Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Breaking the News of the Titanic Disaster Nineteen-Twelve-Twitter-style

You think Twitter is the cutting edge of communication?  Well here's how people got their news a hundred years ago.  All the advances in electronics in the ensuing century have shaved less than two minutes off the time it took for breaking news to get to people  in 1912.
The Newburgh Daily News, which called itself "The Acknowledged Leader of Hudson River Journalism", carried a story April 19, 1912,  applauding itself for the speed with which it brought the citizens of Newburgh, New York.  Enjoy.

The Newburgh Daily News, April 19, 1912, Page 8

                                                FIRST DETAILS OF CARPATHIA'S 
                                                                        ARRIVAL GIVEN BY THE NEWS

The News' Bulletins Last Night of Docking of Rescue Ship and Vivid Tales of the Survivors Only Account Received Here Until The Metropolitan Papers Reached Newburgh This Morning---Big Crowds Stand In Rain in Front of News Buildinjg Absorbing Story of Catastrophe
The first tidings of the arrival of the Carpathia in New York last evening with her cargo of survivors of the ill-fated Titanic on board, were given to Newburghers by The News a few minutes after the Cunarder had warped to her dock.
Although no pre-announcement had been made in the paper that the arrival of the rescue ship would be bulletined at The News office, people took it for granted that such would be the case, and notwithstanding the drizzling rain which was falling, a crowd soon collected in front of The New Building.
It was just 9:27 when Operator "Tom" Casey got a "flash" that the Carpathia had docked at 9:25. Closely following this announcement came a description of the scene on the dock and on the decks of the vessel, the debarkation of the survivors and interviews with several of the latter in which their thrilling experiences were vividly recounted.
These were promptly set forth to the crow which had gathered outside in a series of bulletins which completely filled both the big show windows of The News office. For more than two hours the graphic story was taken over the wire and transmitted to the public. It was the first and only story of the historical catastrophe received in Newburgh until the arrival here of the New York papers this morning.
                                                              Big Sale of News Extra
The bulletins containing as they did the "meat" of the stories of the Titanic disaster which were published in this morning's New York papers, were left up overnight , and this morning and to-day have been scanned by hundreds of people.
At 11:30 to-day an "Extra" containing more complete and later details of the disaster and the condition of the survivors was issued by The News and was eagerly purchased by the people of the city, whose interest in the tragedy of the deep has been intense. The News' agents at various nearby points had been notified to be on the lookout for the "Extra", hundreds of copies of which were disposed of in Fishkills, Cornwalls, Rosteton, Marlborough, Walden, Central Vall;ey, Washingtonville, and other neighboring communities.
The sales in the city were extremely large, over 3000 copies of the paper being sold.
Barney Blank, The News' "whirlwind newsy", alone sold about 1,000 copies of the "Extra."
A front-page photo of "whirlwind newsy" Barney Blank ran the next day, April 20, on Page One.

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