Oregon Exchanges/Volume 6/Number 5
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For the Newspaper Men of the State of Oregon
HANDLING ADVERTISING IN DAILY PAPER FIELD IN OREGON
By ERNEST R. GILSTRAP of Eugene Morning Register
[Points for the advertising salesman, the fruit of twenty years of experience in this field, were given in a paper by Ernest R. Gilstrap, vice-president of the Morning Register Company of Eugene, and advertising manager of the Morning Register. Mr. Gilstrap’s very helpful paper, read in his absence by Frank Jenkins, editor of the Register, was received with marked attention by the Newspaper Conference audience. “The advertising man in reality is working for the advertiser,” Mr. Gilstrap told the publishers.]
ACCORDING to your program I am to reveal my methods of selling space. I regret that I have nothing new to offer. I should be delighted to give you a tip you could use in your territory that would turn inches into feet. Such a method I have wished for many times, and if I had it I doubt very much if it could be bought at any price. Take it in July and August and some years in January and February, when the blue pencil leaves only the bare head-rules. Has it ever happened to you? I suppose my method in a case of this kind is no different from that of any other advertising salesman. I probably move more quickly, think faster and work harder—and as a result accomplish more—than on the more favorable days. Just throw her into high and step on it, is perhaps another way of saying it—-and I don’t drive a car, either.
WORK OF PREPARATION LONG
It was more than twenty years ago that I decided, for some unaccountable reason, to take up advertising. After sizing myself up from all angles, I found that I had much to do to equip myself for the work. It meant first, that I must resign my position as foreman of the Register, a position that paid the handsome salary of $8 a week. Did any of you ever get your weekly pay in the quad case? Well, it was that way back in those days, and if you remember, the ghost didn’t always walk on Saturday nights. Getting back to what I started to say: after resigning my position, I took up merchandising. Fortunately for me I was able to divide my time between the various departments of a general store. At the close of the first year I took over the advertising for the store and this department of the business proved to be the most interesting part of my work. I carried on the advertising for two years, at the same time learning everything I possibly could about merchandise. The point I wish to make clear here is this: From my experience I know that it is highly essential for an advertising man to know something about merchandise. He must know merchandise to get the selling points from it. The more of this knowledge he has acquired, the easier it is to tell the story. An advertising man must be more than a copy-chaser; he must be a salesman as well as a copywriter to get the best results.
The most effective way to prove to an advertiser the value of everyday usage of space is to induce him, if possible, to take out a contract for a period of not less than three months. It is not a matter of how often should he advertise, but how often can he advertise. Of course his appropriation must be taken into consideration. If it will stand every-day insertions, then by all means encourage him to hit the ball every day. By the time his contract expires, he should be sold completely. After a man is once sold, the rest is easy.
You must take an interest in the advertiser's business. In planning space it should be we, and not you or I. But if you are not sufficiently interested to be sincere in using this term better stay off it. Forget your newspaper and work for him, for without him there wouldn't be any job for you, or any need for the newspaper. He’s the fellow that makes the newspaper possible. He makes your job possible. He is the He is the creator of business, and in sending his messages to the home of the reader, he creates an added interest in your publication. Help him in every way possible to handle his advertising in the most effective way for he measures by results.
RANGE OF ADVERTISING WIDE
Eugene is one of the best advertising towns in the west. Practically every business man in the city is sold on newspaper advertising. The field is highly developed. The butchers and grocers, who a few years ago would not look at an advertising- man, now use space regularly.
It is not strange to say that they find it pays. Why shouldn’t it? Their wares are just as much in demand as any other commodity. Why shouldn’t they go after the business the same as any other dealer? It’s in the cards, and all they have to do is play them.
A business man once said to me that he would not engage in any business that he could not advertise. He went so far as to say if he were postmaster he would use space to increase his receipts and thereby get his salary boosted. I do not know how well this would work out, but this I do know, this same gentleman has spent many thousands of dollars for advertising space, and knows the value of newspaper display.
KEEP MERCHANT OUT OF RUT
The merchant very often in a small town will get into a rut—he’s only human. Merchandise will accumulate and the season will slip away leaving out-of-season goods on his shelves. It is up to the advertising man to see that this does not occur. Suggestions must come in time to save him from such a predicament. It is as much to his interest to keep the merchant’s stock clean and salable as to the merchant’s. He must be alert, watchful, careful, helpful, honest and sincere in his efforts, and never too busy to lend a hand. If it becomes necessary to put on a sale for any reason, he should be capable of conducting a successful sale. There are requirements that must be met.
