News of Yore: Comic Strip Reporter Outclasses Today’s 4th Estate

Comic Strip Fights Free Press Battle
(E&P, 7/19/52)
An effective example of how a feature syndicate can cement re­lations with editors along the cir­cuit and, incidentally, deal a blow for freedom of information is offered these days by the Register and Tribune Syndicate. And the medium for this good fight is not the political pundit’s column but the lowly comic strip.

A story sequence launched June 30 in the “Jane Arden” strip and now fully under way describes the efforts of the comics’ perennial girl reporter to obtain access to the public records of a corrupt municipal administration.

Miss Arden sounds for all the world like a censorship-beleag­uered editor. When Parks Com­missioner Otto Grabbe tells her that “we can’t open up our rec­ords just to satisfy somebody’s curiosity—the details of our pay­roll are our business,” the comic strip heroine replies: “But I’m not just somebody! I’m a reporter! And those are public records . . . They involve tax money! The people have a right to know . . .”

Comments James S. Pope, ex­ecutive editor of the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal and Times and chairman of the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ freedom of information commit­tee: “I’m delighted to see Jane Arden working for my commit­tee.”

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