Thursday, February 22, 2018

 

King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 18

 King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 18

Aligning the World's Press Experts

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Circumvention of the Associated Press cabal had not insured a favorable place in the sun for International News Service. An opposition even more formidable remained to be beaten. It included a combination of the Associated Press and the United Press. It was launched at a conference that should go down in history as the "conspiracy of Warsaw." It brought into active alliance the official and semi-official news agencies of Europe. Its defeat marked my most important contribution to journalism.

Roy W. Howard was a dominant figure at the Warsaw meeting. The gathering evolved an elaborate plan whereby the facilities of independent news agencies might be crippled, if not destroyed, by statutory enactments of the countries constituting the League of Nations. A bill was framed for submission to the parliaments of the world. It was to be presented for adoption by the first conference of press experts summoned by the League of Nations to assemble at Geneva, August 24, 1927. It was designed to attach to news a proprietary right to be protected, like any other chattel in the tribunals of the different sovereign states.

Most of the authoritative news emanating from foreign centers was issued through official and semi-official agencies. If it were impressed with the attributes of property, it would thus pass into the ownership of those various quasi-public bureaus. These operated in contractual affiliation with the Associated Press and the United Press. Under the proposed legislation—described as the “draft law”—a piece of current intelligence would assume the character of property, appropriation of which might be punished like the theft of any other article of value. Hence, if a correspondent of International News Service were to pick up an item belonging to any of these distributing organizations, he might be subject to prosecution as a common thief.

The sinister significance of this movement greatly alarmed the executives of the Hearst news services. Marc A. Rose, previously managing editor of the Buffalo News and the New York Sun, had become editor and manager of International News Service. He succeeded George G. Shor, who was transferred to an important post with King Features Syndicate. Rose joined Chester R. Hope in urging that I attend the conference at Geneva. Pressure of other duties made me reluctant to go. On my waiver of objection, Rose and Hope appealed to W. R. Hearst. It was at his instruction that I served as the delegate of the Hearst organization to the League of Nations press conference.

My American colleagues included Kent Cooper, general manager of the Associated Press, Karl A. Bickel, president of the United Press, Robert P. Scripps, president of the Scripps-Howard Newspapers, and Frederick T. Birchall, acting managing editor of the New York Times. These four, with me, were the five delegates from the United States. Each of us was accompanied by a staff of associates and assistants. Edwin L. James, later managing editor of the New York Times, was Birchall’s technical adviser. George B. Parker, editor-in-chief of the Scripps-Howard Newspapers, served as aide to Bickel and Scripps. James T. Williams, Jr., formerly managing editor of the Boston Transcript and currently manager of the Universal Service Washington (D. C.) Bureau, together with Robert J. Prew, afterward executive editor of the London Mail, were my adjutants.
Lord Riddell

At Geneva it seemed that the cards were stacked against me. Lord Riddell, owner of the leading English weekly News of the World, was the floor leader. He told me that it was hopeless to oppose the resolution introduced by Kent Cooper approving the draft law advocated by the conference at Warsaw. For three days my efforts to engage him in detailed discussion were frustrated. Cooper and Karl Bickel had convinced him that property rights in news had been confirmed by the federal courts of the United States. It was not until the third day of the debate that Riddell’s doubts were aroused. Then I effected from the rostrum what I had failed to accomplish in personal conversation. My speech was especially directed at Riddell. An epitome is given here:

Journalism has today suffered a stigma that it will take years to erase. I am depressed with the consciousness that at the first international conference of press experts in history, there has become evident a marked confusion, not only concerning the cardinal principles of our profession, but concerning the fundamental laws pertaining to its pursuit. . . . Journalism stands or falls on the principle that news shall be equally available to all who seek it. An attack upon that principle is an assault upon the basis of journalism.

There is apparently a widespread feeling that within our own profession practices are pursued which are seriously injurious to the property interests of newspapers and news agencies. I sympathize with that feeling but I cannot comprehend why it has induced a willingness among journalists to undermine the pillars on which their profession rests. Must we apply to the parliaments of the world for correction of wrongs which have existed exclusively within our own ranks?

All gentlemen who have submitted resolutions to cure the evil which disturbs them, and those who have spoken on the subject, appear to suffer from an identical misapprehension. They seem to think that laws are in existence conferring private ownership in news. I can find no trace of such a law.

In the United States where the highest tribunal, the Supreme Court, has delivered the most recent decision on this subject, it is an established principle that news is not convertible into private ownership. That decision clearly indicates a method for curing the evil at which the gentlemen say these resolutions are directed. While property rights in news as news cannot be conferred on private parties, quasi rights in and to news secured by newspapers and news agencies do exist as against competitors. These rights may be protected under existing doctrines of law. . . .

My colleagues from America have spoken eloquency of the moral aspects of this question. Their eloquence is all the more notable in view of their apparent confusion about the nature of the question itself. They have referred to the judgment of the United States Supreme Court as if it upheld their position. They have mentioned with evident, though mistaken, satisfaction the photographic copies of that momentous decree, which you found at your seats at the opening of this session. It was I, not they, who supplied those facsimiles. They were placed before you as exhibits in support of the substitute resolution which I have submitted opposing any declaration of property in news. ...

Any law that would alienate from the public domain one iota of property rights in news would be a prelude to other laws and other regulations for extending that alienation, until all property rights in news had departed from the public and were vested in private owners.

I believe—and all those who are associated with me believe—that it is the highest duty of journalists to secure the free and unimpeded flow of news from one nation to another. I believe that only through such a process can nations be brought into closer harmony. I believe that any movement that can possibly be twisted, converted or distorted into a process by which private enterprise becomes the possessor of a property right in news will tend to defeat the highest aims of our civilization.

As eager as we all appear to be to prevent misappropriation of the fruits of our labors by our competitors, I am more anxious to prevent a monopoly of news. I am gratified by the admission by one of our colleagues that the term “property right in news” is a misnomer. But can we rest there?

How many of us would be satisfied with a deed to a piece of real estate with a description of property that either did not exist or could not be found? We must be careful not to let the feeling that something is only a misnomer lead us into a fatal error. In the effort to preserve the flowers that you cultivate, do not surrender the garden in which they grow.

There can be no monopoly in something that does not exist. There does not now exist any private property right in news. If we create it we create a substance out of which a monopoly may ultimately be formed.

While I was speaking Lord Riddell busily ran through the photostat of the United States Supreme Court decision that had lain on his desk unread. Not until I was seated had Riddell digested the meaning of the decree. Then he rushed over to apologize for the error under which he had labored. “Oh, I see!” he exclaimed. “It isn’t property in news that you folks have; it’s a rule against unfair competition.” Thereupon Riddell became my ally. “The conspiracy of Warsaw” came to naught.

James T. Williams, Jr., my chief adjutant at the conference, learned that I was sending no special report of the outcome to Hearst. He decided to repair this omission on his own account. His cablegram became especially significant in the light of the Associated Press and United Press stories of the proceedings. It described the deep impression which he felt had been made on the gathering by my insistence from the outset that no action should be taken toward opening the way for a monopolistic control of news through a declaration of property rights therein. The message recounted the “vigorous” fight with the Associated Press, the United Press and the various semi-official agencies and newspapers that opposed me. It assured Hearst that from “our viewpoint” the convention was an unqualified success because I had completely won my points, the final resolutions excluding any reference to property rights.

Official confirmation of Williams’ conclusions was contained in a pamphlet prepared by Pierre Comert, director of the press section of the League of Nations, reviewing the proceedings of the conference. Comert’s paper said, tersely: “Mr. Koenigsberg’s speech, which followed that of Lord Riddell, killed any chance that the [Kent] Cooper resolution may have had of being accepted.”

