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September 24, 1965 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1965-09-24
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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V

7

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

it

PAGE TEN

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1965

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1965

1942:

'But I have experience,

1919:

EDITOR TELLS

BARE

F)

I worked on

The Michigan Daily!'

by JANET HIATT HOOKER
'42 LSA .
IN THE SPRING of 1945, "Don't Fence
Me In" was a hit and so was Sentimen-
tal Journey." Yet to make their bows
and exits in America were The New Look,]
Howdy Doody, and the horse-collared Ed-
sel. Only insiders had heard of Man-
hattan Project. Huntley and Brinkley1
were unknown; so was Milltown. The
country and the world awaited the end
of the war in Europe.
That spring, skills acquired on The
Daily landed me a job whose details I
recall with relish and affection-perhaps
because nothing like it has happened to
me since.
It was a faceless girl at the United
States Employment Service in Washing-
ton who suggested I see Mr. Gold at The
Washington Post. I found him in the
WINX Radio News Room presiding over
seven teletype machines, all angrily jerk-
ing their carriages and dinging their
bells. He looked unhappy.
"The U.S.E.S. sent me," I said. The
aura of gloom made me feel uncertain
and inadequate.
Mr. Gold glanced at the application
listing my work experience and broke his
pencil on the desk. A great, sad sigh
escaped him. "I wish just once they'd
send me someone who'd worked on a
newspaper!"
"But I have," I said. "I worked on The
Michigan Daily."
Mr. Gold granted me a suffering smile.
He had interviewed the college bred be-
fore and he knew all about their inflated
little egos.
"Uh huh. Well, we don't care about
college tidbits here. We air the news."
He went to the throbbing machines, tore
a sheet off each and pointed to a type-
writer. "Here," he said, "take these and
write a 45 line summary. It's silly, I
know, but that's what I want-the news
of the world in 45 lines."
IT WAS A delicious moment because I
knew I could do it.
Twenty minutes and 45 lines later he
asked me to report for work the next
day, $10 more a week if I would take the
night shift, I would.
Our office at the Post was in a back
corner of the third floor. The teletypes
stood like one-armed bandits along one
wall; in the center of the room was a
long table with a pair of Underwoods on
it. A single, huge, screenless window gave
onto the fire escape and the alley below.
A favorite office story concerned a drunk-
en sailor who had ascended the escape,
fallen in the window, opened a jackknife,
picked up the best typewriter and vanish-
ed into the night with his weapon ex-
tended before him and the loot beneath
his arm.
Adjoining the office was an 8 foot
square cubicle from which the news was
broadcast each hour by a "talent man."
A double door arrangement assured quiet
in this sanctum and on one side of it
was a double paned window looking out
on the hallway. Occasionally a stray
sightseer stood out there peering at the
talent man at work but, otherwise, we
were left alone. To my disappointment,
no impressive ON THE AIR sign marked
our door. All we had was a vicious red,
light bulb.
Everything aired by WINX-except the
news-came out of the main studio.
These proceedings were blown, twanged,
sung and shouted 19 hours a day from a
speaker mounted some 12 feet up our
wall. If it was possible to turn down the
volume, I never learned how.
MY NIGHTS on the WINX desk were
easy and routine. I attended the
teletypes, watched for sailors on the fire
escape, swatted at vagrant moths and
wrote a five minute news report each
hour, feeding this copy hot from the Un-
derwood to my talent man who practiced
it aloud across the table with much throat
clearing. My man was a thin, nervous
old fellow of about 30 and he always wore
long-sleeved shirts, dark glasses and a
wide-brimmed hat. On his hands and

face (what could be seen of it) were odd

shaped reddish spots which shifted posi-
tion every day or so. He told me he was
allergic to sunlight.
Twice each evening, at 6 p.m. and again
at 11, we aired the news for 15 minutes.
For these longer broacasts I wrote only
a lead paragraph, then resorted to paste
and scissors to patch together copy from
the wire services. During the broadcasts
themselves I hovered over my machines
hoping to catch some scrap of news im-
portant enough to run into the studio.
To Mr. Gold I think I represented, the
culmination of a series of indignities in
his department. With all the young, able
bodied men off having a hand in the
War, he commanded a ragged troop. Be-
sides our allergy victim, we had a news-
caster who limped. One of our writers
had only one functioning arm and an-
other was an ex-or almost ex-alcoholic
of indeterminate age. I was the first fe-
male to contaminate the radio news room
and this circumstance evidently nagged
at my employer. He told me once in a
rare moment of confidence that he had
had a nightmare about me in which I
had dusted the place, hung curtains at
the fire escape window and decorated
with a bowl of goldfish.
IHAD BEEN at my job ten nights when
Mr. Gold asked if I could come to
work early and go with him to a Presi-
dential Press Conference. Accepting with

