Dowd Pines For Bygone Era Of Newsrooms: ‘Dice Games, Brass Spittoons … .’ That’s 80 Years Ago

newsroom via Flickr Toronto history
  • New York Times writer, and veteran reporter Maureen Dowd wrote her column on the weekend of the annual White House Correspondence Dinner, in Washington, D.C.
  • To be sure, newsrooms have long been considered a thought collective, or a”marketplace or idea,” but some of the iconic newsroom types and daily occurrences she cites have not been around for nearly 70 or 80 years.
  • Dowd lifts from Times culture czar Arthur Gelb “City Room” about the “clacking rhythm of typewriters, the throbbing of great machines in the composing room on the floor above, reporters shouting for copy boys to pick up their stories.”
  • And she personally sites “the pungent aroma of vice: a carpet of cigarette butts, clerks who were part-time bookies, dice games, brass spittoons and a glamorous movie-star mistress wandering about.”
  • But amid her lost sense of grandeur, Dowd nevertheless acknowledges the digital era, then the pandemic, have in many ways made newsrooms nearly obsolete.