While an advertising man is on the payroll of the newspaper, in reality he is working for the advertiser.
If he puts forth the right effort for the advertiser his paper will take care of itself. Many times I have been scooped on my own copy in page and half-page spreads, and I have yet the first time to see where I have lost anything by this method. One who is going to put selfishness and pride first, has no business in the game of advertising salesmanship. Remember that the advertiser’s interest must have first consideration.
Encourage your merchants to adopt the budget system. You cannot fully appreciate what this means unless you have advertisers who are using it. The advertiser with an appropriation set aside for advertising will make a definite plan and carry it out, while the one who is using the "hit and miss" method will continue to hit and miss, and usually he misses even though he hits. Altogether too much ammunition is wasted in this way, and I believe you will agree with me when I say that unless the budget system is used, the merchant will let his personal feelings enter into his actions in advertising. If he feels good, he's ready to write a page, and not for any other reason than that he feels like writing. Not because it would be good business; not because he wants to force out any special lot of goods, nor is it even due to the need for raising money. He merely feels like writing. Of course, this is a nice pickup for the ambitious advertising man, but how is he going to feel each day for the next two weeks when he gets repeated turn-downs because this same fellow has a bilious attack, or the weather is too cloudy, or it's too dark and gloomy, or any other old excuse he might give because he shot his whole week's appropriation in one ad and he guesses he will wait a few days—which might mean a month?
BUDGET MAKES FOR CARE
On the other hand the budget man is grinding away from day to day. His ideas are definitely formed, he has so much money to spend and is spending it. The more budget systems you can get to working in your city the better it will be for both the advertiser and the newspaper. It does away with the "hit and miss" method and is assurance of copy regularly, and usually this kind of an advertiser gets his copy out on time. He is willing to meet the printer half way, and in most cases realizes that it takes time to produce a good ad. You will find him particular about the way his ad is set. He will not stand for waste space. He must make every inch of space count and he is entitled to your hearty cooperation.
Space is paid for on an inch or a line basis. This is a method adopted by the publisher to get pay for the service. In reality, the advertiser is buying circulation, for without the circulation of his message the space will buy him nothing. He pays for this circulation in proportion to the size of his story. Sometimes it requires a page. Is it fair to him to misrepresent the size of your circulation?
It is a question in some territories whether the field is handled by the advertising man or the field handles him. To be successful you must win every argument pertaining to advertising. To lose even a minor argument weakens the cause and is a starter toward forming the opinion of the advertiser that you don't know your business. Do not get the impression that it is my method to bulldoze or even try to put anything over on the advertiser- In the first place, argument should be avoided wherever possible, but if you are making an honest effort to prove the contention which you know to be founded on facts—win your argument. Your future dealings with this man depend upon not only your method of handling the question but upon convincing him you are right.
GOOD TEMPER ALWAYS
By all means never lose your temper; handle your argument in an honest and truthful manner. Smile when you feel like swearing. If you must take it out on something, wait until you get to the office and take it out on the office cat.
The facts given in this paper are as I see them today, after summing up of some seventeen years of advertising experiences in this one field in Eugene. Eugene is an advertising town, as I have said before. There are few merchants who are not sold on newspaper advertising. This fact is partly due to salesmanship but in the main to the results that accrue from advertising. I do not feel that I have accomplished any more than any other average man could in this territory. The medium I represent covers the Eugene trade zone so completely that the advertiser measures by results, and results are responsible for the success I have made in handling the advertising field in Eugene. I have tried to make my paper brief and to the point.
The very backbone of the newspaper business is the advertiser. You expect him to do truthful advertising. He expects the truth from you. If you lie about the number of homes your paper reaches, sooner or later you will be picked up on it and as a result you will lose his confidence and your paper will lose prestige.
TRUTHFULNESS BEST HABIT
There is only one real good excuse that I can think of just now for lying to an advertiser, and that is when a pointed question is put to an advertising man about his competitor. Even though you are justified, it is better not to form bad habits. For my part, I am afraid to lie, for when you mix a bunch of lies and truths up together and they begin spilling back you are apt to misread the labels on them and not know one from the other. Always tell the truth and solve your problems as you go. True, the temptations are great, but fight for the truth,—it saves explaining later.
