J. Perry Wood, a Dickinsonian who wrote a paper on the local news establishments in Carlisle in 1901, had many opinions about the various newspapers of the time. The three main papers that he discusses are the “Herald,” the “Volunteer,” and the “Sentinel”. Wood writes that in Carlisle’s past, over 20 different newspapers have existed, the first being the “Carlisle Weekly Gazzette” which was published from 1785 to 1815.
In 1901, the “Sentinel” and the “Volunteer” were considered rivals. However, Wood preferred the “Sentinel” claiming that it “is a very modern and progressive newspaper”. Despite this, according to Wood, the “Sentinel” as well as the other newpapers, is guilty of “editorial prejudice” which prevents the newspaper from accurately reporting. Apparently, the newspapers never criticized the negative aspects of Carlisle, but instead glorified the town. Wood also accused the newspapers of not staying up-to-date, writing that “news is always a day or two late. There is no such thing as an editorial column. In fact there are no separate departments at all – nothing but a jumbled mass”.
Wood also comments on the “Dickinsonian” which he states should be fearless in its search for truth, but that it is instead fearful of the consequences. He believes that “it should be the open crier of college wrongs, the leader in college reform movements”.
Clearly, Wood had high expectations for the local newspapers, but shouldn’t we all? It is the newspapers’ job to make sure that the citizenry is properly informed and that stories are accurate and relevant. This is not just an issue from Carlisle in 1901, but a worldwide and contemporary one as well.


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