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HOME > Biographical > A Book About Myself > CHAPTER LXXIII
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 The next morning, coming down at eleven I encountered my friend of the day before, whom I found looking through the paper and checking up such results as he had been able to achieve. “Tst! Tst!” he clicked to himself as he went over the pages, looking high and low for a minute squib which he had managed to get in. Looking around and seeing me near at hand, he said: “Positively, this is the worst paper in New York. I’ve always heard it was, and now I know it. This damned crowd plays favorites. They have an inside ring, a few pets, who get all the cream, and fellows like you and me get the short ends. Take me yesterday: I was sent out on four lousy little stories, and not one amounted to anything. I tramped and rode all over town in the snow, listened to a lot of fools , and this morning I have just three little items. Look at that—and that—and that!” and he to checkmarks on different pages. They made a total of, say, seven or eight inches, the equivalent in cash of less than three dollars. “And I’m supposed to live on that,” he went on, “and I have a boy and a girl in school! How do they figure that a man is to get along?”  
I had no to offer him. After a time he resumed: “What they do is to get strangers like us, or any of these down-and-out newspaper men always walking up and down Park Row looking for a job, and get us to work on space because it sounds bigger to a greenhorn. Sure they have space-men here who amount to something, fellows who get big money, but they’re not like us. They make as much as seventy-five and a hundred dollars a week. But they’re rewrite men, old reporters who have too big a pull and who are too sure of themselves to stand for the low salaries they pay here. But they’re at the top. We little fellows are told that stuff about space, but all we get is leg-work. If you or I should get hold of a good story don’t you ever think they’d let us write it. I know that much. They’d take it away and give it to one of these rewrite fellows. There’s one now,” and he pointed to a large comfortable man in a light brown overcoat and brown hat who was but now in. “He rewrote one of my stories just the other day. If they wanted you for regular work they’d make you take a regular salary for fear you’d get too much of space. They just keep us little fellows as extras to follow up such things as they wouldn’t waste a good man on. And they’re always firing a crowd of men every three or four months to keep up the zip of the staff, to keep ’em worried and working hard. I hate the damned business. I told myself in Pittsburgh that I never would get back in it again, but here I am!”
This revelation made me a little sick. So this was my grand job! A long period of for little or nothing, my hard-earned money exhausted—and then what?
“Just now,” he went on, “there’s nothing doing around the town or I wouldn’t be here. I’m only staying on until I can get something better. It’s a dog’s life. There’s nothing in it. I worked here all last week, and what do you think I made? Twelve dollars and seventy-five cents for the whole week, time included. Twelve dollars and seventy-five cents! It’s an !”
I agreed with him. “What is this time they allow?” I asked. “How do they figure—expenses and all?”
“Sure, they allow expenses, and I’m going to figure mine more liberally from now on. It’s a little bonus they allow you for the time you work, but you don’t get anything anyhow. I’ll double any railroad fare I pay. If they don’t like it they can get somebody else. But they won’t let you do too much of it, and if you can’t make a little salary on small stuff they won’t keep you even then.” He grinned. “Anything big goes to the boys on a salary, and if it’s real big the space-men, who are on salary and space also, get the cream. I went out on a story the other afternoon and tramped around in the rain and got all the facts, and just as I was going to sit down and write it—well, I hadn’t really got started—one of the managing editors—there are about twenty around here—came up and took it away from me and gave it to somebody else to write. All I got was ‘time.’ , I was sore! But I don’t care,” he added with a . “I’ll be getting out of here one of these days.”
Being handed this dose of inspiring information, I was in no mood for what followed; although I that this series of ills that were now befalling him was due to the fact that he was older than myself and maybe not very efficient, whereas in my case, being young, efficient, etc., etc—the usual mental bonus youth hands itself—I should do better. But when it came to my assignments this day and the next and the next, and in addition I was “handed” the late watch, my cock sureness began to evaporate. Each day I was given unimportant or verification tales, which came to nothing. So keen was the competition between the papers, especially between the World and the Sun, or the World and the , that almost everything suggested by one was looked into and criticized by the others. The items assigned to me this second day were: to visit the city morgue and there look up the body of a young and beautiful girl who was supposed to have drowned herself or been drowned and see if this was true, as another paper had said (and of course she was not beautiful at all); to visit a certain hotel to find out what I could about a hotel beat who had been arrested (this item, although written, was never us............
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