I usually ask this question in reply to a question about a competitor; “Did you ever know an advertising man who knew anything?” They always agree with me, especially in my own case. At any rate, they get the point. Always shoot straight with a business man; it’s the most important thing in the business. I consider it a great honor to have the confidence of the business men of Eugene all through these seventeen years of active service in the advertising field. It is one of my greatest possessions, and I value it most highly. It helps me to live in my work, to love the game, and give the best there is in me at all times for the good of the cause. Our interests are mutual. We are fighting together for one and the same great purpose and we are winning out.
SPACE-USER IS WINNER
Today newspaper advertising stands alone. It is the greatest and most forceful factor in public enlightenment at the command of our merchants, and they know how to use it. The experimental stage has long since passed, and the space-user is reaping his reward. Let us continue to build and make our publications far more effective for the men who make our business possible.
MEETING EMERGENCIES; HOW NEWSPAPERMEN COOPERATE IN CRISES
By E. F. NELSON
Correspondent Associated Press, Portland
NEWSPAPERMEN more than any other class of workers are trained to meet emergencies. The publisher, editor, reporter, the entire staff, is accustomed to deal with the unexpected. In fact, the unusual constitutes our principal stock in trade.
We encounter two kinds of emergencies—one that swoops down with tragic suddenness, and the other which often we have time to prepare for.
The expected emergency tests our foresight, while the unexpected calls forth our resourcefulness. We may plan how to meet an emergency which looms on the horizon of the future, but our success in meeting an emergency which catches us unawares depends not only upon ourselves but on the help we have from others—upon the way our organization functions; upon the faithful co-operation of our friends and fellow workers.
As to ourselves we must first be unafraid. In the face of danger and excitement we must be courageous and cool-headed. We must have faith in ourselves and our helpers. With mind unruffled by fear we must see clearly, and having estimated the situation we must act promptly and with no uncertainty. Then, having acted, we must have the firmness to continue in the course we feel is right, discarding doubts that may arise.
AID OF OTHERS NEEDED
No matter how certain we may be of ourselves and how well we may see and do our part, we must have the help of others as keen and devoted as we ourselves may be. Without the helpful cooperation of others our greatest efforts may end in failure.
The newspaper profession has furnished many heroic examples of meeting emergencies. We have heard of many instances of publishing in the face of apparently insuperable obstacles. We know of numerous cases where in the presence of a calamity the spirit of friendly cooperation has asserted itself, and business rivals or political enemies have for gotten their differences and fought one another’s battles. Time after time, in various parts of the country it has been recorded that where a newspaper has been burned out or has suffered some other disaster its most active opponent has offered full facilities for use until the unfortunate one has been able to restore its own equipment.
CORRESPONDENT ACTS PROMPTLY
Every newspaperman has been thrilled by the record of Astoria’s fire and its aftermath of heroic endeavor. An emergency thrust itself upon us on the morning of December 8. While flames were devouring building after building and gradually swelled a fire into a conflagration, Portland slept peacefully beneath a soft blanket of new-fallen snow. My telephone rang long before day-break and the news was given to me. My first act was to wire our correspondent at Astoria, asking him to call by long distance telephone with all available facts. No sooner had I reached the office than he was calling me, but not in response to my message, which may never have reached him. He was doing it on his own initiative. He gave material for bulletins which told the story up to that time and forecast the ultimate loss with surprising accuracy. Our bulletins at that hour estimated the loss at between ten and twelve million dollars, which proved close to the final figures of the insurance adjusters. I asked our correspondent to call me every half hour and he did that with clock-like precision throughout that trying day, giving each time the story of the spread of the flames. This man, Mr. C. A. Murphey, of the Astoria Budget, a major in the world war, schooled to facing trying situations, gave a fine example of meeting an emergency.
KEEPING PACE WITH DISASTER
The new building of the Astoria Budget was among the first to be swept by the flames. Later in the morning Murphey’s accounts told of the fire eating its way toward the new building of the Morning Astorian. He told how the Astorian was starting to move out while the fire was still several blocks away. The next time he called he said the sparks had ignited the roof of the Astorian’s building. They were then moving out the linotype machines. The next half hour’s installment told of the fire having swept through the newspaper’s plant.
While the flames were still spreading we heard of the staff of the Budget get ting out editions on mimeographed sheets. Later in the day Mr. Murphey at my request got Mr. J. S. Dellinger, publisher of the Astorian, on the telephone for me. Mr Dellinger was displaying a fine spirit of fortitude in the emergency. When I expressed my regret that his plant had been burned he calmly replied:
“It’s just the fortune of war.”
