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Chapter V. A Magazine of Reporters AFTER 1897 McClure's took on the aspect which became so familiar during the muckraking movement. Well-educated, literate young men were slowly added to the staff, men who would often confer with McClure on one of his hasty pro­ prietary tours of the editorial offices, then race away on one of the zesty editor's assignments. Before either investigat­ ing the contents of McClure's or following the road to muckraking, we need to see who these new men were and how they fitted into a staff already composed of the "Chief," as McClure was called, restlessly searching for something new to invent; Phillips, more cautious than in his student days and always quietly lying in wait to kill a generalization with a fact; and the Bradys, close-knit, loyal, and capable men of finance and technology. McClure's intent, as he reveals in his Autobiography, was to accumulate a permanent staff of writers, a staff patterned on that of A. F. Walter's London Times, which had unequaled foreign correspondents. So the female literati, Tarbell and Roseboro', were soon surrounded in the editorial offices by a reportorial staff that included numerous experi­ enced newspaper journalists. From this reservoir of tal­ ented men McClure wanted articles in depth dealing with the crucial events of the day—wars, inventions, and per­ sonalities. These men were to exploit the magazine's prin­ cipal advantage over the daily newspaper: the ability to analyze events and reconstruct them in perspective. Such a permanent staff was employed by a haphazard process of assimilation. It grew as McClure's circulation mounted. Most of the writers had served as reporters, an occupation that became a school for American realistic literature. This can be shown by a brief inspection of the men in the edi­ torial rooms following the warwith Spain. M A G A Z I N E O F R E P O R T E R S Present was John H. Finley, who resigned the Knox presidency in 1899. When Finley was hired, Frank Norris, previously on the San Francisco Wave, had been on the staff for a year. They were soon joined by Samuel Hopkins Adams, nine years a reporter for the New York Sun. Wil­ liam Henry Irwin worked for both the Wave and the Sun before turning his reportorial talents towards McClure's new journalism. Later, both Mark Sullivan and Willa Cather came to McClure's after being reporters, as did Cleveland Moffett, Burton J. Hendrick, and George K. Turner. Finley Peter Dunne, who wrote for McClure's and distributed his popular and profitable Dooley essays through the McClure syndicate, had made his reputation first as a writer and editor.1 But the greatest impact be­ tween 1898 and 1906 was made by three men—all former reporters. They were, in order of arrival, William Allen White, Ray Stannard Baker, and Lincoln Steffens. Three more different men could hardly have congregated in the busy, noisy offices on 25th Street. William Allen White's career was a queer mixture of pro­ vincialism and association with the mighty.2 A denizen of Emporia, Kansas, White was the only son of Dr. Allen White and Mary Hatton White. From his Knox-educated mother he inherited Republicanism. White not only re­ membered the "stories he was told of the adventures of the army of the border" but also retained "a curious wonder as to why these men had red legs."3 He remembered the tales of John Brown, having "heard the story of the drama's beginning, rise, and close a dozen times," recalling "that the man wore a buffalo skin overcoat, and that the men said he had dark, piercing eyes."4 The boy who remembered the tales of the Civil War, "having heard the story a thousand times," liked best the songs "Old Nicodemus," the "Year 1 Phillips to McClure, June 3, 1904, McClure Papers. 2 See William Allen White, Autobiography. ^Emporia Gazette, July 4, 1907, quoted in White's The Editor and His People, ed. Helen Mahin (New York, 1924), 161-66. 4 Ibid. M A G A Z I N E O F R E P O R T E R S of the Jubilee," "We Shall Meet But We Shall Miss Him," "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp," and "Hang JeflE Davis to a Sour Apple Tree."5 After a few years at Kansas State and em­ ployment as a reporter in Kansas City, White bought the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400872305
MARC Record
OCLC
614006860
Pages
360
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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