In some respects, the world of journalism is unchanged since 1913. International crises and disasters dominated the front page as they do now. In the Midwest, hundreds died in the wake of one of the largest blizzards the Great Lakes have ever seen. Abroad, Chile struggled to rebuild after a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that had killed two hundred people the previous week.
In Washington, the Senate Banking and Currency Committee debated the number of regional banks the Federal Reserve would set up, while at a Chamber of Commerce meeting the 31-year-old Assistant Secretary of the Navy argued that suburbs were the" only solution" to modern life – an anecdote made slightly more interesting for the fact that this young man grew up to be FDR.
Elsewhere, the newspapers from that day paint a portrait of life seemingly far removed from our own. The Washington Herald devoted space on page 3 to the delightful story of a search for nine missing billy goats, which noted, "an investigation of all trash bar ells and baskets in all back yards and alleys in the northeast showed no tin cans or old rags missing, and the police are mystified."
In New York, the Times approached the news of the day with considerably more humor than it currently employs. The Grey Lady of 1913 announced the career plans of foreign dignitaries, reported on the divorce of a local jockey and explained foreign political cartoons to its devoted readers.
Disasters, gossip and animals – the next time you complain how bad the news media of 2013 is, know that it was exactly the same in 1913.