At some point in the 1940s, a millionaire newspaperman died in New York, leaving his business and his money to his dog. Under unknown circumstances, the dog became the patron of a gang of children who worked as paper-sellers. The children decided to use the money to investigate crimes and have adventures, and then write about them in their paper.
The children adventured for several years, but at the end of the decade they were about to grow up and separate, when they agreed to work on their last case, the Scary Fairies of Slaughter Swamp. Unfortunately this threw them into conflict with the Terrible Time Tailor, who offered them a choice: he would turn them into failed people, or he would kill them. The chose to fail, but soon afterwards, their failures made them petty and despicable, and they killed one of their own and scattered. The last member, Ed "Baby Brain" Starsgard, was left to run the newspaper company.
By the time of Infinite Crisis, Starsgard had built on the success of the paper by employing an updated idea of his old gang, the "Newsboy Army" - children, employed and equipped by him, empowered to rove the city of New York hunting for news. In the event that these children got into trouble, Starsgard kept an agent, the Manhattan Guardian, whose job was to swoop in and rescue them, to get the news out.