Where did the phrase “Extra extra, read all about it” come from?
Newspapers were news that were printed on papers, referred to as ‘papers’ before the age of internet, T.V., and radio.
Circa 1990s when Newspapers were a thing, Newspapers typically prints out on a daily cycle. If the Newspaper came out on Monday, it would be called the ‘Monday News’ or ‘Monday Papers’, Wednesday would be called the ‘Wednesday papers’, etc.
The printing press already printed out the Newspaper for the day, but then this new piece of news came out. A ‘new scoop’, ‘this just in’ or ‘breaking news’ that is just happening or just happened. This scoop was important enough that it needed to get out to the public and couldn’t wait. Important information like the stock market crashing, the bombing of pearl harbor, or going to war.
Whether to make a dime or to inform the public, the people working the printing press would get to work to put out another piece of news. These papers are called ‘extra’ papers since they didn’t go out with the routine scheduled newspapers.
These papers would then make it out to the public. There would be peddlers that did odd jobs to make a buck, from shoe-shining to delivering the morning paper. In order to promote and sell the paper, these people, mostly boys, would shout out like a town crier “Extra Extra, read all about it” to entice people to pick up the newest piece of news. Because they were boys that were small and zippy, they sometimes got referred to as ‘newspaper hawks’ or more aptly, ‘paperboys’.
Most of these paperboys bought the newspaper for 1 or 2 cents at the time, and resold em for 3 or more cents. Depending on the news, you just have to sell and hustle with your negotiation skills. Make the news appealing enough to read it, and quick enough to move on to the next buyer.
The most important newspaper was the Sunday news, due to religion making Sunday a day off for many. Newspaper companies could cram more material for a longer read on the Sunday news.
Hopefully this answered that side tidbit on newspapers and extra-such information.
A phrase that is so popular will eventually be capitalized, in-fact there was an Irish T.V. show that named themselves after this iconic phrase.