Academic journal article Journalism History

All the News Is Fit to Print: Profile of A Country Editor

Academic journal article Journalism History

All the News Is Fit to Print: Profile of A Country Editor

Article excerpt

Stebbins, Chad. All The News Is Fit To Print: Profile Of A Country Editor. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1998.184 pp. $24.95.

Although he was widely quoted by prominent newspapers around the country, small-town editor Arthur Aull was so down-home and folksy in his philosophy of life and so fearless in his approach to newspapering that some believed he was a caricature and his newspaper, the Lamar Daily Democrat, did not exist. Aull not only existed; he thrived.

From 1900 to 1948, he was editor and publisher of a newspaper that chronicled the triumphs and foibles of a rural Missouri town. Through the pages of the Democrat, he slugged it out with rival politicians and editors, and he rarely pulled his punches. Whether reporting on domestic disputes or foul crimes, he spared no sordid detail. His no-nonsense, go-to-hell, all-the-truth- andnothing-but-the-truth attitude was noted and often quoted by some of the more notable journalists of the day, including O.O. McIntyre and Ted Cook. Tidbits from the Democrat were routinely reprinted in the New York Times and other prominent papers.

Chad Stebbins's meticulous research and engaging style bring Aull to life in a manner that is at once entertaining and informative. In eight well-organized chapters, he paints a detailed picture of a complex man-a teacher, a politician, a journalist, a businessman, a husband and a father. Yet this complex man had a simple goal: to operate a profitable newspaper that would give readers something to discuss until the next issue appeared.

Aull's way of giving people something to talk about was to report on everything that happened in the community, including minor transgressions that came to light in divorce court and in other local scandals. …

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