The Associated Press refused to recognize its defeat. Its cabled reports of the conference perverted the facts. There has been no correction or retraction of this paragraph contained in the Associated Press dispatch from Geneva under date of August 26, 1927:

THE DOCTRINE THAT NEWS IS PROPERTY AND MUST BE PROTECTED, ALREADY OBSERVED AMONG AMERICAN NEWS AGENCIES AND NEWSPAPERS, BECOMES BY VIRTUE OF THE RESOLUTION A UNIVERSAL CONCEPT WHICH WILL BE PLACED BEFORE THE COUNCIL OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS IN ORDER THAT THE LEAGUE MAY INFLUENCE GOVERNMENTS TO REACH AN OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT THAT NEWS IS A COMMODITY WHICH RESULTS FROM LABOR AND ENTERPRISE AND FINANCIAL EXPENDITURE AND SHOULD RECEIVE COMPLETE PROTECTION.

As witness in contravention of the Associated Press account of this historic episode, let us summon Dr. Manley O. Hudson, Bemis Professor of Law at Harvard and technical adviser of the Secretariat of the League of Nations. Dr. Hudson published an analytical review of the action of the international conference of press experts on the subject of property rights in news. It appeared in the April, 1928, quarterly issue of the American Journal of International Law. Referring to the rejection of the draft law and to the resolution that was adopted in substitution therefor, Dr. Hudson said:

The adoption of this resolution signalizes the failure, for the time being, of the efforts to secure an international recognition of property in news. In view of the careful preparation of the subject, an early renewal of such efforts seems improbable.

Patrolling the freedom of news in Geneva was a stimulating engagement. It became a startling adventure in Rome. It opened a page of history which, yet unfinished, should command the intensive study of all thinking men. It was one thing to debate ownership of current intelligence but it was quite another thing to oppose control of the facts from which that intelligence evolves. One was at least a theory. The other was unthinkable. Yet such was the range traversed between Switzerland and Italy.

My errand in Rome in the fall of 1927 was to smooth out a difficulty in which William Emmanuel, the International News Service correspondent at the Italian capital, was entangled. Emmanuel had been the representative of Corriere della Sera, of Milan, Italy’s leading newspaper and one of the foremost journals of Europe. Mussolini had put him under avisement. Two policemen were detailed to watch his every movement. They were instructed to see that he remain in his palace—Emmanuel’s residence was actually rated as a palace—from eight in the evening until eight in the morning.

Emmanuel was forbidden to approach nearer than one hundred yards any place of public congregation. His lot, however, was not unbearable. His guards enjoyed the secret use of his pocketbook. There was a private arrangement by which they saw Emmanuel only twice a day and then at his convenience. But restriction of areas through which he was permitted to circulate seriously hampered his work. It was my purpose to liberate him from these restraints. Harold Horan was the Universal Service correspondent at Rome. He arranged an appointment for me with Mussolini.

The premier of Italy—the title of Il Duce lacked favor at the moment—was absent from the Chigi Palace at the hour set for my call. In his stead, Count Capasso Torre received me. He was the minister of Posts and Telegraph. The count was profusely apologetic. The premier had been unexpectedly detained. A meeting with the King of Montenegro had lasted much longer than was expected. That was too bad, I explained, because it had been my desire to present to the premier, before my departure the next day, a situation important to me as president of several American news services.

Yes; the minister was aware of the nature of my mission. He spoke excellent English. But the tone of his voice expressed much more than his words. It didn’t require unusual perspicacity to gather that the premier would find no pleasure in discussing the subject that was on my mind. But something had to be done for Emmanuel.

“It is my feeling that the premier might be pleased to receive certain assurances that I am prepared to offer,” I said. Emmanuel is the correspondent of International News Service. That organization has a fixed policy requiring that its dispatches shall neither contain nor reflect the individual opinions of the senders, Emmanuel has voluntarily pledged faithful adherence to that rule. I have discussed this with him thoroughly. I know his messages will be confined absolutely to facts.”

“Ah!” exclaimed Count Capasso Torre. “But facts must be controlled!’

The suddenness of my response precluded an opportunity for reasoning. It was more of an involuntary ejaculation than a considered statement. It was an inspiration.

“I shall immediately withdraw our correspondents from Italy,” I announced.

The Minister of Posts and Telegraph sprang to his feet in undisguised consternation. “But you misunderstood me,” he remonstrated. By that time my emotion had subsided. It flashed upon me that the threat had scored. I stood pat.

Il Duce
At one o’clock the next afternoon, the premier of Italy greeted me in his office at the Chigi Palace. Never have I sensed the proximity of a greater bundle of nerves. The air seemed to crackle around Mussolini. It was the clashing of invisible forces, like a mass of electric energy hurling itself against a static barrier. Though his face was a mask, the movements of his hands and shoulders betrayed a terrific inner conflict. It became my conviction that impatience laid upon Benito Mussolini his heaviest cross. He was an actor always in furious rebellion against the pauses between his lines.

The premier listened to me as if in the performance of a grim duty. Count Capasso Torre insisted that we pose together for photographs. That was a cue the meaning of which came to me later. No promises were made; but that evening, Emmanuel, with his wife, saw me off on the train to Naples. His guards were not in sight. His avisement was relaxed during the remainder of my management of International News Service. However, there has been no sign that I instilled any distaste for the control of facts in Italy.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Wiley Padan




1926


William Wiley Padan* was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, on January 3, 1901, according to the the Ohio, Births and Christenings Index at Ancestry.com. His parents were John W. Padan and Vina J. Komptin as recorded on their marriage certificate.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census said the Padan family resided in East St. Louis, Illinois at 717 26 Street. Padan’s father was a street railway engineer.

According to the 1920 census, the Padan family lived in Pueblo, Colorado, at 1935 Berkley Avenue. Padan’s paternal grandmother was part of the household. The Pueblo Chieftain, October 21, 1919, reported “the editorial staff for The Wildcat, the annual published and edited by the senior class of Central high school published at the end of the school year, was elected yesterday (Monday) afternoon…” Padan was elected as one of six associate editors.


Information regarding Padan’s art training has not been found.

Padan attended the University of Missouri where he was a freshman assistant on the yearbook, The Savitar, for 1922. Padan was active in one of the military groups, Company M; a pledge with Phi Gamma Delta; and a member of the Ad Club. The 1923 yearbook said Padan was an active member of Phi Gamma Delta.


The Columbia Evening Missourian (Missouri), July 5, 1922, reported Padan’s new home and job. 
Padan Has Position in Utah.Wiley Padan, artist on the Showme staff last year, is now working in the offices of Slack W. Winburn, an architect in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Padan’s family recently moved to Salt Lake City.
After his sophomore year at Missouri, Padan continued his education at the University of Utah. Padan appeared in the Utonian yearbooks from 1925 to 1928. The 1925 yearbook had Padan’s class photograph, Utonian staff position as art editor, and Art Guild membership. The 1926 Utonian had Padan’s junior class photograph, his Utonian editor position, and his memberships in Pi Delta Epsilon, Skull & Bones, and Art Guild. In 1927 Padan was in the Art Guild and Owl and Key. The 1928 yearbook featured Padan’s senior photograph; his positions as Utonian artist, and Humbug editor; his role on the Publications Council; and involvement on the Junior Promenade committee.

Padan was in and out of the university as noted in the Utah Chronicle, February 5, 1926.

Wiley Padan, a former University of Utah student and editor of last year’s Utonian, has just received word from the American Legion auxiliary, Indianapolis, Indiana, that a poster designed by him was awarded third place in a nation-wide contest.
The Salt Lake Telegram, September 21, 1928, reported Padan’s hitchhiking journey to New York City. A photograph showed Mayor John F. Bowman shaking Padan’s hand. Along the way, former Telegram staff artist Padan sent articles to the Utah State Auto association for their magazine. The article added that Padan graduated from the University of Utah in 1927 and was editor of the Utonian. Padan arrived safely in New York City.

The Telegram, June 5, 1929, published news of Padan’s election as a member of the Town Hall club of New York City. The association of men and women “recognize and seek to encourage creative or constructive work in any line of human endeavor which makes for the enlargement and enrichment of life and the development thereby of a finer citizenship.” Padan was on the general committee. The newspaper added, “Recently he left the art department of the ‘Iron Age’ magazine to join the main office on Broadway of the Loew’s theaters, serving as staff artist in their publicity department.”


