Flint Township View

Remember When …



Newspapers have come a long way since the first printing in 1690, now with America growing and more people being able to read the daily news. Things have changed media since I graduated from broadcasting school in 2004; all of our journalism pieces were backed up with facts, or they did not go to print or on air.

Newspapers throughout history has made a difference in all American lives, while keeping us connected through the expansion of our country to move west, wars and depressions.

Farmers across America since the 1920’s had been enjoying listening to news, music and stories on the radio. Transportation helped us conquer the land as did the world of media, just remember there was no TV until 1940 or internet in homes until 1991.

Literacy was an important part of our growing country, many poor immigrants could not read, so the education department had to go to work. Teaching all ethnic groups to read by enjoying reading comic books (which started in Switzerland in 1837, see photo), books and newspapers. Delivering the paper was a challenge at first, so the government helped by keeping the cost down, with by the newspaper to be mailed, even though the mail system wasn’t very fast. In 1833 a 10-year-old child started to deliver the newspaper to earn money and that idea caught on.

Photos courtesy of the Burton Area Historical Society

Photos courtesy of the Burton Area Historical Society

So, more poor orphanages of every ethnic background started to hand deliver newspapers in New York City, these kids were called newsies. These poor children lived in terrible conditions and needed money to survive to help their families.

Newsies could sell more papers than anyone, (they were like little businessmen). There were other orphanages being treated poorly, so the children got together in 1899, and went on strike, to stop the abuse. Newspapers are one of the strongest ties that we have in our country; from the small towns to the biggest cities; we let our stories of free speech be heard.

Were you a newspaper deliver person (paperboy) as a child? My husband was, his dad and so were his siblings. Starting as early as 1908-1980 we had children delivering the paper because it was cheaper labor and the kid’s first job.

It must be a generational thing here in Michigan to be a Newsie, as my family was too, parents, uncles, cousins and neighbors. So, let’s spread the good news of daily life! Are we going to be the people in America that are kind? Let’s find the good stories in life to make people smile or write your own comic strip!

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email History. Mona@yahoo.com.