alacrity, I set my hair, got into my smart-
est dress and put on a matching hat; I
packed a notebook and extra pencils.
In the White House waiting room out-
side President Truman's office, we joined
a throng of milling reporters. A round
table I remember as at least 15 feet in
diameter filled up with their hats. Off
this hall was a smaller Press Room in-
habited by a table full of telephones and
the private booths belonging to the wire
services. Although we had been checked
in at the gate, a Secret Service man, spot-
ting my infamiliar and probably over-
eager face, asked me again for identifica-
tion. I felt I had arrived at the Big Time.
Mr. Gold kindly gave me a few minutes
to look around before he told me my
function. "Stand here," he said, "and
when the Press Secretary lets us in the
President's office, you grab one of those
telephones, dial the Post, and keep the
line open until I get back."
That's the way it was. In the punish-
ing heat of the Washington afternoons. I
followed Mr. Gold by trolley or taxi keep-
ing my eyes and his lines open. Once, en-
tering an elevator on Capitol Hill, I col-
lided with Francis Biddle. He had ceased
to be Attorney General a few days earlier.
Once, when no one could think of any
better way to get a news release aired, I
was thrust into the breech to read it into
a Man-on-the-Street mike. In the Treas-
ury Building I thought I saw Madame
Perkins in the Ladies Room. When VE

Day came I was on hand to see Merri-
man Smith break an arm bone in the
mad dash around the table full of hats
to the UP phone booth. Never "in" I
nonetheless found the proximity to glory
a heady experience.
THAT SUMMER my night vigils ended
abruptly with the docking of a troop-
ship. The hearth and cradle beckoned.
Mr. Gold, never one for compliments,
politely said he was sorry to see me go.
Maybe the alcoholic had had a lapse that
day, I don't know, or the night man had
got out in the sun by mistake. I said I
was sorry too and I meant it. I bought
Mr. Gold a bowl of fish for his desk and
left him holding the line.
As this is written, after many years of
raising a family, I ask myself, am I ready
for the bowling, bridge and luncheon cir-
cuit, for the lane to the pasture?
I think not, so all that remains is to
push self-doubt aside, to take hold of the
possibilities. In one bold fancy, I sit
again across the desk from Mr. Gold. My
credentials lie exposed to his pitiless eye.
"But you've been unemployed for 20
years!" he gasps.
"No matter," I cry and I seize the sheets
from the chattering teletypes and hasten
to the Underwood to pound out the news
of the world in 45 lines.
It is ridiculous but I think I could still
do it. After all, I once worked on The
Daily.

Acres and Acres of Da'lies

BEHIND
by JAMES MARTIN
'19 LSA
CAST OF CHARACTERSK
James C. J. Martin, '19 . Telegraph E
Editor & Wire News Stenno 1
Miss Rose Mitchell, '19 .. Michigan E
Daily Managing Editor I
Miss Alice Smith,,... . .'21 Stunning 1
blond society editor
George Brownlee, '22 . Frosh reporter
Joseph Bigelow....Elderly Staff
Reporter, Detroit Free Press E
"Shorty" Cunningham . Linotypist,
Compositor, Pressman for Daily
(Names in cast, except author, t
purely fictious to "protect" original
characters.)t
SCENE: Basement of The Daily.
TIME: One cold Michigan night in
December - 10 p.m. Staff
waiting for an Associated
Press phone call on Mich-
igan basketball game results,
before putting the night's
edition to bed.
[T WAS ONE of those memorable, un-
forgetable evenings in The Daily
,hack. Reporters, copy writers, editors,
nd the Telegraph Editor did an excep-
,ionally good job-the paper was ready1
o go to press with the exception of news
in an important intercollegiate game. If
hat came in soon the staff would have
>roken some sort of a record for being
BLUE MONDAYS
THE SITUATION as to publica-
tion (Tuesday through Sunday)
has not changed at The Daily since
John Pritchard '34 was one of the
editors (he now is in publications
work for the Detroit P u b 1 1 i
Schools.)
Pritchard recalls vividly how Guy
Whipple, one of the night editors
and now a, copy editor on the De-
troit News, always answered the
phone:
"Daily except Monday!"
through long before the midnight dead-
line.
"Shorty" Cunningham opened t h e
pressroom door and yelled "Well!! Let's
have it and go home."
"It'll probably be an hour before the
report comes in," Martin shouted back
"Whatyu want me to do-twirl my
thumbs?" "Shorty" snorted. "Why not
play some poker in the reporters' room
downstairs?"
The suggestion went over 100 per cent
and everyone present at that time of
night shuffled downstairs, after ascer-
taining that the front door was locked.
The game lasted about an hour before
the all-important news wire phone rang
and broke it up.
THE STORY was hastily written, set
in type, inserted in the forms and
the paper put to bed. Every student then
dutifully filled out the required "Report

