Day 95: All the News

The facts

“‘Outlaws’ Daily Times’,” suggested Ginger at last.
“That means doin’ it every day whether it rains or not!” jeered Douglas. “Not likely.”
“‘Outlaws’ Weekly Times’, then,” said Ginger.
“Not every week, neither,” said Douglas very firmly.
“Why not ‘Outlaws’ Telegraph’?” said Henry.
“’Cause it’s not a telegraph, silly,” said William, “it’s a newspaper.”
“Well, why not have ‘Outlaws’ and District Times’?’ said Douglas, “same as the one we take in at home?”
This title met with no objection. The name ‘Outlaws’ and District Times’ was adopted.

  • Number: 8.4
  • Published: 1927 (1926 in magazine form)
  • Book: William in Trouble
  • Synopsis: The Outlaws start a newspaper, and Violet Elizabeth turns her hand to crime reporting.

Verdict

For four boys and a small girl who are functionally illiterate, they do set about their journalistic task in a very businesslike manner.

William appoints himself editor (“He had brought, as well as his pencils, a false moustache and a wig, chiefly consisting of baldness, to shed lustre on his editorial rôle”) and writes a serial, Violet Elizabeth produces a crossword puzzle, and the remaining three boys each produce an op-ed.

Two of the op-eds make entertaining reading. Henry’s is about sweets: “Something ought to be don about sweets. Even the cheepest sorts are too deer. The guvment ought to do something about it, they ought to give a subciddy to it like what they do to mines.”

Violet Elizabeth’s crossword puzzle read:
“1 down – Wot you hav dropps of.
“1 acros – Oppossit of cat.”
William looked at this sternly for a long time. “Well, what is it?” he said at last.
“Can’t you gueth it, William?” said Violet Elizabeth with triumph in her voice, “ith ‘cough’ an’ ‘dog’. C-O-F – Cough.”

Ginger’s subject was homework: “Schoolmasters what set it ought to be put in prissen and hung it ought to count same as cruelty thats what I think about homework.”

Douglas selects the topic of cleanliness, and while he starts promisingly (“When we considder washing, the question is one of vitl importence. Peple nowadays wash to much It wares away the face and hands”), it suddenly goes badly wrong: “It would be nice if everyone in the world was niggers because then peple culdn’t see when you were dirty.” Oh dear, oh dear.

A crisis looms when Violet Elizabeth understands her role as a crime reporter to demand of her not only reporting but also crime, and she steals a young man’s wallet so that the newspaper can cover the story.

Still, the Outlaws and District Times wiles away a wet afternoon, and when the sun comes out normal life can go on.