Then I learned of his plan to print his next edition on the press of the local Finnish paper, the Toveri. He did not need our dispatches that night because he had so much local news—news that was filling the columns of more fortunate papers in all parts of the country. But the following night he was able to take some outside news over a temporarily established telephone service.
The Budget, working from its temporary headquarters at the Y. M. C. A. building. one of the structures saved from the fire, got out its editions on the days following on the press of the newspaper at Seaside, twenty miles away.
TELLING THE STORY OF KELSO
Within a month after the Astoria fire an emergency of another sort developed suddenly. It was the bridge disaster at Kelso, Wash., the evening of January 3rd. I was attending a dinner when a message reached me. I hastened to the office to find that some bulletins had been sent, and urgent messages were coming from Western Division headquarters at San Francisco asking whether I thought it best to go to Kelso. Just then there came piling into the office over a special Western Union wire a message addressed to me from Kelso. It gave an entirely new version of the accident, explaining how the bridge had collapsed because of the snapping of the supporting cable. Earlier messages had reported as the cause a log jam striking the bridge. The message also gave an estimate of eighteen persons lost, whereas earlier re ports had about six missing. After running about 300 words the item ended and I eagerly looked for the signature. It was what I had expected—Ralph Tennal. He is a newspaperman from Kansas who started the Longview News, at Longview, Wash., close to Kelso. I had learned to know Tennal during his visits at our office while he was arranging for the starting of his paper. We became friends. but I had not asked him to act as correspondent. On his own initiative, however, he had rounded up the story, which was not only complete in detail but had an estimate of loss of life at that early hour which approximated the final toll reached after several days of checking up of the missing. This is a striking illustration of meeting an emergency through helpful co-operation.
GOOD WORK AT ROSEBURG
A few weeks ago a story came from Sacramento telling of a missing woman, the daughter of a family living at Sutherlin, Ore. Our San Francisco office asked for a follow. So I called Bert Bates, of the News-Review, at Roseburg, and read the story to him, which he took word for word. In a short time he telephoned back a good follow which he had obtained by telephone from Sutherlin. Then an hour or so later came another call from Mr. Bates. He had sent over to Sutherlin and had some sensational developments, a letter and other facts. This was another instance of loyal and energetic co-operation in meeting an emergency.
On New Year’s Day the Toledo (Ohio) high school football team played the Corvallis high school in a championship match at Corvallis. Of course the interest was keen. C. E. Ingalls, of the Corvallis Gazette-Times, and I had corresponded in regard to covering the game, and we understood that the Western Union was to have a wire to the field over which bulletins could be sent. About an hour before the game I learned that the wire had been leased to a Toledo paper which was not a member of The Associated Press. So I reached Mr. Ingalls by long distance at his home just before he left for the game and told him the situation. I was anxious to get quick bulletins by telephone to our Portland office to meet the competition of the leased wire. The way Mr. Ingalls stood by me in this predicament and shot those bulletins through by long-distance—even when the local team was losing, afforded still another illustration of devoted cooperation in meeting emergencies.
Instances like these might be multiplied indefinitely. These are the most recent of a number in my experience at the Portland bureau of The Associated Press. All the members served by this bureau have at one time or another shown equal loyalty and energy. They illustrate the point I make, that success in meeting emergencies depends largely upon the help we get from others.
In closing let me say: To be ready for any emergency we must follow the example of the wise man spoken of in Scripture, who, observing the precepts of good will and brotherliness, is like the man "which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the wind blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock." But the one who ignores the fundamental principles of square dealing is like the "foolish man which built his house upon the sand: and the rains descended and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall thereof."
We may encounter an emergency at any time or at any place, but we need not fear if we are mentally and physically prepared. First we must have knowledge to deal intelligently with a situation; second we must have strength of body to endure an ordeal of hard work. We must realize, too, that in the humdrum of everyday grind we are really preparing ourselves to meet the big moments of life.
Sir Rabindranath Tagore, the poet of India, simply and effectively expresses it:
"Look well to this day
For in it lie the opportunities of the present and all the possibilities of the future;
Yesterday was a dream,
Tomorrow is a vision.
Look well, therefore, to this day!"
