Paper changes quickly as it passes through first year of local publication
The Eastern Utah Telegraph had a changeable first 12 months as it laid its fledgling foundation that first year of publication. Having published the first issue in January of 1891, year end the paper had changed dramatically.
the June 19 issue the paperâs format had changed dramatically. In modern times when a newspaper changes people may notice but the changes are usually subtle; a change in columns here or a different font used for headlines there. Redesigns have been more prominent over the years, but still they keep the same styles for a long time. In the early days of newspapers sometimes papers would change their looks, even their editorial slants a number of times in a short period of time.
The mid-June issue had gone from five columns to seven and it was being printed on larger paper; in fact so wide that one column had to be folded over. A huge new masthead appeared on the front of the paper (this time in total print block rather than hand lettered as in some of the earlier issues) and the paper went from eight pages down to four. The front page was no longer dominated advertising as had been in earlier issues. Only one column touted the wares and services of the local area.
Up until this point the paper also had been fairly neutral on politics within its pages. That changed with this issue as S.K. King, the owner and publisher commented on an article that appeared in a Salt Lake paper and said in his column that âthe only political opponent we know is a Democrat and we intend to fight him fairly and with friendship because he stands a principle he believes to be right.â
He also said that the paper would respect all politics and that churches should refrain from dictating on what political party they affiliate themselves with. King carried an article reprint from the Salt Lake Times in July concerning the battle between non-Mormons and Mormonâs, in which non-Mormonâs were attempting to prove that the predominant church had too much power over state and local government and church leaders vehemently denied it.
It seems things havenât changed so much in the state of Utah over the last 120 years.
But while some of the issues from those early days havenât evolved very much, the newspaper itself was a very different instrument from what it is today. First of all there were no photographs in the paper; newsprint in those days was hand set and there was no really good process for printing photos, even if cameras were available. Despite the fact that photography had been around for nearly 50 years, it was no where near as easy as it is today. Sometimes illustrations would appear, but up to this point in the papers history, even those were very hit and miss.
Secondly, the local newspaper as people know it today was a catchall; some local news but much more national and international news and much anecdotol or humourous content. For instance in the Aug. 14, 1891 issue of the paper the lead story was called âA Danish Farmâ. It was about how important cows were to Danish farmers. Other stories on the page (which were in tight columns one right after another) were stories about a Russian cafe where there were swimming pools to swim in during dinner, an article titled Winter in New Foundland, a story from Cincinatti, Ohio about women moving from farms to cities to find work, amongst six or seven others.
Humor, or what accounted for humor at the time, was also big, even on the front page. One such piece was called âIn the Restaurantâ and it had a man called Guzzleton saying, âAh, what is more comfortable than a smoking hot dinner?â He is answered a man apparently sitting with him named DePuff who answers him with, âThat man who eats it.â
These things were all on the front page in this issue with absolutely no local news at all. Inside, in the three following pages the stories and angles are all of similar composition. There were a couple of birthday announcements and a few small things about locals, but not much.
No one knows what the circulation of the Eastern Utah Telegraph was in those days, but based on the fact there was literally no other source of local news, it was probably pretty well read.
However, for unexplained reasons, November of 1891 S.K. King left the paper he had started and it was taken over partners S.I. Paradice and J.A. Sarvis who would run the paper for a little over the next three years.
(Editors note: As the Sun Advocate moves toward its 120th anniversary on Jan. 15, 2011, a series of articles will be published concerning the history of newspapers in the Castle Valley region. The articles will detail the subsequent merger of the newspapers in Carbon County, along with their characters at the various times in the history of Carbon County).