I don’t know how many letters to the editor or other such material I happened to make up over the years, having lost count in the process of getting the newspaper out on a regular basis.
Today, it seems, there is such a larger variety of things to report on, that one doesn't have to make anything up. In fact, there are whole new categories of news that didn’t even exist in the 1700s. For example, we never had any coverage of sports, athletics, or similar recreational pursuits. So, consequently, there were no famous athletes, no million dollar deals, no trading and selling of players, no devil incarnate team owners.
No war news
There was also very little news about wars elsewhere in the world. The extremely long time that it took for news to travel from Europe to America by way of a sailing ship often meant that the reports were weeks and months old by the time they reached our shores.
This was a constant frustration for me, especially when I was doing my diplomatic work in London, trying to avert a war at all costs. When I first heard, for example, about the altercations at Lexington and Concord, or the events of the Boston Tea Party (all of which contributed to accelerating the colonies’ decision to go to war), I was already well along in conversations with the British, and more than once felt rather embarrassed by the turn of events (especially when I had been trying to convince the British that we colonists preferred peace over revolution).
News about what you call “celebrities” and “stars” was another thing we did not have in my day. The absurdity of some of today’s stories about people like Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Jay Z, Pamela Anderson, Angelina Jolie, and countless others is quite unbelievable. Why it is that we elevate their misdeeds and mischief above more weighty matters like government crises or national disasters is beyond me. (That is, unless you consider Beyonce and Jay Z a national disaster).
And while we did have political events in the 1700s, they were generally quite different from the three-ring circus I have observed here in the 21st century. Having been both hero and scapegoat myself at various times (and even a target of the most bitter, slanderous misinformation imaginable), I am still amazed and shocked by some of the stories circulated today about current leaders or leaders-to-be. The whole debate over presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s fitness for office (was her head injury “faking it” or on the contrary “serious” enough to raise questions about her health?) is a good case in point.
Kidnapped in Nigeria
Finally, one of the other things we did not have in the newspapers of my day were stories about young girls being kidnapped to keep them from being educated, as is currently happening in Nigeria, on the continent of Africa. That is an abomination, not only to keep someone from being educated, but also to treat the other gender in such a despicable way!
All in all, if I were a journalist for today’s media, I think I would find myself retreating to the sanctuary of my library, hiding myself under a stack of newspapers, and refusing to come out (like the legendary groundhog) until everybody else had seen their shadows and found a way to restore the world to some degree of sanity.
Your humble servant,