Before that the quality level gets thin. There was a photographer on staff named Fen Truebridge in the 1950s who shot spectacular photos of the Morro Power Plant smokestacks under construction.
Sometimes a local studio photographer like McLain would submit a photo from a local event but most often photos came from a wire service.
In the 1940s the Telegram-Tribune subscribed to a cut-rate wire service, the Newspaper Enterprise Association. The service allowed a small newspaper to have cartoons, features, fashion and sports columns on national stories and some hard news coverage. It was founded as a content delivery service for Scripps-owned newspapers but soon other papers on a shoestring budget were buying services.
The quality level of the service was inconsistent, especially for photography.
The gold standard for photography and picture editing in the U.S. was Life magazine.
As a rule of thumb today we generally work with 4-7 images on a picture page. Rules can be broken but usually a page can’t breathe with too many images and without a dominant centerpiece the page tends to look like a ransom note. We do have the advantage today of being able to see the entire page on one computer screen and edit the type and photos to work in concert.
Back in the hot lead type days it was not uncommon to see 15 photos on a page.
Looking at this collection of photos from 1942 you see images from the standard list of hackneyed ideas.
Cutesy animals, 3 check.
Leggy women, 1, check
Posing in uniform, 6, check.
In my opinion none of these images would be in the running for most memorable image of 1942.