Padan has not been found in the 1930 census. The Phi Gamma Delta, December 1938, published this item.




American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Padan’s film actors panel, It’s True, ran from the mid-1930s to mid-1940s. The panel was distributed by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio. Padan applied for a trademark for It’s True. The Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, May 25, 1943, had this notice. 
Wiley Padan, Douglaston, N. Y. Filed Feb. 11, 1943. Serial No. 458,478.
IT'S TRUE! By Wiley Padan
FOR CARTOON FEATURE IN NEWSPAPERS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS. Claims use since Aug. 9, 1933. 401,671.
The Film Daily column “Along the Rialto”, February 11, 1942, published this item: 
Wiley Padan recently completed the 400th cartoon of the “It’s True’ series which appears in M-G-M press books and made available to newspapers…..Padan started the feature in 1933 and it has appeared continuously since then, not only in domestic papers, but in periodicals printed in South Africa, Philippines, Greece, China, India, New Zealand, England and Hungary.
Jersey Journal 8/7/1933

The 1940 census recorded commercial artist Padan, his wife, Clara, son, John, and father in Queens, New York, at 5007 192nd Street. 


Padan passed away February 13, 1947, at a hospital in Flushing, New York. His death was reported in the Brooklyn Eagle, February 16, 1947, and Long Island Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York), February 17, 1947.







* Padan was erroneously identified as a Cuban artist in Hollywood in Havana: Film Reception and Revolutionary Nationalism in Cuba Before 1959 (2008). 


—Alex Jay

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

 

Advertising Features: It's True!




Among all the handout freebies that were offered to newspapers, few were as handsomely drawn as Wiley Padan's It's True. The feature was distributed by the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer studio, and it offered up interesting little factoids about the stars in the studio's current movie offerings. Usually this sort of advertising feature was run only by the smaller dailies and weeklies, but this one was so attractive that it can be found popping up in major city newspapers on occasion. This would seem like a great score for MGM, except that newspapers also had a habit of running these panels whenever the mood hit them, and that was frequently long after the movie that was being hawked had left theatres. Oh well, this was in the days of the studio system, so at least the panels were keeping the public thinking about the stars in the MGM stable.

Based on the numbering of examples I have on hand, I get the impression that It's True was offered at the rate of about one panel per week (I used to think two per week, but digital archives show otherwise). According to my book the feature ran from the mid-1930s to mid-1940s, but Alex Jay has dug up better information on the start date, which you can come back tomorrow to read in his Ink-Slinger Profile of Wiley Padan. As for the end date, the last new movies I can find advertised in It's True are from 1948, but though credited to Padan, the art does not look to be his. The latest I find Padan's work appearing is for 1947 films. The highest numbered panels I've found are in the high 500s.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

 

Obscurity of the Day: My Son John







Bill Hoest made his lasting mark on the funny pages with The Lockhorns, but his first syndicated strip, titled My Son John, didn't catch on at all.

The Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate accepted My Son John, a strip about a kid who acts like a harried and angry adult, for reasons I cannot understand. Maybe they saw it as competition for Peanuts, but if John was supposed to be the next Charlie Brown, they were a little off -- he was basically a male Lucy.

Hoest made a very successful career out of cartooning very unlikeable people in the Lockhorns, but unlikeable kids are another matter. Dennis the Menace is a little hellion, but he's not mean and angry. John, on the other hand, was simply insufferable. The syndicate allowed Hoest two years to find his footing, but it seemed totally doomed as a concept. Hoest, however, felt he had something. In 1976 he said, "It lasted two years and provided me great experience. I wish they had kept it on another year. I felt that I was really getting into it; the characters were coming alive and were well-defined, and new characters added to the interest. When it died, a apart of me died."

The strip began on April 4 1960, and John was finally put to bed without his supper sometime in 1962, probably around April. Hoest would then go on to ghost Harry Haenigsen's Penny for a year, which gave him the maturity he needed to come up with The Lockhorns in 1968.

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Do you have a clue on how much work Bill Hoest did on "Penny"? Looking it up, many sources indicate that Hoest did most of the work when the original creator got injured in a car accident, but the dates they provide don't add up, with many saying Hoest left the strip to work on "My Son John" in 1970, even though the strip actually started in 1960, a full decade earlier.

Perhaps they meant to say that Hoest left "Penny" to work on "Lockhorns"?
 
Oh yes, I meant to mention that misperception on the web about Hoest's timeline; thanks for reminding me.

According to an interview with Hoest in 1976, he basically gave up Penny after working on it "almost a year" in order to develop and offer The Lockhorns. So that places his stint on Penny likely in 1966-67.

--Allan
 
Ah, that makes more sense.

Even with the unlikable main character, there are still some funny gags in the samples you posted. I laughed at the frozen lemonade strip. I love how Hoest had the final dialogue written in tiny letters, which really sells the gag.
 
Hoest did another strip in the 1980s, "What a Guy!", about a kid who acted even more like an adult than John in "My Son John."
 
The 2-8-62 strip feels like a "Pearls Before Swine", i.e. "Little Litter Letter Later".
 
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

 

Herriman Saturday


June 15 1909 -- Beulah Gunther was in the habit of allowing her telephone-less neighbors use her device. May Claussen, who lived in a neighboring boarding house, began to take too much advantage of Miss Gunther's largesse. When Gunther suggested that she'd like to have access to her own telephone on occasion, Ms. Claussen showed her with great force what she thought of that request. According to the article, Gunther emerged from the fight "minus a considerable part of a new shortwaist, eight long strips of epidermis and two handfuls of hair."

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Friday, February 16, 2018

 

Wish You Were Here, from Kin Hubbard


Here's another Abe Martin postcard from the International Postcard Company. In case you're not up on your liquor terminology, a three finger drink is a straight shot that is as high on the glass as three stacked horizontal fingers. If you've got pudgy fingers, that can mean up to 2.5" toward sweet oblivion.

In an effort to standardize things, I understand the finger measure has been replaced these days by one ounce per digit. Seems unfair to the fat-fingered lushes amongst us.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

 

King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 17 Part 2

 King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 17

The Sick Cat Chases the Mammoth (part 1)

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The first rumbling of the Associated Press storm that was to break upon Hearst came with word that his newspaper, the San Antonio Light, was to be deprived of its protest right. The San Antonio News was to be voted a membership. This was more than a slap in the face. It was a discrimination against a franchise-holder too violent to be other than a punitive measure. The situation was aggravated by notice that similar action was pending in Rochester, N. Y. There, also, the Hearst unit was to lose the exclusiveness of its service. Dismay seized Hearst’s advisers. This was a fight imperiling many millions of dollars represented in Hearst’s fifteen franchises—the largest number held by any member of the Associated Press.

This troublesome problem had prompted me several months before to advise a radical departure. My plan was to remove the bone of contention between Hearst and the Associated Press without real sacrifice to either side. A review of the central facts is necessary to envision the idea. When Hearst successively launched the New York Journal, the Chicago American and the Boston American, no adequate service of general news was obtainable for them from organized agencies. They were debarred from the Associated Press by the protest rights of existent members. A number of years were to pass before the United Press, under the vigorous management of Roy W. Howard, reached metropolitan stature. International News Service was organized not only to gather news for the Hearst dailies, but also to secure a permanent and inalienable source of supply.

It was possible to assure that objective without direct ownership. Operation by friendly hands could accomplish the desired end. It was my suggestion that Hearst rid himself of his Associated Press embarrassments by relinquishing formal ownership of International News Service to a purchaser on whom he could rely to safeguard his personal and his newspaper interests. I proposed to buy International News Service myself. My proposition was taken up by Hearst’s order at a special session of the executive council, his advisory board. The permanent chairman of that body was S. S. Carvalho, who had rejoined the organization some time before. The meeting began with the reading of a letter from Hearst, under date of May 6, 1926.