STRIP POKER SCAN

Slip" as had been done in routine fashion
and phrasing on work nights. However,
possessing an urge to be different, Frosh
Brownlee added under the heading "Oth-
er Work Done"-"won $3.00 playing
poker." He showed it to the others pres-
ent and it was laughed off. It was per-
mitted to be filed with the reports which
had not been picked up for months by
the Faculty Advisors.
Bright and early the next morning a
faculty member picked up the reports, in-
cluding the one with Brownlee's notation.
That afternoon the campus was flooded
with the early p.m. edition of a sensa-
tional Detroit newspaper which em-
blazoned its front page in large black
type with the following banner headline:
STRIP POKER PARTY
ON CAMPUS PROPERTY
ROCKS UNIV. OF MICH.
Three or Four Prominent Football
Players and Coeds Involved
in Night Card Game on
University Property
"It was quite a party," declared James
C. J. Martin when interviewed many
years later concerning the affair. "It
was quite a decent and enjoyable eve-
ning. There were no football players in-
volved and the closest to being a 'strip
poker party' was the 'stripping of some
money' by several at the table."
THE REPERCUSSIONS were far reach-
ing. After reading the Detroit story
we all held a private conference to deter-
mine a course of action. It was argued
that 'truth never harmed anyone' so it
was concluded we would not lie or make
excuses but give the true facts if de-
manded. We would not reveal the play-
ers' names unless forced to.
No names were given in the story.
Metropolitan dailies and wire services
obtained the scuttlebut and wanted de-
tails and confirmation. Pressure was
brought to bear upon all the campus
press representatives. Due to the war
and a shortage of men on the student
paper I representedtwo wire services and
six daily newspapers. I obtained a two-
day delay in announcing the names of
the participants, hoping that the excite-
ment would subside or they would forget
the request.
Time ran out and staff reporter Bige-
low of Detroit and myself released the
names in the first news story we ever
had to write about ourselves. I was torn
between a newspaperman's duty to re-
port all the news and the fact that my
father, a former leading editor of the
Rocky Mountain News in Denver, but at
that time editor and owner of his own
newspaper, carrying Associated Press
news, in a bustling Nevada mining town,
might cut off my allowance. I was 2,000
miles away from home and only six
months from graduation. Also, what if
the University kicked me out of school?
W E FOUND OUT later that a faculty
member came to The Daily that
night, tried the front door and couldn't
get in. He saw lights glowering on the
sidewalk from the basement reporters'
room. He peered in, picked up the slips

The man with seniority at The Daily is Lauren Kinsley, 60, who
and pressman since 1924. He is shown here packing mats,
continued in the early sixties. Present staffers recognize Laure
the building after 2 a.m. when the paper has to be rolled a

I

morning.

the next morning and ordered a thor-
ough investigation to explain the nota-
tion, 'Won $3.00 playing poker.'
We were called on the carpet before a
select austere group. Society Editor Alice
Smith, a vivacious coed who would 'do
anything within reason on a dare;-rang-
ing from smashing a raw egg under a re-
porter's typewriter to placing a bag of
eggs in the driver's seat when she and
her war lieut. date were dressed up to go
to a ball,-was the first witness. Laughter
was heard at the closed door by those
awaiting their turn. Frosh Brownlee was
next but it was short and snappy. Then
Managing Editor Rose Mitchell took up
about 10 minutes of their time. Last was
myself.
"'What do you know about it? I was
asked. 'You have the whole story-it's
true.' 'You will all be notified in due

course on the p
In due course
Smith was assig
couldn't go an:
walk, without ai
tired of taking
I think I'll go r
George Brownle
tion. The mana
in power. I lost
to train someone
ever, they permi
proofs for news
services and m5
(of which I ne
graduate) for w
marked 'D'. The
as credit was n
dissertation on 7
correct the mt
graduate in Jun

19290
By ROBERT G. SILBAR
'29 LSA
THE 20'S WERE the football halcyon
days of Oosterbaan and Friedman,
and in those days it was the custom
of the Michigan Daily to issue extras
on football afternoons, print a few
hundred copies and rush them to the
stadium (opened in 1927). We prided
ourselves on having the "extras" sold
at the stadium gates as the crowd
came out of the game.
Now, in order to get the newspaper
to the field before the crowd got away
we had to print the "extras" on an old

Football Extras, Pressroom

flatbed press slightly before the game
ended. We would take down a dictated
story over a direct telephone wire from
the stadium to our office, the sports
editor covering the game and a typist
pounding out the copy as the play-by-
play account was received. With the last
quarter nicely under way we would stop
the story and finish it with the phrase,
"There was no further scoring."
FOR A box score we used to place
pieces of metal on the press indi-
cating the quarters, and as each quar-
ter ended we would punch the score
into the metal with a die.

The game I remember saw Ooster-
baan and Friedman up to their old
tricks. I was "working" the inside role
at the office, editing the copy as it
came over the telephone lines, and,
following the usual procedure for an
"extra" the signal was given to close
the game off and to start printing.
The scores were punched into the
metal and the press started to roll,
when the telephone operator yelled,
"Wait, Michigan just scored another
touchdown!"
HASTILY, WE stopped the press, threw
away the copies already printed,

Chat
punched the n
score metal, anc
The game had
go and we had
with the copies
This time the
the "extras" tc
way out of the
Arbor Press bu
stop him. Michi
touchdown!
We printed
that day and 1
"extras" to th
were already mo
on their way h:

Once a day, six days a week, forty-five weeks a year (counting trimester) adds up to a lot of Dailies, about two semesters worth
shown here. That's a lot of Dailies and a lot of work over seventy-five years.

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