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July 1874

Journalism and Journalists
by F. B. Sandborn

Journalism in America is something, has been nothing, and aspires to be everything. There are no limits, in the ambitions of enterprising editors, to the future power of the American newspaper. It is not only to make and unmake presidents and parties, institutions and reputations; but it must regulate the minutest details of our daily lives, and be school-master, preacher, lawgiver, judge, jury, executioner, and policeman in one grand combination …

It is common to laugh at newspaper English, and the knowledge that is derived only from the newspapers. But … there is no better English than we find in the newspaper … Writers are apt to think they must distinguish themselves by an uncommon style: hence elaborate stiffness and quaint brilliance … It is because a journalist thinks more of his matter than of his manner, and seeks to make himself understood rather than admired, that he writes so well … The careful reader of a few good newspapers can learn more in a year than most scholars do in their great libraries.

Vol. 34, No. 201, pp. 55–66

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