"He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself
also to walk even as He walked."
NORMAN, editor Of the Raymond DAILY NEWS, sat in his office
room Monday morning and faced a new world of action. He
had made his pledge in good faith to do everything after
asking "What would Jesus do?" and, as he supposed,
with his eyes open to all the possible results. But as
the regular life of the paper started on another week's
rush and whirl of activity, he confronted it with a degree
of hesitation and a feeling nearly akin to fear.
He had come down to the office very early, and for a few
minutes was by himself. He sat at his desk in a growing
thoughtfulness that finally became a desire which he knew
was as great as it was unusual. He had yet to learn, with
all the others in that little company pledged to do the
Christlike thing, that the Spirit of Life was moving in
power through his own life as never before. He rose and
shut his door, and then did what he had not done for years.
He kneeled down by his desk and prayed for the Divine
Presence and wisdom to direct him.
He rose with the day before him, and his promise distinct
and clear in his mind. "Now for action," he
seemed to say. But he would be led by events as fast as
they came on.
He opened his door and began the routine of the office
work. The managing editor had just come in and was at
his desk in the adjoining room. One of the reporters there
was pounding out something on a typewriter. Edward Norman
began to write an editorial. The DAILY NEWS was an evening
paper, and Norman usually completed his leading editorial
before nine o'clock.
He had been writing for fifteen minutes when the managing
editor called out: "Here's this press report of yesterday's
prize fight at the Resort. It will make up three columns
and a half. I suppose it all goes in?"
Norman was one of those newspaper men who keep an eye
on every detail of the paper. The managing editor always
consulted his chief in matters of both small and large
importance. Sometimes, as in this case, it was merely
a nominal inquiry.
-- No. Let me see it."
He took the type-written matter just as it came from the
telegraph editor and ran over it carefully. Then he laid
the sheets down on his desk and did some very hard thinking.
won't run this today," he said finally.
The managing editor was standing in the doorway between
the two rooms. He was astounded at his chief's remark,
and thought he had perhaps misunderstood him.
did you say?"
it out. We won't use it."
" The managing editor was simply dumbfounded. He
stared at Norman as if the man was out of his mind.
don't think, Clark, that it ought to be printed, and that's
the end of it," said Norman, looking up from his
Clark seldom had any words with the chief. His word had
always been law in the office and he had seldom been known
to change his mind. The circumstances now, however, seemed
to be so extraordinary that Clark could not help expressing
you mean that the paper is to go to press without a word
of the prize fight in it?"
That's what I mean."
it's unheard of. All the other papers will print it. What
will our subscribers say? Why, it is simply--" Clark
paused, unable to find words to say what he thought.
Norman looked at Clark thoughtfully. The managing editor
was a member of a church of a different denomination from
that of Norman's. The two men had never talked together
on religious matters although they had been associated
on the paper for several years.
in here a minute, Clark, and shut the door," said
Clark came in and the two men faced each other alone.
Norman did not speak for a minute. Then he said abruptly:
"Clark, if Christ was editor of a daily paper, do
you honestly think He would print three columns and a
half of prize fight in it?"
I don't suppose He would."
that's my only reason for shutting this account out of
the NEWS. I have decided not to do a thing in connection
with the paper for a whole year that I honestly believe
Jesus would not do."
Clark could not have looked more amazed if the chief had
suddenly gone crazy. In fact, he did think something was
wrong, though Mr. Norman was one of the last men in the
world, in his judgment, to lose his mind.
effect will that have on the paper?" he finally managed
to ask in a faint voice.
do you think?" asked Norman with a keen glance.
think it will simply ruin the paper," replied Clark
promptly. He was gathering up his bewildered senses, and
began to remonstrate, "Why, it isn't feasible to
run a paper nowadays on any such basis. It's too ideal.
The world isn't ready for it. You can't make it pay. Just
as sure as you live, if you shut out this prize fight
report you will lose hundreds of subscribers. It doesn't
take a prophet to see that. The very best people in town
are eager to read it. They know it has taken place, and
when they get the paper this evening they will expect
half a page at least. Surely, you can't afford to disregard
the wishes of the public to such an extent. It will be
a great mistake if you do, in my opinion."
Norman sat silent a minute. Then he spoke gently but firmly.
what in your honest opinion is the right standard for
determining conduct? Is the only right standard for every
one, the probable action of Jesus Christ? Would you say
that the highest, best law for a man to live by was contained
in asking the question, What would Jesus do?' And then
doing it regardless of results? In other words, do you
think men everywhere ought to follow Jesus' example as
closely as they can in their daily lives?" Clark
turned red, and moved uneasily in his chair before he
answered the editor's question.
-- yes -- I suppose if you put it on the ground of what
men ought to do there is no other standard of conduct.
But the question is, What is feasible? Is it possible
to make it pay? To succeed in the newspaper business we
have got to conform to custom and the recognized methods
of society. We can't do as we would in an ideal world."
you mean that we can't run the paper strictly on Christian
principles and make it succeed?"
that's just what I mean. It can't be done. We'll go bankrupt
in thirty days."
