Extra! Extra! Read All About The Life of a Country Newspaper Editor

Before TV, before Facebook and other social media, people got their news from local newspapers. Daily print newspapers were once a fixture in large cities, small towns, and villages. 

Unfortunately, some newspapers today have stopped the presses and closed their doors while others have eliminated the print editions and post news stories on their web sites.

For those who are not familiar with traditional newspapers, author Marion Cornett has written a book that takes her readers back in time to when newspapers were a vital part of the community.

Through the Eyes of a Country Editor: The Life and Writings of G.L. Adams Editor of the Fowlerville Review, 1874-1929 gives readers a sense of what news reporting and editing were like before the invention of digital technology. 

Reporting The Stories

G.L. Adams and his business partner, Williard Hess, founded the Fowlerville Review newspaper, where Adams worked as the editor for 55 years. What Cornett found fascinating during her research was how Adams "fully chronicled the everyday lives, mostly good but sometimes the bad to the residents of Fowlerville," a village located in Livingston County, Michigan. 

Some of the stories may make us smile today. But, these were serious stories at the time. Cornett writes:

• If someone slipped and fell on the sidewalk, this news found its way into the paper

• Some parents may have discovered their young son or daughter misbehaving by reading a paragraph in the newspaper warning of the consequences of stealing green beans from the grocer, or lighting off firecrackers in the downtown, scaring horses tied to the hitching posts, or smoking behind one of the numerous saloons.

National News Reported, Too

What is history to us now, was "breaking news" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the events Adams witnessed first-hand were:

• The beginning and the end of World War I
• Prohibition (the nationwide ban on the production, transportation, and sale of alcoholic  
  beverages from 1920 to 1933)
• Women's Suffrage (the struggle for the right of women to vote and run for office)
• The first telephone and electricity that came to the village
• New appliances, such as electric irons, vacuums, washing machines, and electric stoves

Cornett writes: 'The good, the bad, and the ugly' were reported but always it came through loud and clear. He came as a young man, found love and a calling, and stayed the rest of his life, editing and publishing the local newspaper for fifty-five years.

A Must-Read for Lovers Of Newspaper or Michigan History

Cornett, a Fowlerville resident since 1996, has dedicated herself to studying the history and the people of the village. For readers interested in the early days of newspaper editing and reporting or for those who enjoy learning about local Michigan history, Cornett's book is a rich source of information.

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