It told how Hearst had been startled by my proposition that he sell International News Service to me. He saw no reason to accept my offer. But the peculiar action of the Associated Press convinced him that he should maintain International News Service, if for no other reason than to protect his newspapers. This conclusion also embraced Universal Service. Nevertheless, he felt that the modifications of the present system which I had outlined might be advantageously applied to the organization under his continued ownership.

Hearst’s communication reviewed in detail my project to introduce a regime of mutuality in the relations between the news services and their clients. He accepted my plan for a committee of publishers, or at least for a Board of Control, on which the subscribing newspapers would have a 50-percent representation. He suggested the possibility of issuing stock certificates and bonds of which he would keep 50 or 51 percent. While he admitted that this would not make a wholly cooperative, mutual membership, he argued that “it would be about as good as the Associated Press” and that it would give the clients the feeling that they had something to say in the management of the institution as well as a certain permanence in the possession of their franchises. He completely endorsed the fundamentals of my proposition, but added some elements to assure his proprietary standing.

The executive council had not formulated any judgment on this proposal when the group in control of the Associated Press delivered its main assault on Hearst. It was the adoption by the board of directors of a resolution unparalleled in the annals of the organization. It was a formal declaration of Hearst's unfitness for membership. It was a patent preliminary to expulsion. Under date of October 8, 1926, it read as follows:

Resolved that in the judgment of the Board of Directors the relations of the newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst represented in membership in the Associated Press with the news services owned by Mr. Hearst, cause an ever-recurring evasion and nullification of the obligations each to the other of members of this mutual organization and must be regarded as highly prejudicial to the interests and welfare of the Associated Press and its members, the prime object of the organization being the mutual cooperation, benefit and protection of its members.
Hearst assigned as his field marshal on this front, David E. Town. It happened that Town joined Hearst on my recommendation and despite some untoward influences set in motion by some of my associates. My friendship with Town began when he was general manager of the John C. Shaffer chain of newspapers in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Colorado. It continued until his death in the ’30s. Town was engaged to carry out my suggestion that Hearst appoint a controller who would be in charge of mechanical, business and financial operations. He became one of my fellow members of the Hearst executive council.

Town’s efforts to smooth the friction with the Associated Press directors proved abortive. A clash between him and Kent Cooper, the Associated Press general manager, stressed the crisis. This phase of the trouble grew out of a demand that I cease my endeavors to persuade publishers to withdraw from the Associated Press to become clients of International News Service. An issue of fact arose between Town and Cooper as to a discussion of my activities in that respect. An exchange of communications between them was tinged with acrimony. Town reported the receipt of a complaint from Cooper on November 11, 1926.

It expressed Cooper’s conviction that none of my colleagues were aware of the insistence or extent of the International News Service raids upon the Associated Press membership. A memorandum from Town to the executive council outlined details of Cooper’s grievance. The State of North Carolina was cited as an illustration. There these members of the Associated Press had been solicited to desert that organization: Rocky Mount Telegram, Wilson Times, Concord Tribune, Henderson Dispatch, Fayetteville Observer, Goldsboro Argus, New Bern Sun-Journal, Wilmington News-Dispatch.

Cooper added that two papers in the state—the Greenville Reflector and the Edenton News—had already been induced to resign from the Associated Press and to substitute Hearst services. He named as other newspapers that had withdrawn from the Associated Press “upon such solicitation” that year: Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat; Yonkers (N. Y.) Statesman; Pulaski (Va.) Southwest Times; Charlottesville (Va.) Progress; Palatka (Fla.) Daily News.

All this apparently constituted a very grave affront to the dignity of the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Hearst’s advisers had fought off a panic stretching over several months. Hearst, himself, confronted the prospect of ouster from the Associated Press with a composure at strong odds with the alarm of his lieutenants. He instructed me to draft a plan of operation for institution at a moment’s notice. This was a precaution against cancelation of his memberships in the Associated Press. Various stratagems were submitted to him. He appointed a committee for their analysis. It consisted of Bradford Merrill, Morrill Goddard and Victor H. Polachek. They joined me in urging a consolidation of International News Service with the United Press. My views, outlined at a series of meetings with this special committee, might have been thus summarized:

1. Consolidation of International News Service with the United Press can be effected on terms assuring substantial and continuing profits for both with guaranties as to quality of service for the Hearst papers and with reservations that will withhold from papers affiliated with the United Press any special or exclusive prestige or advantage.

2. Negotiations to this end should be pressed with the utmost speed consistent with secrecy and safety because better terms will be procurable so long as nothing is known of the quarrel between the Hearst organization and the Associated Press. If possible, an option for consolidation should be obtained in writing in Mr. Hearst’s favor within two weeks, to be exercised within six months. He will then be in superior position to deal with any situation that may arise with the Associated Press.

3. Immediate steps should be taken, to compose all misunderstandings between the Hearst organization and the Associated Press directors as to morning memberships. This should be possible without any real sacrifice on the part of Mr. Hearst.

Adoption of a policy along these lines was urged upon Hearst by Bradford Merrill, Morrill Goddard and Victor H. Polachek. The recommendation was incorporated in a message wired over their joint signatures.

Hearst answered immediately. His code telegram—with the usual signature, “Doctor”—was translated by Merrill at a meeting that I attended with Goddard and Polachek. It was a characteristic message. It paralleled Hearst’s abiding passion to play a lone hand. He had talked with the United Press people. They were fully informed about the situation. “Doctor” believed they were concerned chiefly over the prospect of International News Service building an organization too highly competitive to suit them. They had submitted a proposal to which he was evidently indifferent, though he had promised to resume its discussion in New York.

Roy W. Howard

Not only did Hearst indicate a disposition to pass up any deal with the United Press, but he also favored holding the Associated Press at arm’s length. He was undisturbed over the possible loss of his Associated Press memberships. He cited, by way of approval, an estimate I had prepared showing that an additional expenditure of $10,000 weekly would provide an adequate service for his publications. “Doctor” would save almost that much if he stopped his payments to the Associated Press. He was inclined to favor such a course. Then his newspapers would have their own news and not be compelled to share it with competitors. However, he would not object to the arrangement of an accord with the Associated Press on a just basis. “But don’t expect any justice,” he warned. A bit of paternal advice followed Hearst’s wired wisdom. He counseled the committee not to worry, since “we were strong enough to take care of ourselves.”

A combination of International News Service with United Press would have produced an unrivaled organization. It could not have failed to affect the course of the world’s news-gathering history. Its possibilities were destroyed at a meeting between Hearst and Roy W. Howard, head of the United Press. Hearst took umbrage at an unintentional affront. Howard told him he was not fitted to operate a news service. He believed Hearst’s dominating interest in his newspapers could not be subordinated to an interest in a news service. The purpose of the remark was certainly not invidious. But it nettled Hearst to such a degree that the negotiation collapsed.


At that stage Hearst called up to the firing line a brilliant San Francisco lawyer, John F. Neylan, who held a membership in the Associated Press as publisher of the San Francisco Call-Post. Meanwhile, Hearst had decided to adopt a program submitted to him, at my instance, by my friend, Robert Ewing, publisher of the New Orleans States. This was a campaign to shear the strength of the cabal in control of the Associated Press. That clique, known as “the big six,” consisted of Adolph S. Ochs of the New York Times, Victor F. Lawson of the Chicago Daily News, Frank B. Noyes of the Washington Star, Charles H. Taylor of the Boston Globe, W. L. McLean of the Philadelphia Bulletin, and Elbert H. Baker of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Their power was derived from the regulations by which directors were elected. There were approximately 1,200 members. One hundred owned forty bonds apiece, each entitled to 100 votes as against the single ballot of a mere stockholder. Thus less than nine percent of the membership enjoyed a balloting strength of more than 4,000 against the 1,100 to which the remainder of the association was limited.

An intensive canvass directed by Neylan, with the assistance of Ewing and a group of so-called insurgents whom he rallied to the movement, resulted in the abolition of this oligarchic rule. The Associated Press was democratized. Every member was accorded an equal voice in the naming of the directorate. Hearst had mowed down the coterie that dominated the Associated Press.

