Cambridge, IA Train Wreck, Jul 1909
Trying to Hide the News.
One of the latest exchanges to come to our table is the Sioux City Daily News, of the State of swift divorce. By reading the issue of Saturday, we find that The Daily News has to face and meet problems just as difficult as its Eastern contemporaries, and “gets back” just about as handily.
There was a wreck early Saturday morning, when a Milwaukee passenger train went into the ditch, telescoping two cars, and fatally injuring two mail clerks, besides shaking up all the passengers. The train was delayed five hours in reaching Sioux City, and it was evidently almost time for The Daily News (an afternoon paper) to go to press when the report of the disaster reached the city. “Tipped off: by somebody, the paper hurried to get the best story it could, with this result as far as one source of information was concerned.
The office of the Milwaukee train dispatcher this afternoon informed The Daily News over the phone that no report of any wreck had come to the dispatchers office.
“How many were hurt in the Cambridge wreck today?” the dispatcher’s office was asked.
“Haven’t heard of any wreck,” came the reply.
“Well if you haven’t heard of a wreck, you couldn’t give The Daily News much information could you?” replied the newspaper man.
“Well, I wouldn’t tell you if I could,” was the pleasant reply from the railroad office.
It is pleasing to relate that The Daily News got the story all right-a good full story-and featured it.
This is an example of the “holding out” scheme which is adopted by many people in their effort to suppress the news. What’s the use? The newspapers always have still another way of getting at the facts when one, two or three sources dry up. The corporations or individuals that insist upon keeping the facts to themselves are almost invariably placed in an unfavorable light, when the real news comes to light. And, never fear, the bright light of publicity is always turned on sooner or later, usually a good deal sooner.
The newspapers are seldom actuated by motives that would incite them in any way to injure the material prosperity of any one, practically always there is a genuine desire to aid the under-dog. This is a feature those having the news would do well to take into consideration when asked for the data. On the other hand, to willingly secrets the news will to a degree of near-certainty reflect greatly to their discredit afterwards.
There’s no reason to try to suppress the news. In the first place it shows you up badly and in the second place-well, you can’t do it.
State, Columbia, SC 5 Aug 1909