My students are in the midst of a newspaper assignment, where different groups are covering the years leading up to America’s entrance into WWI. Though I didn’t expect much of a response, they have been surprisingly enthused by the project. Perhaps it is that they are simply glad they aren’t taking notes and listening to me drone on and on, or maybe they like the concept of designing their own paper. For those of you who check out this page regularly, the the political incorrectness of many papers is rather shocking. On Wednesday, a student who was researching the Zimmerman Note asked if she could use a German slur in her article about the incident, just to be accurate with the times. I was such a proud teacher. The things we can learn from Headlines in History.
The Washington Times:
I will remind you that this first story occurs in 1913. Yes, prisoners in Delaware were publicly whipped by a prison warden 20 times. The article goes on to explain that the whipping post had been recently built to replace the old one that was presumably imported from medieval Europe. It was not until 1972 that Delaware banned the practice. To be fair, however, by that point, the punishment was reserved for wife beaters. These aren’t the sort of people many stand up to protect from harm. Not even burglars let those sorts of people slide.
The True Democrat (Bayou Sara, LA):
This might be my favorite newspaper ever. Firstly, the article on the right is entitled “When Things Go Wrong”. For the next few hundred words, the author describes a terrible day where everything just doesn’t go your way: “You rise in the morning and the room is cold.” “You have a cold in your head and a grain of dirt in your eye.” However, the author goes on to explain that life wouldn’t be worth it if all things went by sweetly, that despair makes us appreciate what comes later. Then the author ends with one of the most inspiring pieces of writing I have yet seen in a newspaper.
Secondly, the paper feels the etymology of the word “quiz” deserves a front page story, which is TRUE! It’s a great story! (Ok, it might be a myth, but it is a myth worth reading)
Scott County Kicker (Benton, MO):
Charles Tellier, by simple terms of contributions to humanity, was one of the most important inventors from the 19th century. As an engineer, he began to study the process of refrigeration and eventually developed the unit which kept meat preserved on trains and ships. The number of lives he affected by helping keep our food safe is incalculable. Sadly and ironically, he died of hunger in 1913. The Kicker, reporting on the death, goes on to point out that often genius is forgotten and wealth (Rockefeller, Carnegie) is celebrated. Good point, Kicker.
The Day Book (Chicago, IL):
I won’t spoil the fun right now, but this newspaper was named after the Day family, members of which includes Donald Day, Nazi propagandist, and Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker and a darn good candidate for sainthood. More on this family later (a Nazi and a Saint! Siblings!). For now, be glad you weren’t one of these children in Chicago. Undoubtedly one of the worst loopholes in a law right here.