A composition of differences between Hearst and the chastened Associated Press directorate included a condition of which no member would have dreamed a year before. It was the surrender of a cardinal principle. While it involved only one locality, it proved how far a great institution may bend backward. When the Associated Press was left with a single outlet in Pittsburgh, and that a Hearst daily—the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph—a. troublesome snarl developed. As an Associated Press member, the Sun-Telegraph was forbidden to deliver news to a non-Associated Press agency. Because of a unique news-gathering situation in that region, neither the Associated Press nor International News Service could reasonably afford to forego the correspondence facilities commanded by the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. Earnest consultations were held. Kent Cooper agreed that the Associated Press would be discreet enough to keep its eyes closed to practices that would otherwise be prohibited. But he failed to take into his confidence his Pittsburgh representative. An embarrassing complication followed. Cooper straightened it out with a special course in nictation. This was in amusing contrast with the attitude that Melville E. Stone maintained in a series of conferences with me a short time earlier.

In our several meetings aimed at unraveling tangles between the Associated Press and the Hearst organization, Stone presented in great detail a list of grievances. The case on which he dwelt most insistently arose in Rochester, N. Y. There an employee of the Democrat-Chronicle had been under surveillance for weeks. He was a copy reader. His tour of duty ended at three in the morning. He was trailed nightly. The spotters reported that he went direct from his regular place of employment to the building in which was situated the Rochester office of International News Service. This practice was condemned by Stone in the severest terms. The man was being exposed to suspicion of a heinous crime. Concealed on his person—possibly in the recesses of his mind—might be news belonging to the Associated Press. What was his purpose, so burdened, in entering the edifice in which a competitive news service functioned? The implications were awful. They recalled the traditional penalty for disclosure of unprinted Associated Press news—blacklisting for life.

It did not seem logical to me that responsibility should be impressed upon International News Service for the peregrinations of an employee of an Associated Press newspaper. There was a possibility that he was eking out his income with extra work for the Hearst bureau. If there were any obligation to determine that point, it did not seem to me to rest on International News Service. This was the weightiest of several questions that I failed to settle with “the grand old man” of the Associated Press.

The matter of greatest importance that arose in the conflict over news service involved the allegation that the Associated Press was a monopoly in restraint of interstate commerce. That averment, formally iterated in different tribunals, remains to be adjudicated. It was laid before Hearst in one of my reports outlining a method of counter-attack. It was my belief that the Associated Press would decline an issue in the courts. I felt that because of its vulnerability under the anti-trust laws, it would recoil from any judicial scrutiny of the power arrogated by its directors. The concluding paragraphs of an opinion on this subject, formulated by the law firm of Eppstein & Rosenberg, in conjunction with other attorneys, read as follows:

For the foregoing reasons, it is our opinion that the Associated Press is a combination organized for and engaged in the illegal restraint of trade, and that if proper proceedings should be instituted against it, it would be forced to dissolve.

Although proceedings might be instituted merely to restrain it from the further employment in its business of the illegal agencies herein pointed out, the effects of such proceedings, if successful, would in our opinion ultimately result in its enforced dissolution as a judgment, that so important an organization as is the Associated Press was organized and operating in violation of law, could hardly be ignored by the Department of Justice.

Upon such advice, judgment was reached that the millions of dollars represented in the memberships owned by Hearst would be exposed to too great a hazard by the institution of any suit attacking the validity of Associated Press regulations.

The handicaps imposed by deference to Hearst’s Associated Press complications did not deter either International News Service or Universal Service from setting new records in their field. Universal was the first agency to adopt automatic printer telegraph machinery as its exclusive means of transmission. It was the first to establish in America a transcontinental automatic printer circuit. These innovations were installed by Chester R. Hope, editor of Universal Service, whose vigorous enterprise contributed greatly to the efficiency of my executive staff. Under Hope's direction, Hollywood and New York’s “Four Hundred” made their joint debut as daily telegraphic features. Louella Parsons and Cholly Knickerbocker (Maury Paul) were starred on the same coast-to-coast line.

International News Service performed a historic feat in the sending and transcribing of news by radio. The potentialities of this pioneer achievement have yet to be measured. Its first public demonstration was made at the American Newspaper Publishers’ Association convention at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1924. In room 1590 of that hostelry,  journalists gathered from day to day for a week to watch a typewriter capture from the air and transcribe a complete news report at the rate of sixty-five words a minute. It was the International News Service High Speed Automatic Radio Printing System. It was the result of more than three years of experimenting.

The inventor was William George Harold Finch, afterward recognized as one of America’s leading radio engineers. Finch was an insurance company inspector of wireless sets in Buffalo in 1921. I was combing the country for an instrumentality with which to push International News Service ahead of its competitors. The search had been suggested by the pyrotechnic advances in wireless. Word reached me of a relay invented by Finch. A week later he was installing a laboratory in the offices of King Features Syndicate. Lieut. Col. Archibald M. Stevens and William A. Bruno were engaged as his collaborators. After a series of successful tests covering many months, the cooperation of the Federal Wireless and Telegraph Company of California was enlisted. Rudolph Spreckels, the managing director, brought the president, Ellery Stone, to New York to confer with me.

Spreckels agreed to join the Hearst organization in the erection of three powerful wireless stations to blanket America. The commercial facilities were to be used by the Federal Wireless and Telegraph Company and the news channels by International News Service. Hearst showed keen interest. His executive council opposed the project. Meanwhile, my friend, R. R. Govin, now the owner of four dailies in Havana with circulations exceeding those of all the other newspapers in Cuba, expressed eagerness to associate himself with the undertaking. A meeting was held on Hearst’s yacht. Spreckels, Govin, Arthur Brisbane, Bradford Merrill and Louis B. Eppstein, counsel for King Features Syndicate, attended. It was Brisbane who devised a way to overcome the objection raised by the executive council. He suggested that Hearst and Spreckels share equally in the underwriting. Both assented. It was agreed that a total investment of $1,750,000 would suffice.

Spreckels and Stone brought a staff of technicians to New York. More than twenty men busied themselves in a New York hotel suite perfecting details of the organization. Their task was being completed when Hearst telephoned me. He wanted me to meet him at the office of Martin Huberth, manager of his New York real estate operations. It was a spot suited for privacy. Showing more embarrassment than I had ever noticed in him, Hearst called off the deal with Spreckels. He explained that his financial advisers had counseled against it. Not long afterward Spreckels sold the Federal Wireless and Telegraph Company to the Postal Telegraph Company for $20,000,000. That did not underline the wisdom of the advice Hearst had accepted.

The revolutionary changes with which radio was to overwhelm the empire of news were slow to reveal themselves to those most concerned. They flashed on me in a dramatic episode. It was August 2, 1923. Charley (C. O.) Powers, political editor of the Boston American, an old friend, hailed me on Broadway that afternoon. We had not met in years. Powers punctuated the chat with an astounding remark. “Harding is going to die,” he said, as if repeating an authoritative message. “What do you mean?” I asked in amazement. “Coolidge luck,” was the crisp answer. “It’s proverbial among those who have watched his career. I can trace every step in his advance to some circumstance of fortune. That night, Fred Mayer, a member of the Friars Club, burst into the room where I was seated, with the excited exclamation, “President Harding is dead!” Both the manner and the substance of his announcement shocked me. It was incredible. How could this stockbroker, without any newspaper connections, get such tremendous news before it reached me, the president of four different news organizations with worldwide affiliations? The thought was almost insulting. Mayer was insistent. “I know it’s true,” he said. “I just got it over my radio set.”

At that moment a page summoned me to the telephone. Clyde West, night manager of Universal Service, was on the wire. In the excitement that possessed him, his sense of values was upended by an enthusiasm for his calling. The order in which he stated the facts of his message is unforgettable. He was a newspaperman whose work was more important than the world’s history.

“Boss,” West’s voice came in shrill contrast with his customary drawl, “we’ve just scored an eight-minute beat on the death of the President.” Then, without waiting, he went on to tell how James R. Nourse, the Universal Service correspondent accompanying the presidential party, had come in first. Nourse’s room was on the same floor as Mr. Harding’s quarters in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. He was on the way to the elevator when a slight commotion attracted his attention to the presidential suite. He was at the door before the doctor had announced the tragic news.

