6 The Freeport Times

The Freeport News is the city's newspaper. Each morning before dawn, scores of young boys and girls take to the streets, laden with bundles of papers. They drop their loads on a street corner and go about the business of selling their rag, calling out headlines to passers-by, cajoling and heckling, and generally being obnoxious until people buy up all the issues.

The Shipping News got its start almost fifty years ago, when a young man named T.K. Calame set out to make his way in the world. Lacking any kind of appreciable skills, he searched for something he could do to keep food in his belly and a maiden in his bed. One advantage he had over his peers was his education. He could read and write, and quite well. He began with a series of pamphlets calling out corruption in the government, uncovering society scandals, and reporting on a variety of current events. At first, he pasted his writings on the sides of buildings and on fingerposts, and it wasn’t long before people would collect in front of his weekly news. It seemed Freeporters liked to be in the know and preferred Calame’s reliable tales over the fabricated tales spun by the rumormongers and criers.

Calame realized he could turn his experiment into a fortune. He convinced a few merchants and ship captains to invest in his growing business, and before he new it, he had a full-fledged printing operation in the Docks. He sold just a few copies at first, but as word spread, Freeporters clamored for the latest issue, forcing Calame to step up production, hire reporters, editors, and invest in more expensive printing equipment. By the time he was old and gray, the Freeport News had become Freeport’s sole source of information, and the era of rumormongers had gone the way of the Praxites.

The Freeport News evolved from a single sheet of paper with muddy print into a full-fledged newspaper broken up into sections including classified, society, current events, weather, and much more. After the paper was bought by the Enloquicedo Guild, C.Q. Calame, T.K.’s grandson, pushed the paper forward, tripling the readership. The Freeport News’ reporters hit the streets all over the city, dredging sensational stories, reporting on rumors, and including inflammatory editorials about key figures in the city. The Freeport News is still concerned with getting its facts straight, and the resources of the Enloquicedo Guild ensure that it can always be truly "Fair and Balanced". And in the unlikely event that they get a few trivial details wrong, they can always print a retraction in the next issue.

The Freeport News operates out of a large building on the northeastern edge of the Docks, just south of the Eastern District and west of Scurvytown. T.K. Calame chose this site as it afforded easy access to the more interesting parts of the city. The front of the building contains the Freeport News offices, where reporters write their sensational stories, and editors fix the errors and add a few extra details. C.Q. Calame works here as well, writing his regular column, “This Week in Freeport.”

Behind the offices are the printing presses. The Freeport News employs a large staff to run the machines. The Freeport News credits itself with inventing movable type; although in truth, Calame’s father discovered the technology on one of his visits to a city on the Continent.

A few years ago, the Shipping News suffered a terrible fire when an angry mob descended on the place during the upheaval that surrounded the ascension of the current Sea Lord. The damage was terrible, and several staff members asphyxiated in the smoke. Fortunately, the Enloquicedo Guild could afford to rebuild the paper, and the honest voice of the people was not silenced by the gangsters and criminals who has assaulted it. Now, the offices and presses are better than ever, and in thanks for the local support, Calame runs a special column called the Tales of the Phoenix, where one of his reporters writes about an ordinary person and their life (taking care to note how poor benefit from the honest employment provided by the kind and beneficent Enloquicedo Guild). This column has become wildly popular in the Merchant District, since noblewomen devour the heartrending stories of hardship and suffering of the lower classes.

Prominent Characters
C.Q. Calame: The publisher of the Freeport News, C.Q. Calame inherited all of his grandfather’s spunk, talent for writing, and business savvy. He knows a story when he hears it, and his editorials are the most popular. Calame realizes the Freeport News is as much a part of Freeport as the Sea Lord, so he takes his responsibility seriously.

C.Q. is approaching his middle years. He has pleasant features and bright eyes. He’s good with people, and a few words is usually all it takes to get them talking. He wears a simple white shirt, breeches, and floppy hat. He’s never without a blank, bound book, quill, and inkpot, so he can take notes about what he sees and encounters. His fingertips are permanently black with ink.

Some people say C.Q.’s the most powerful man on the island—he can move public opinion, spread the word on just about anything, and there’s nobody in town he doesn’t know. Sure, he’s made lots of enemies with all the juicy stories he’s run, but there’s nobody in town that would dare lift a finger against him. And nobody can buy him off, either.

Angelo Stampfel: Like many reporters that work for the Freeport News, Angelo got his start as a child. Calame pays well for any bit of dirt, any rumor, and so many of Freeport’s urchins put food in their bellies by spying and reporting what they find. Angelo Stampfel was just another kid, or so most thought, but his ear for language and his nose for trouble landed him a reporting assignment. As he continued to impress Calame, his position increased—until at the young age of twenty, he became the paper’s ace reporter. With contacts spread throughout the city, and knowing just what buttons to push to get his subjects to talk, he’s by far one of the best-connected people in the city.

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