Can you even imagine a town, a city, a world without newspapers?
Everyone gossiping, information getting twisted, the final report being
shades different from its original hue. Frightening.
Newport Beach didn't have a newspaper until 1907. Prior to that,
everyone would congregate in hot spots and gab. The zealous ones, of
course, took it upon themselves to venture forth and spread the message.
But when the Newport News came along, people from Balboa and Newport
finally had a source to report its complaints and controversies. One of
the first issues reported had to do with a battle between an anti-liquor
group and an opposition team referred to as the "wets" in James Felton's
book "Newport Beach, The First Century, 1888-1988."
According to the "Genealogy of the 4th Estate -- Newport Harbor," put
together by R.D. Reddick, whose father Ben Reddick was a publisher, other
Newport papers continued to pop up (We'll save the history of the Daily
Pilot for a later column). The Balboa Bulletin came to be in 1922. The
Costa Mesa Courier and the Costa Mesa Reporter followed a year later. The
Harbor Herald began business in 1927.
The printing process then was eons behind technology today as people
would "set" the paper by hand, use movable type, paper cutters and offset
In 1948, the Newport Ensign started publication in Corona del Mar. By
the time World War II was over, Ben Reddick was publishing the Newport
Balboa Press and a publisher named Sam Meyer operated The Newport Beach
The early papers weren't very big, said longtime Newport resident Gay
Wassall-Kelly, who publishes the Balboa Beacon. The stories were less
detailed and sometimes they just reported the facts without getting into
the whys and hows, she added.
"Maybe it wasn't necessary," Wassall-Kelly said. "Things were less
In the '50s, the resident remembers her parents reading the Newport
Balboa News Press. She and her friends would flip through it just for
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