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  • Writer's pictureMelody Lager

Newspapers and their role in history

This is a tribute to the local newspapers. Times have changed, and so have newspapers. They have served us so well over time! Early Wright County Monitors were much like every other small town newspaper. Without telephones, the paper got their national news from letters, other newspapers, or telegraph. National news stories ranged from politics to international happenings. Initially made with letter presses, newspapers took some time to make. Each printing required individual letters and punctuation to be laid out on a press type bed, rolled with ink, and then pressed onto paper. As progress in machinery came along, the printing presses soon were replaced. With towns and settlements so far flung, the newspaper became the link to the outside world. Perhaps only published once a week, the newspaper was filled with international, national, and local news. Of almost equal importance was fictional stories. Sometimes lasting thru several editions of the newspaper, the fictional items held mystery, romance, setting from other countries, and perhaps a murder or two. International news was “big” news - a prince being married, a war breaking out. National news was current politics, large storms and their impact, sensational murders. But it was the local news and local advertising that was the the bulk of the newspaper. While advertising was much the same as today’s ads, local news has changed. Earlier newspapers contained columns from nearby towns, filled with the comings and goings of residents. It was common to read that one family had visited another for a Sunday dinner. Or that a local townsperson had been taken ill. Life events were documented - births, engagements, marriages, divorces, deaths. Church activities were reported along with school activities, girl and boy scouts, Campfire girls, 4-H. Ladies social clubs had their space. Store closings and openings, city government decisions, all had their activities printed. Deaths often were reported along with details. People brought the newspapers not only for news, but to see their name in print! Old newspapers are a wealth of information to researchers and genealogists, and we are fortunate that so many are now being put on digital access to research! Below is a copy of the title of the first Monitor printed.

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