The Press: Santa & the City Room

The Christmastide had long been a happy time in the city room. In trod messengers bearing gifts from sources to newsmen—ashtrays, tumblers, cheeses, fruit baskets, electric roasters, turkeys, hams, and good liquor. If he occupied the right spot—say, a business, entertainment or sports desk—the happy recipient might gather enough spirits to throw a roaring good New Year's Eve party. But this Christmas, in the year of exposure of big TV and radio payola and all its embarrassment, the flow of gifts in most newspaper offices slowed to a weak gurgle.

On the bulletin boards of some papers appeared fresh drafts of Christmas-gift...