West was still on the telephone when a recollection of Charlie Powers’ weird prediction gave me a start. And then even that strange coincidence faded into a commonplace beside the phenomenon which had enabled such a person as Fred Mayer to apprise me of an historic event. In one stroke, providence had sliced apart the chief domain of the Fourth Estate. The radio had come to share the primacy of the press in the world’s greatest cultural function—the dissemination of current intelligence.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

 

Toppers: Washable Jones


When Al Capp's Li'l Abner became an almost overnight hit for United Feature Syndicate in 1934, they requested that Capp create a Sunday page to accompany the daily. The Sunday started about six months after the daily, debuting on February 24 1935. Capp needed to come up with a topper strip to accompany Li'l Abner, and the result was Washable Jones. This topper appeared only in the full and tab versions of the strip; in halfs there was no topper included.

In this series Capp used the same familiar hillbilly milieu to tell a fantasy about a boy who gets into fantastical adventures. The strip definitely had a dashed-off quality to it, and Capp presumably wasn't satisfied with what he'd come up with. He also probably wanted more room to develop his Li'l Abner Sunday stories. That meant jettisoning Washable Jones after a mere four months, who's adventures turned out to just be a dream on the final Sunday of June 16 1935 (sample above). The next week Li'l Abner gained another full tier of panels plus a page-wide title panel. The only remnant of a topper was a small panel cartoon titled Advice fo' Chillun, which we'll talk about some other day.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Al Stahl




1934


Alvin Lester “Al” Stahl was born on July 3, 1916, in Yonkers, New York, according to his Social Security application that was transcribed at Ancestry.com. His parents were Jessie Stahl and Helen Mandell.

In the 1920 U. S. Federal Census, Stahl and his parents resided in the Bronx, New York at 933 Tiffany Street. The trio were in the household of Jacob Lory who was the uncle of Stahl’s father, a real estate broker. Lory was married with three children.

Stahl, his parents and brother, Irwin, lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey at 364 South Virginia Avenue in the 1930 census. Stahl’s father was a furniture merchant.

Stahl graduated from Atlantic City High School. The 1934 Herald yearbook published Stahl’s senior photograph and group photograph of the Cartoon Club.


Stahl is in the front row, third from the left.


Information about Stahl’s art training has not been found. In 1934, Stahl wrote and illustrated the 68-page book, The American Course of Cartooning for the American School of Cartooning. that was based in Chicago, Illinois. The book was advertised in many publications including Popular Mechanics.

Stahl copyrighted a few projects. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1936, New Series, Volume 31, Number 1, had an entry for Stahl’s Needles followed by Stahl and Richard Mackay’s Al n' Mac. Another entry for Needles was in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1936, New Series, Volume 31, Number 3. Happy Trailings was included in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1936, New Series, Volume 31, Number 4. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Books, Group 2, 1937, New Series, Volume 34, Number 3, had Stahl’s Trailer Family.

Who’s Who of American of Comic Books 1928–1999 said Stahl was an animator at Terrytoons and Famous Studios in the 1930s. At some point Stahl worked at the Fleischer animation studio. In Alter Ego #12, January 2002, Gill Fox said he met Stahl at Fleischer’s which was located at 1600 Broadway. Near the end of 1938, the studio moved to Florida.

Stahl produced material for Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. The New York Times, July 1, 1939, said Stahl had a $334.20 judgment, filed in Nassau County, against Wheeler-Nicholson.

The 1940 census said Stahl was a commercial artist residing at 103 West 91 Street. It’s not clear why Stahl told the enumerator he was born in Switzerland.

During World War II, Stahl enlisted in the army on September 4, 1943. Fox recalled how Stahl shorten his army service.

…World War II started, and because he was classified 1-A, Al knew he was going to get called into service. He didn’t want to go. I was still editor at this point, and six months after he left, Al walked into the office. I said, “I thought you were still in the service.”

He said, “I was, but I got out. I figured it out. Because of my background, they put me in the Signal Corps. You have to climb poles. So I got to the top of the pole and yelled out, ‘I can’t move! I’m afraid! I can’t move! I can’t come down!” They had to go up and take him down.

“It worked!” It was typical Al. He was a helluva cartoonist. And he’s still working! He’s kind of nuts and a lot of fun. A great cartoonist who knows how to make a buck. Anything he does is good. And he wrote his own stuff.
Fox chose Stahl to draw Flatfoot Burns, Star Detective, that appeared in The Spirit comic book newspaper insert. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the back-up feature ran from May 6, 1945 to November 3, 1946.

On January 29, 1944, Stahl obtained a marriage license in Manhattan, New York City. The name of the bride is not known.

During the 1940s Stahl worked for several comic book publishers. Who’s Who said Stahl used the pen name Bruce Baker on stories that appeared in Ding Dong and Frisky Fables. There was a comic book artist with that name according to the Utica Daily Press (New York), April 3, 1946. The newspaper identified some of the contributors to the Rhoads General Hospital publication, Mohawk Rhoadsman: “Among the reporters, photographers and artists who worked for The Mohawk Rhoadsman were: …T 5 Bruce Baker, comic book artist…” There were at least nine comic book stories signed “Bruce Baker”. It’s not clear what role Stahl had in those stories.

In the 1950s Stahl left comics and turned to animation. Business Screen Magazine, March-April 1951, published a list of regional film companies. Stahl was in charge of animation at American Film Producers, located at 1600 Broadway. In 1952 Stahl and his brother, Irwin, headed up Animated Productions, Inc., also at the same address. Stahl was in animation for over 35 years.

Stahl passed away December 10, 1999, in New York. He was laid to rest at Calverton National Cemetery.


Further Reading
Al Stahl’s Cartoon Studio (site says incorrectly that Stahl’s first name is Albert) 


—Alex Jay

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He looks half-Asian. Was that mentioned nowhere in the records? I think things like that should be honoured.
— Katherine (half-Arabic)
 
Stahl’s paternal and maternal grandparents were Austrian.
 
Austrian and Hungerian have Monogolain dna in their anestry.
 
For many years throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Al took out small ads in film trade publications, notably Business Screen, that read; "Al Stahl Animates Everything". The ads promoted his free lance animation business.
 
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Monday, February 12, 2018

 

Obscurity of the Day: Flatfoot Burns, Star Detective





Flatfoot Burns Star Detective was created for Quality Comics by Al Stahl in 1943. It first appeared in Police Comics #19, and ran there irregularly into 1946 issues. But that's not why we're talking about it here on Stripper's Guide, of course. No, it's because this fun but unassuming little backup feature was chosen by Will Eisner to hit the big time as a backup feature in his syndicated Spirit section.

As far as I know, this was the only time that Al Stahl's delightful rubber-boned artwork would appear in newspaper syndication. However, Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profile, which will run tomorrow, found a number of possible newspaper series listed in copyright records.

In the Spirit section, Flatfoot Burns was a four-page feature that replaced Intellectual Amos by Andre LeBlanc. According to my indexing of the Chicago Sun, the first Flatfoot Burns story appeared in the issue of May 6 1945. The Grand Comics Database, on the other hand, claims that the switch happened with the issue of June 24. Who is right? I dunno. Maybe my indexing was faulty, or maybe the GCD is a little confused. I can't recheck the Chicago Sun microfilm without a 2000-mile trip, and as far as I know it is not available digitally. At least we agree on the last appearance, which was on November 3 1946. This was when the Spirit section was reduced from 16 pages down to 8 pages.

