Living in the time of 1899 must have been hard for many people, including kids! Especially kids that sold newspapers. Boys and girls sold newspapers on city streets and shouted the title of the newspapers, so people would be intrigued and buy the newspapers. That sounds easy, but it’s not!
William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer each own a major newspaper company in New York City. They depend on children to sell the newspapers to people for profit. The kids had a lot of hard work to do though. If a boy or girl didn’t sell all of the newspapers that were given, than they had to pay for the newspapers themselves. Then, newspaper sales slowed, so to continue getting the same profit, William and Joseph charged the newsies more for the newspapers.
One day, a boy and girl named Joanne Hargolph and Tom Suse decided to write a letter to William and Joseph to hopefully change things. Joanne told Tom, “I think we should write a letter to both companies. We’ll tell them why to change things and then hopefully they will change things. It can hopefully work out for the better.” “You’re right Joanne, if we change things, it will not only help us out, but everyone else too!” So that’s what they did!
Joanne and Tom composed a letter and it said,
Dear William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer,
Our names are Joanne Hargolph and Tome Suse. We are two children that sell your newspapers. We would appreciate it if you could make a few changes about your companies. It is unfair that we have to buy the newspapers, and then sell them, but if we hadn’t sold all of them, we would have to pay for the others that are left over. Then, newspaper sales slowed down, so you guys are charging us extra for the newspapers. Tom and I don’t like the new changes and we would love it if you would cooperate with us and change things.
Tom Suse and Joanne Hargolph
Joanne and Tom mailed the letters to both companies. Then Joanne and Tom were talking. “What if the letter doesn’t change their minds. Maybe we should also form a union and then refuse to deliver newspapers until the price per paper is normal again,” Joanne said. “That’s actually not a bad idea. We can really help change things and it will be way easier and normal again for everyone!” “Yeah! Then we will be heroes and help out everyone else too!” Joanne and Tom came up with an idea that will help everyone out.
Later that day, Joanne and Tom talked to a bunch of newsies and formed a union. They refused to deliver newspapers until the price per newspaper was normal again. The strike lasted two weeks, but the public agreed with the children. The strike also spread to different states and changes also happened there! The owners of the companies began to lose money and then finally changed the newspaper prices. The newsies were also able to return any papers that were left over. The children won and then Joanne and Tom were heroes!