Home Town News: William Allen White and the Emporia Gazette

By Sally Foreman Griffith | Go to book overview

2
The New Editor

The day after he arrived in Emporia to take possession of the Gazette was Sunday, and William Allen White walked to the newspaper office to survey his new possession. It was located on the second floor of a building overlooking Sixth Avenue near its crossing with Commercial Street, at the heart of Emporia's business district. The entire enterprise occupied a room twenty- five by sixty feet, with one corner partitioned off to serve as the news room and business office. The rest held the print shop, containing only a cylinder newspaper press, six cases of type, and several composing stones. 1 That afternoon White wrote his first editorial as his own boss.


ENTIRELY PERSONAL

To the gentle reader who may, through the coming years during which we are spared to one another, follow the course of this paper, a word of personal address from the new editor of the Gazette is due. In the first place, the new editor hopes to live here until he is the old editor, until some of the visions which rise before him as he dreams shall have come true. He hopes always to sign "from Emporia" after his name when he is abroad, and he trusts that he may so endear himself to the people that they will be as proud of the first words of the signature as he is of the last words. He expects to perform all the kind offices of the country editor in this community for a generation to come. It is likely that he will write the wedding notices of the boys and girls in the schools; that he will announce the birth of the children who will some day honor Emporia, and that he will say the final words over those of middle age who read these lines.

His relations with the people of this town and country are to be close and personal. He hopes that they may be kindly and just. The new editor of the Gazette is a young man now, full of high purposes and high ideals. But he needs the close touch of older hands. His endeavor will be to make a paper for the best people of the city. But to do that he must have their help. They must counsel with him, be his friends, often show him what their sentiment is. On them rests the responsibility somewhat. The "other fellows" will be around. They will give advice. They will attempt to show what the public sentiment is. They will try to work their schemes, which might dishonor the town. If the best people stay away from the editor's office, if they neglect to stand by the editor, they must not blame him for mistakes. An editor is not all wise. He judges only by what he sees and hears. Public sentiment is the only sentiment that prevails. Good sentiment, so long as it does not assert it

-32-

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