M aybe that bandit in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre didn’t “need no stinking badges,” but years ago, many reporters at major metros did.

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M aybe that bandit in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre didn’t “need no stinking badges,” but years ago, many reporters at major metros did. Former newspaper writer and editor Clark Secrest, now living in Laguna Niguel, Calif., has the proof: over 150 different press badges, shields and stars, which he collects via eBay and antiques shows. They “were issued by newspapers, by police and fire departments, and by city and state governments,” Secrest reports. By design, many were almost identical to the police and fire badges of their jurisdictions. Others went to all reporters, instead of mere press cards, no matter what their beat. Early badges are hard to come by today, but the ones that turn up always remind Secrest of “an earlier and simpler era of covering the news.”

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