bridge entrance, too, but that is not the case. It is also part of Pace University today.

Of course, one of my favorites was the Herald, up on Herald Square, which is now an ugly box building housing Santander Bank and CVS, catty corner to Macy’s.

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The New York Herald.

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Outside the Tribune Building.

The World Newspaper

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NY Post has the best headlines

The New York Post has two of the best headlines this week.

Today’s paper is about Jeff Bezos being blackmailed by David Pecker.

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If you haven’t seen the news, Bezos, owner of Amazon and the Washington Post is being blackmailed by David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer. Pecker is threatening to expose Bezo’s pecker, literally, he has naked pictures of him. Story here.

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Yesterday’s cover is a play on the slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers.” The top guys in the state are all in some sort of trouble for either donning black face in their youth or sexual harassment. Story here.

These headlines are right up there with the NY Post’s 1983 headline: “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar.”

The best!

 

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Should old newspaper comics make way for new ones?

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The Columbus Dispatch (love that name Dispatch, for a newspaper), dropped the daily reruns of Peanuts, they say they have been paying thousands of dollars a year for the rights to print the reruns. While it’s true that Peanuts is a money machine, should new features be run in the newspapers, leaving the legacy strips to online locations?

I’ve always felt that when a cartoonist retires or dies, the feature should go with them. I sort of was hesitant after reading the Cartoonist Round Table article awhile back, I wrote about it here. But should the comics pages make way for new features when a cartoonist is done?

I do enjoy Dick Tracy and Nancy, which have new cartoonists and writers but I also read them online, like I read most of the comics now. I rarely read them in the newspapers, for one thing, the newspaper editors have terrible taste and they don’t run the comics I like, for another thing, they are too small to read in the newspapers. I also posted an image once of one Sunday page where the panels were smaller than postage stamps!

I think most readers these days read the comics online, simply because most readers are younger and that’s where they get their news and entertainment and the newspapers are dropping many comics and features as they tighten up the printed paper.

There is an interesting column in Tedium, called, “Rethinking the Funny Pages,” where writer Ernie Smith says the newspapers comics are starting to “age out.” The column was written in February after Mort Walker’s death and the change over of Nancy. He also claims that the future of comics is online. It’s an interesting read.

Hanging out on Sullivan Street

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Here’s a great photo from the 1930s – a bunch of boys hanging out on Sullivan Street in Brooklyn. I like that the boy at top reading the newspapers looks as if he’s reading the comics. It sort of looks like the Daily News Sunday comics section. Doesn’t it?

Cut and paste

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Years ago I worked for a local newspaper, it published three days a week, that is where I got my start in the newspaper business. It was the mid-80s. I remember my boss telling me that one day, there would be a thing called “pagination,” where the whole page would come out as one thing – the headlines, the columns, the photos. We all stood back  in awe at the thought of that.

At the time, everything was done separately, we used exacto knives or razor blades to cut and past, I preferred the blades. We had a waxing machine and waxed the stuff and placed it down on blue-lined boards. I remember years before that I went on a tour of The New York Times, I think it was in junior high school, and they had the hot type method which is really ancient by today’s standards.

One machine was used just to create headlines, another for the columns of text. For the photos, we cut in red material that came out clear when shot in the back camera room and the photos which were shot separately were then stripped in. It was a process.

I remember when I started my own graphics business a few years later and we had Compugraphic machinery that actually allowed us to change the fonts on demand! We didn’t have to stop the whole operation and change fonts.

When computers started being used in the process, I asked one of my brothers who was in the computer business if he knew of a way where we could change fonts on the computer. He said there is possibly a way but it would be hard to program. I just wanted a few fonts to switch back and forth from. Crazy to think of now, huh where we have thousands of fonts at our disposal.

My comics had brought me to the newspapers business. I had submitted a bunch to the newspaper and they called me to come in one time, when I went in I found out that they weren’t interested in my comics, but they wanted me to work at the newspapers in the production department, which ended up being my design future to this day.

I did draw a lot for them though, I did a lot of cartoon work for ads that people placed and also I did political stuff. I’m sure I have those old newspapers somewhere, probably in my parents’ garage or something. I need to go look for them.

Visiting the New York Herald again

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This image of Herald Square is from 1903.

I’m not sure why I am obsessed these days with the old New York Herald building. This past summer I spent a lot of time in front of the old site looking at it. It’s an ugly mid century (1960s) square block building now with a bank and drugstore in the space.

I was standing to the right of the trolley shown at the right of this photo; standing right in front of the site. Macy’s is the left today.

One day I was on my way to meet a friend to see Hello Dolly, 10 blocks away, and on the way I stopped here and just contemplated the location. So much history is still in New York, but so much is gone. I saw Hello Dolly in the Shubert Theater, which was opened in 1913. The Herald building was standing at the same time a few blocks away.

The Herald building opened in 1894 and they left around 1924 after a 30 year lease. A clothing store took over the location and retrofitted the newspaper offices and press room but around 1940, the building was demolished for the ugly new structure that is there today, which is almost 80 years old. The actual newspapers only lasted in that location for 30 years.

You would think Herald Square would have kept the Herald building. Times Square still has the Times building. It’s behind all those neon signs, you have to look hard to see it.

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The ugly building that replaced the NY Herald at Herald Square.