Though newspapermen do not like the word journalist as applied to active workers in the ranks, we are including to think the word has the right meaning and dignity if it is conceived to embrace the definition of a man who thoroughly knows the business of making newspapers and who has, also, the higher purpose of making the calling his serious life-work. In such a sense Joseph G. Mansfield, city editor of the San Francisco Call, and for many years prior to holding that position one of the best known reporters and special writers on the Pacific coast, is a representative western journalist, familiar with the smoke and strife of hot competition as a news-gatherer, competent as a director of reporters and other workers, and ambitious to achieve success in the higher lines of his profession. Mr. Mansfield is one of the best known and liked newspaper men in the west, having a large circle of close friends all over the coast. His name is known everywhere, for his career has been varied and successful, calling him to mingle with all classes.
Joseph G. Mansfield was born at Leavenworth, Kansas, on the 18th of August, 1866. His parents, who are still living, are Charles and Myra Mansfield, who was Miss Myra Clark McGranahan. His father was a printer and publisher in his early years and is to-day an active newspaper man. When Joseph was eight years of age his parents, filled with visions of the Golden West, moved to San Francisco, and the subject of this sketch received his education in the grammar and high schools of San Francisco.
Soon after leaving school he was seized with the ambition to become a printer, and he learned his trade in the Bulletin office under "Deacon" Fitch, famous as the owner of the Bulletin for many years. Not only did he het his union card, which he has never had occasion to use as a journeyman, but he learned a great deal about the pressroom and other departments of the paper. Hugh Burke was city editor of the Bulletin in the days of Mansfield's apprenticeship. One day there was need of help outside of the regular staff of reporters. Mansfield was pressed into service to help report a high school commencement. Disheveled and covered with ink, he hurried away and got his "copy" to press. That was the first "story" he ever wrote, and it set him aflame with ambition to be a reporter. Like a fever of the blood the ambition seized him and his career was from that time settled, and under Burke and Frank Sawyer, Burke's successor, young Mansfield wrote copy for many years.
Later he toured the northwest as far as Seattle, writing boom stories that made a hit and extended his acquaintance and his horizon. Then is did a session of the legislature at Sacramento for the Associated Press and the Sacramento Bee. E. B. Willis, afterward managing editor of the Record-Union, of Sacramento, was then a reporter. After the legislature adjourned R. M. Wood, who had just become city editor of the San Francisco Post, sent for Mansfield to become a reporter on that publication. He remained on the Post for some years, under T. T. Williams, C. O. Ziegenfuss and others. During this time he reported the famous Choynski-Corbett prize fight, one of the most noted sporting events in the history of the ring. Next, when E. B. Willis became managing editor of the Sacramento Record-Union, Mansfield was sent for and for four years he filled a responsible position as chief reporter at times and later as director of the local news forces.
Coming to San Francisco he served on the Chronicle with such men as Charles Dryden, Thomas B. Sullivan--now of the Call--and Thomas Garrett, then city editor of the Chronicle. In the famous Durrant murder case he made a brilliant record and was later sporting editor, which position he held on the Chronicle for two years. From the Chronicle he went to the Examiner when the Chronicle's city editor was called to the Examiner. After serving for several years there he was called to the work of reporting the Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight at Carson, this for the Call. He began his workon the Call in February, 1897, and in September of that year he was made city editor, which position he has held with marked success ever since that time. As a reporter Mr. Mansfield achieved many noted scoops, as in the great Koveley murder case, the Bellew murder, the Durrant case, and on the federal details which he covered with great skill.
Some fifteen years ago Mr. Mansfield led Miss Mamie Gallagher, a charming lady, to the alter. A son and daughter bless the union. Despite the urgent calls for a busy newspaper man Mr. Mansfield loves domestic life, and his little home is inviolate from the call of telephones and the annoyances of business. The thing of which he is most proud, aside from his family, is that no man can say he ever betrayed a friend. His heart is large, his word unimpeachable.
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