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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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On My First Job

By Joseph Blatt, '34

The Magpie, December 1930, v. 32, n. 1, p. 29.

My telephone rang at 6:45 A.M. I answered it and was surprised to hear the voice of my cousin who was a reporter on a well-known newspaper.

"Kid," he said, "the copy boy on our newspaper was fired. Be over at my office at 8 o'clock and take his place."

I dressed, had breakfast, and hurriedly left for Manhattan.

I arrived at the newspaper office and asked to see my cousin. He walked over, greeted me, and introduced me to the editor, who quickly explained my future duties. It was my job to answer the telephone, take newspaper copy from one desk to another, go out with reporters on big stories, and bring the copy back to the office when reporters were too busy to telephone in.

One day a call came in from fire headquarters that there was a very big fire on Broadway. The editor, being short of reporters at the moment, sent a cub reporter out to cover the story, and told him to be back as soon as possible. One hour passed, two hours passed, three hours passed, and yet there was no word from the cub reporter.

The editor was storming around the office. When the telephone rang, I quickly answered it. The cub reporter was on the wire. He said to me: "It's burning all right. Ask the editor what I ought to do." When the editor heard this, he exploded. He tore the receiver from my hand and yelled, "Pick out the hottest spot and jump in, you blame fool." and bang! went the receiver.




The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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