Norman did not reply at once. He was very thoughtful.
shall have occasion to talk this over again, Clark. Meanwhile
I think we ought to understand each other frankly. I have
pledged myself for a year to do everything connected with
the paper after answering the question, What would Jesus
do?' as honestly as possible. I shall continue to do this
in the belief that not only can we succeed but that we
can succeed better than we ever did."
Clark rose. "The report does not go in?"
does not. There is plenty of good material to take its
place, and you know what it is."
Clark hesitated. "Are you going to say anything about
the absence of the report?"
let the paper go to press as if there had been no such
thing as a prize fight yesterday."
Clark walked out of the room to his own desk feeling as
if the bottom had dropped out of everything. He was astonished,
bewildered, excited and considerably angered. His great
respect for Norman checked his rising indignation and
disgust, but with it all was a feeling of growing wonder
at the sudden change of motive which had entered the office
of the DAILY NEWS and threatened, as he firmly believed,
to destroy it.
Before noon every reporter, pressman and employee on the
DAILY NEWS was informed of the remarkable fact that the
paper was going to press without a word in it about the
famous prize fight of Sunday. The reporters were simply
astonished beyond measure at the announcement of the fact.
Every one in the stereotyping and composing rooms had
something to say about the unheard of omission. Two or
three times during the day when Mr. Norman had occasion
to visit the composing rooms the men stopped their work
or glanced around their cases looking at him curiously.
He knew that he was being observed, but said nothing and
did not appear to note it.
There had been several minor changes in the paper, suggested
by the editor, but nothing marked. He was waiting and
He felt as if he needed time and considerable opportunity
for the exercise of his best judgment in several matters
before he answered his ever present question in the right
way. It was not because there were not a great many things
in the life of the paper that were contrary to the spirit
of Christ that he did not act at once, but because he
was yet honestly in doubt concerning what action Jesus
When the DAILY NEWS came out that evening it carried to
its subscribers a distinct sensation.
The presence of the report of the prize fight could not
have produced anything equal to the effect of its omission.
Hundreds of men in the hotels and stores down town, as
well as regular subscribers, eagerly opened the paper
and searched it through for the account of the great fight;
not finding it, they rushed to the NEWS stands and bought
other papers. Even the newsboys had not a understood the
fact of omission. One of them was calling out "DAILY
NEWS! Full 'count great prize fight 't Resort. NEWS, sir?"
A man on the corner of the avenue close by the NEWS office
bought the paper, looked over its front page hurriedly
and then angrily called the boy back.
boy! What's the matter with your paper? There's no prize
fight here! What do you mean by selling old papers?"
papers nuthin'!" replied the boy indignantly. "Dat's
today's paper. What's de matter wid you?"
there is no account of the prize fight here! Look!"
The man handed back the paper and the boy glanced at k
hurriedly. Then he whistled, while a bewildered look crept
over his face. Seeing another boy running by with papers
he called out "Say, Sam, le'me see your pile."
A hasty examination revealed the remarkable fact that
all the copies of the NEWS were silent on the subject
of the prize fight.
give me another paper!" shouted the customer; "one
with the prize fight account."
He received it and walked off, while the two boys remained
comparing notes and lost in wonder at the result. "Sump'n
slipped a cog in the Newsy, sure," said the first
boy. But he couldn't tell why, and ran over to the NEWS
office to find out.
There were several other boys at the delivery room and
they were all excited and disgusted. The amount of slangy
remonstrance hurled at the clerk back of the long counter
would have driven any one else to despair.
He was used to more or less of it all the time, and consequently
hardened to it. Mr. Norman was just coming downstairs
on his way home, and he paused as he went by the door
of the delivery room and looked in.
the matter here, George?" he asked the clerk as he
noted the unusual confusion.
boys say they can't sell any copies of the NEWS tonight
because the prize fight isn't in it," replied George,
looking curiously at the editor as so many of the employees
had done during the day. Mr. Norman hesitated a moment,
then walked into the room and confronted the boys.
many papers are there here? Boys, count them out, and
I'll buy them tonight."
There was a combined stare and a wild counting of papers
on the part of the boys.
them their money, George, and if any of the other boys
come in with the same complaint buy their unsold copies.
Is that fair?" he asked the boys who were smitten
into unusual silence by the unheard of action on the part
of the editor.
Well, I should--But will you keep this up? Will dis be
a continual performance for the benefit of de fraternity?"
Mr. Norman smiled slightly but he did not think it was
necessary to answer the question.
He walked out of the office and went home. On the way
he could not avoid that constant query, "Would Jesus
have done it?" It was not so much with reference
to this last transaction as to the entire motive that
had urged him on since he had made the promise.
The newsboys were necessarily sufferers through the action
he had taken. Why should they lose money by it? They were
not to blame. He was a rich man and could afford to put
a little brightness into their lives if he chose to do
it. He believed, as he went on his way home, that Jesus
would have done either what he did or something similar
in order to be free from any possible feeling of injustice.
He was not deciding these questions for any one else but
for his own conduct. He was not in a position to dogmatize,
and he felt that he could answer only with his own judgment
and conscience as to his interpretation of his Master's
probable action. The falling off in sales of the paper
he had in a measure foreseen. But he was yet to realize
the full extent of the loss to the paper, if such a policy
should be continued.