I'd like to give credit for the scan of the story above, but I found it shared through a site that collects images from other websites (including mine *harrumph*) and offers no credits or back links. That's just not cricket, whoever you are.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

 

Herriman Saturday


June 14 1909 -- The newly formed Vernon team splits a Sunday morning-afternoon double-header with the Angels. In the accompanying editorial, much is made of the fact that the fans were more vocal in rooting for the Vernon underdogs than the home team. Tsk tsk,

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The Vernon team had both quite an origin story and quite a history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Tigers
 
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Friday, February 09, 2018

 

Wish You Were Here, from Fred Opper


Here's a 1904 Fred Opper postcard sporting an iconic image of Happy Hooligan. The reverse offers no publisher's information, so it would seem reasonable to assume that this was a freebie included with the Sunday Hearst papers. However, I'm used to those being on really cheap pulpy paper, and this one is on good quality postcard stock. So ...?

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That's a beauty! Great colour! Speaking as a devoted Opper fa, of course . . .
 
It isn't one of the Hearst supplement cards, it might be published by Kaufman & Strauss, in New York.
 
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Thursday, February 08, 2018

 

King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 17 Part 1

 King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 17

The Sick Cat Chases the Mammoth (part 1)

link to previous installment   link to next installment



The jealousy with which W. R. Hearst guarded the making and handling of his features was explained by his immense confidence in their power. It was that faith which produced for me the opportunity to write the title of an important chapter in journalistic history. It put me in position to defeat an international cabal striving to establish a monopoly in news. A telegram from Hearst to Bradford Merrill was a prelude to this exciting sequence of events. Dated at Los Angeles, April 1, 1919, its purport was telephoned to me by Merrill, as follows: “General management of International [News Service] should be immediately turned over to Koenigsberg. This will enable International to be introduced by means of Koenigsberg’s features. Moreover, profits of Koenigsberg’s syndicate can maintain International until self-supporting. Universal, too, should be under general direction of Koenigsberg.”

The reference to “Universal” identified a corporation formed on June 17, 1918, as Universal Service, Inc. to furnish supplementary or special stories gathered at world centers for morning papers. The message had left a deep impression on Merrill. It meant a sweeping change in central functions of the Hearst organization. Merrill was prepared to give the assurance that he expected me to demand. The news services would have the same independence of management as the syndicates. My authority would be subordinate only to the owner himself. Hearst confirmed this understanding to me personally at a meeting the next week.

To muster in support of International News Service all the syndicate resources available, I added several corporate units. The time came when the list of corporations which recorded me as president and general manager was long enough to tickle a stock promoter’s fancy. But each of these eight companies fitted into a coherent operation: King Features Syndicate, Newspaper Feature Service, International Feature Service, Premier Syndicate (specializing in elements distributed on a commission basis), Star Adcraft Service (translating news illustrations into business promotion projects), International News Service, Universal Service and Cosmopolitan News Service (paralleling in the afternoon field the budget of telegraphic matter supplied by Universal Service to morning editions).

International News Service was in dire need of all the assistance that could be squeezed out of its pretentious roster of affiliates. It was one of the sickest cats that ever clung to the door-posts of metropolitan journalism. Deprived of cable facilities in 1916 by both the British and the French governments in rebuke for its methods, it had not divested itself of the stigma of propagandism with which it had been assiduously smeared by critics of Hearst. In the twelve months ending June 30, 1919, its deficit was calculated as $388,934.40. In the next eight years, its clients increased from less than 300 to 591. Its annual income meanwhile rose from $694,230.69 to $2,054,601.59. Its books showed several profit-paying years.

The accomplishment reflected in these figures lacks meaning without an understanding of the desperate plight to which International News Service had sunk. The lowliness of its estate was indicated by the distrust it excited among those who should have been most anxious for its welfare. Editors of Hearst papers, compelled to rely on it exclusively for general news, used its dispatches with proverbial fear and trembling. It became a by-word in the organization. It was called “reliably unreliable.” Not only did its institutional facade bear the bar sinister etched by the British and French governments, but it stood unacquitted of charges of piracy tried in United States courts.

Only two years before the management of International News Service was entrusted to me, it had been laid under an historic injunction. On complaint of the Associated Press, it was enjoined by the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York from “bribing employees of newspapers published by complainant’s members to furnish Associated Press news to defendant before publication.” It was also prohibited from “inducing Associated Press members to violate its by-laws and permit defendant to obtain news before publication.” The suit was appealed.
Melville Stone

That litigation was the climax of Melville E. Stone’s quarter of a century campaign to establish the claim that news might he held as private property. The sanctimonious passion with which the “grand old man” of the Associated Press clothed this so-called crusade, won the collaboration of a tremendously powerful circle. Such adversaries as Charles Anderson Dana and H. H. Kohlsaat, who came forward from time to time to contest his purpose, were weighted with the impedimenta of selfish interest. They fought just long enough to safeguard their individual assets.

No champion in shining armor ever led an array of ethical forces in front-line attack against the movement to create the basis for a news monopoly. Opposition to Stone, pathetic in its feebleness, did come from obscure workers anxious to shield a vital principle of human liberty. In this might be counted my own quixotic gesture of enlistment in the Laffan News Bureau of the New York Sun in 1897.

It is reasonable to assume that Stone suffered one of the worst shocks of his highly active life when the Supreme Court of the United States tarred the Associated Press with the same stick that was applied to International News Service. Both were placed under a reciprocal injunction. Each was enjoined from appropriating the news of the other. This decree was rendered May 19, 1919, six weeks before International News Service came under my-management. It did not absolve International News Service of culpability. It did imply that the Associated Press—that exalted assemblage of prestige and piety—might stoop to the same depraved practices of which it had accused the Hearst group.

But an adjudicated parity in potential impropriety did not embrace parity in business prospects. Membership in the Associated Press was the most highly prized privilege in newspaperdom, even if there were some stains on its background. There were critics harsh enough to describe it as born in perfidy and reared in subterfuge. The natal slur had reference to the machinations and betrayals through which the Western Associated Press deserted en masse from the Associated Press of New York in 1893 and entered a new corporate phase as the Associated Press of Illinois, progenitor of the present body.

The suggestion of trickery concerns the flight in 1900 of the Associated Press of Illinois from the State of Illinois to escape the application of a judicial mandate. That ruling required the organization to deliver its service to any newspaper tendering payment therefor. The escape was to New York. There a law existed under which a non-profit-making corporation could own property and yet function as a social unit. Thus, it was free to exclude any unsatisfactory member. The statute had been enacted at the behest of a coterie of sportsmen. It was framed to authorize corporate ownership of shooting and angling preserves. So the Associated Press obtained a charter on the same footing as a fish and game club.

Contemplating the taints on a competitor’s record neither gained additional subscribers nor strengthened the satisfaction of the current clientele. And there were some stains that International News Service must erase from its own escutcheon before pointing elsewhere. Hearst realized this. He cheerfully approved my plans for reorganization. Foremost was the need for a thorough house-cleaning. Next must come a different window-dressing. Convincing proof must be furnished that a changed management was eliminating whatever bias may have tinctured the service in the past.

Hearst expressed particular pleasure over the slogan I proposed to adopt. It was an amplification of a legend that had been in use. To the line, “Get it first,” I added, "But First Get It Right!’ That was the keynote of the policy Hearst sanctioned. “How can we expect the editors of our papers to comment intelligently on the actual news,” he asked me, “if the news we supply to them is false?” There was no naivete in that question. It had a double purpose. Primarily, it was a disclaimer of direct responsibility for the past. Secondarily, it was a sanction of the altered course.

It should be noted that Hearst never revised this instruction to me. The closest semblance to friction with him concerning International News Service arose over some dispatches from Mexico. Hearst’s vast holdings in that country afforded him sources of intelligence inaccessible to the ordinary newspaper correspondent. Moreover, Hearst cited a complaint from E. H. Clark, his general financial counsel, who specialized in Mexican affairs. A similar criticism some time later evoked a corrective program. I proposed to dismiss the offending correspondent and to replace him in each case with any of three seasoned journalists whom E. H. Clark would select from a list I would submit. Hearst was pleased with this arrangement.

