Headlines don’t sell papes… Newsies sell papes!


Newsboys and girls in New York, 1910. Much more history about New York’s Newspaper Row can be seen at 6sqft.com.

I loved the movie Newsies, but photos from the era give the lie to all the song and dance. It was, doubtlessly, a dog-eat-dog, uncomfortable, tiring, dangerous and difficult world for the children who hit the streets selling papers for the newspaper barons.


Headlines like this were a newsie’s dream – everyone wanted to find out what was happening. The newspapers were the Internet of the early 20th Century.

Unfortunately, most daily headlines were usually boring, so embellishing the truth a bit would help move a few more papers:

‘Trash fire near immigration building frightens seagulls’ —> ”Terrified flight from flaming inferno!” (From “Newsies”)

Thus the seeds were sown for later generations of tabloid journalism:


Which, of course, were inevitably made fun of:

This collection of politically-incorrect satire is one of my most treasured possessions. It’s sheer brilliance.

Now, of course, newspapers are almost extinct, and struggling for survival. Most of us have to depend on the responsible journalism of television, cable, and the internet:


The Old Wolf has spoken.

One response to “Headlines don’t sell papes… Newsies sell papes!

  1. I *love* Newsies. One of the many reasons is that the dancing actually seems like the kind of thing boys and young men would do. Nothing effete, lots of muscular stuff. Wonderful!

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