The goofiest jack-o'-lantern you've ever seen

Posted by David Middlecamp on October 30, 2013 

Oct. 29, 1943 NEA photo of unnamed children making jack-o-lantern faces.


The Newspaper Enterprise Association was the low-budget wire service many small newspapers relied on to fill the pages.

Some material was top notch. The explanatory maps acquainting readers with far-off Pacific islands, Russian battlefields or North African deserts gave readers a better understanding of the world conflict.

Some material like this was not very good. This is an example of the latter.

Candid, storytelling photographs was not the forte of the news service. They specialized in images that could sit on a shelf for weeks and would be just as stale as the day they were made.

The NEA was founded in 1902 by newspaper magnate E.W. Scripps as a way to generate content for his chain of newspapers.

He had a strategy of founding scrappy, low-budget, low-cost papers in towns that had expensive, stuffy establishment newspapers.

Other newspaper owners copied the E.W. Scripps' template including a grandson, John P. Scripps, who owned the controlling interest in the Telegram-Tribune.

Small newspapers needed help to fill pages, especially during the war-time labor shortage.

In the 1940s the then-Telegram-Tribune didn't have a staff photographer.

It was rare to see a local photo on the pages other than mugshots of big shots or local servicemen.

When Elliot Curry was named managing editor of the Telegram-Tribune in 1944, he supervised a newsroom staff of three women.

One reporter covered the courthouse, one the society page and City Council, and the third wrote police blotter and features.

Even with five newsroom employees, counting editor Robert W. Goodell, there were too many empty columns to fill six days a week.

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