That method of handling the International News Service personnel in Mexico was in effect in 1927 when the Hearst newspapers committed the historic fiasco of publishing a series of documents alleged to have been abstracted from the official archives of Mexico. It will be recalled that one of these writings mentioned a $500,000 bribe to a United States Senator. Another gave details of a conspiracy to foment a Central American revolution inimical to the United States. Still another outlined a plot to colonize Mexico with hordes of Japanese in preparation for possible invasion of this country. The investigating committee of the United States Senate, which finally declared the letters spurious, left untouched several phases of this extraordinary miscarriage of journalism. One, germane to my management of International News Service, is set down here.

Hearst had instructed three of his lieutenants to assure the fullest publicity for these “sensational disclosures.” The trio were Victor H. Polachek, for many years one of Hearst’s chief editorial functionaries and at the time the director of Sunday circulation for all the Hearst Sunday newspapers; Edmond D. Coblentz, managing editor of the New York American; and Victor Watson, executive editor of the New York American. Polachek, Coblentz and Watson urged me to take over the promotion and distribution of “this historic revelation.” I declined.

Not one word of the fantastic fake was transmitted over the wires of International News Service. No mention of the forged documents was made in any of its reports during my administration of the Service. Hearst never communicated with me about them. He suffered the penalty of an excessive faith in what he wanted to believe.

The first step in dissipating the propagandist atmosphere that hovered over International News Service was the employment of a chief of staff who could be held forth in promise of the new order—whose reputation offered a distinctly non-Hearst flavor. I appointed Marlen E. Pew editorial manager. Prominently identified for a while with the United Press, he had later served as editor of the Boston Traveler and of the Philadelphia News Post.

Pew was fanatic in his repugnance for secret influences. That quality made him especially valuable in the regeneration of International News Service. Unfortunately, at the end of three years, he found himself at loggerheads with his chief assistant, Earl Barry Faffs. They had been on the most intimate terms—a Damon and Pythias relationship. Pew demanded Faffs’ resignation. Faris was the wheel-horse of the news service. It would have been folly to let him go. Pew went instead. Afterward, he became the head of Editor & Publisher. George G. Shor, with a highly creditable journalistic record, replaced Pew as managing editor. In 1927, Faris became general news manager and in 1932, the editor. Evidently, no mistake was made in the choice that Pew forced upon me.

The rapid progress of International News Service led to an embroilment with the Associated Press of major consequences. The strife began with a letter I addressed to Melville E. Stone. It attacked what he esteemed sacrosanct—a claim for which he contended above all others—the exclusive ownership of news assembled by members of the Associated Press. Before the quarrel subsided, it wrought revolutionary changes in that august organization.

My communication was dated March 5, 1925. It called Stone’s attention to a story published on January 5th in the Associated Press newspaper in Lakeland, Fla., duplicating, almost word for word, an exclusive International News Service item which appeared the same day in the other Lakeland daily. The dispatch told of a criminal assault on two women in Jacksonville. It bore the dateline of that city.

This was a perfect predicate for the charge that the permanent injunction of the United States Supreme Court had been violated. Stone's answer was indulgently patronizing. It was an exposition of the sophistry on which the Associated Press position was based.

Stone did not deny that the Associated Press had made use of International News Service news. On the contrary, he asserted that the action had been fully warranted. The story had been “furnished” by the Jacksonville Journal. That newspaper was both a member of the Associated Press and a client of International News Service. Stone cited this notice regularly published by the Jacksonville Journal and by all other Associated Press papers: “The Associated Press is exclusively entitled to the use for republication of all news dispatches accredited to it or not otherwise accredited in this paper and also the local news published herein.” The Jacksonville Journal failed to label the story in question. Hence, according to Melville E. Stone, this piece of intelligence became the property of the Associated Press.

The issues raised in my response have never been met. The annoyance and apprehension they aroused in the Associated Press directorate were indicated by the bitterness of the onslaught that followed against Hearst.

My reply, dated March 23, 1925, contended that the absence of a label did not alter the facts of a story’s origin and that the Associated Press could not gain rightful proprietorship of a competitor’s news through any incorrect or misleading notice published by its members. The great care taken by International News Service to investigate the source of each report it used was contrasted with the Associated Press pronouncement which authorized the taking of matter with no further inquiry than a glance for credit lines.

On the part of International News Service we found faithful observance of the United States Supreme Court injunction against the appropriation of a rival’s news. On the part of the Associated Press we observed a policy capable of interpretation as constant incitement to violate that writ.

These premises formed the basis for even more serious representations. Under the theory stated by Stone, it was pointed out, International News Service would suffer deprivation not through any fault or omission of its own but by reason of the remissness, neglect or deliberate design of members of the Associated Press. Finally, the requirement for publication of the notice purporting to vest in the association the ownership of news appearing in the papers of its members made it possible for them to print the dispatches of other services without credit so that the Associated Press could lift and use those dispatches on the theory that it was entitled to do so.***

The first rumbling of the Associated Press storm that was to break upon Hearst came with word that his newspaper, the San Antonio Light, was to be deprived of its protest right. The San Antonio News was to be voted a membership. This was more than a slap in the face. It was a discrimination against a franchise-holder too violent to be other than a punitive measure. The situation was aggravated by notice that similar action was pending in Rochester, N. Y. There, also, the Hearst unit was to lose the exclusiveness of its service. Dismay seized Hearst’s advisers. This was a fight imperiling many millions of dollars represented in Hearst’s fifteen franchises—the largest number held by any member of the Associated Press.

This troublesome problem had prompted me several months before to advise a radical departure. My plan was to remove the bone of contention between Hearst and the Associated Press without real sacrifice to either side. A review of the central facts is necessary to envision the idea. When Hearst successively launched the New York Journal, the Chicago American and the Boston American, no adequate service of general news was obtainable for them from organized agencies. They were debarred from the Associated Press by the protest rights of existent members. A number of years were to pass before the United Press, under the vigorous management of Roy W. Howard, reached metropolitan stature. International News Service was organized not only to gather news for the Hearst dailies, but also to secure a permanent and inalienable source of supply.

It was possible to assure that objective without direct ownership. Operation by friendly hands could accomplish the desired end. It was my suggestion that Hearst rid himself of his Associated Press embarrassments by relinquishing formal ownership of International News Service to a purchaser on whom he could rely to safeguard his personal and his newspaper interests. I proposed to buy International News Service myself. My proposition was taken up by Hearst’s order at a special session of the executive council, his advisory board. The permanent chairman of that body was S. S. Carvalho, who had rejoined the organization some time before. The meeting began with the reading of a letter from Hearst, under date of May 6, 1926.

It told how Hearst had been startled by my proposition that he sell International News Service to me. He saw no reason to accept my offer. But the peculiar action of the Associated Press convinced him that he should maintain International News Service, if for no other reason than to protect his newspapers. This conclusion also embraced Universal Service. Nevertheless, he felt that the modifications of the present system which I had outlined might be advantageously applied to the organization under his continued ownership.

Hearst’s communication reviewed in detail my project to introduce a regime of mutuality in the relations between the news services and their clients. He accepted my plan for a committee of publishers, or at least for a Board of Control, on which the subscribing newspapers would have a 50-percent representation. He suggested the possibility of issuing stock certificates and bonds of which he would keep 50 or 51 percent. While he admitted that this would not make a wholly cooperative, mutual membership, he argued that “it would be about as good as the Associated Press” and that it would give the clients the feeling that they had something to say in the management of the institution as well as a certain permanence in the possession of their franchises. He completely endorsed the fundamentals of my proposition, but added some elements to assure his proprietary standing.

The executive council had not formulated any judgment on this proposal when the group in control of the Associated Press delivered its main assault on Hearst. It was the adoption by the board of directors of a resolution unparalleled in the annals of the organization. It was a formal declaration of Hearst's unfitness for membership. It was a patent preliminary to expulsion. Under date of October 8, 1926, it read as follows:

Resolved that in the judgment of the Board of Directors the relations of the newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst represented in membership in the Associated Press with the news services owned by Mr. Hearst, cause an ever-recurring evasion and nullification of the obligations each to the other of members of this mutual organization and must be regarded as highly prejudicial to the interests and welfare of the Associated Press and its members, the prime object of the organization being the mutual cooperation, benefit and protection of its members.


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