THE PART THE PRODUCER PUBLICATION PLAYS IN STABILIZING INDUSTRY
By ERNEST C. POTTS
Editor Better Fruit, Portland
[In his most instructive paper, read before the trade publications section of the Oregon Newspaper Conference, Mr. Potts set before his fellow-publishers the ideal of a sane, steady development of their respective industries, through the medium of publicity designed to check both inflation and deflation, the two menacing extremes.]
IF THE thought is new to you, consider for a moment the assertion that stabilization of our country's industries is an end greatly to be desired. Without a second's reflection you will realize that stability in our industries and commercial life in general has been lacking during almost the entire period since the great war started its cataclysmic train of events, nearly nine years ago. Speaking of industries as a whole, they were first plunged into gloom and depression, then lifted on the wings of war prosperity to a position of optimism and wealth un paralleled in all history, only to be plunged again with equal suddenness into the dumps of debt and insecurity.
I would remind you that even the politicians discovered that something was askew in the "good old U. S. A.," for did not one of the leaders coin that significant phrase, "back to normalcy"? Perhaps you will recall that this striking phrase so aptly described and suggested the desideratum, the need of the nation, that repetition of it on a million tongues a day became little short of a national prayer.
You well know what a heart-tending experience it was for the man in the livestock industry, for example, to have seen the price of a steer slump $15 or $20 to perhaps $30, then rise to three times that figure only to be plunged very abruptly to the point where there was no market at all for the animal. You know how the agricultural industry was affected when the wheat farmer saw the price rise from 80 cents a bushel to $2.50, only to react again until no one wanted his wheat at 80 cents.
Yes, even superficial reflection should bring the conviction that our industries need to be gotten back to normalcy, and that they be kept there as nearly as is humanly possible.
Many of you may not be connected with a publication that directly touches some industry of size and importance. Whether you are or not your intelligence and experience tell you that your welfare is inextricably bound up with theirs. If, then, you do not have it directly in your power as an editor or publisher to work for stability and normalcy in our industrial and commercial life you may at least carry with you a certain sympathy for any such movement.
HOW TRADE JOURNAL HELPS
There are numerous ways in which the trade publication in a given industry may help and does help stabilize that industry. I can not escape the time-honored analysis that employs the "firstly" and "secondly" of the preacher and editor. For simplicity we need only cite that the publication stabilizes, (1) by what it does for the producer—your loyal "Old Subscriber." and his tribe, and (2) by what it does to the fellows who deal with this immediate family.
Though it is a part of my subject, I consider it superfluous to recite any large number of ways in which the producer publication dispenses information, news, advice and criticism for the benefit of its readers. Performance of these services constitutes the reason for its existence.
It is obvious that the producer publication—using the term in its limited sense—must give the reader helpful facts about growing, harvesting, preparing for marketing his products. Even though it tell him how to build a pig-pen, or run an automobile or raise dahlias, the underlying objective is that of making him a more efficient producer.
SELFISHNESS UNSETTLING FORCE
Now, teaching a reader how to be successful and contented may have only remote effect in stabilizing the industry or branch of an industry he is linked with. It may have no such effect. Consider for a moment the labor organizations, which always class their members as producers. With utmost respect for many of Labor's great leaders and for the great good their organizations have accomplished for their members do I say it, yet I am forced to say that they do not follow policies and practices that tend to stabilize an industry, including their own.
This suggests the basic thought and principle toward which I have been heading. The real upsetting, unstabilizing force in the world of industries is selfishness. So long as the persons who work in an industry, invest their money in it or have other connection with it insist on getting out of it for their own individual benefit every possible dollar, you may not expect stability nor much of normalcy in that industry.
As one who types out a few little editorials addressed to producers each month I am unalterably opposed to this attitude as basically wrong, wasteful and harmful to everyone, in the end. Whether I have you with me on this or not, I want to say it is the duty of every trade publication editor to oppose the practice of "charging all the traffic will bear." It is a privilege and a responsibility for him to teach the folly and short-sightedness of that destructive and fallacious practice. I will illustrate by specific experience In the recent editorial which brought down upon me this topic I pointed out what a highly desirable thing it would be in the apple-growing industry of the Northwest if prices were stabilized so both producer and consumer would know what to expect from year to year. No one thing would more quickly place the orchardist in a position of security, contentment and prosperity than the mere stabilization of prices at a figure which insures him an equitable profit. The orchardists realize this just at present, and there are many factors at work influencing toward such an arrangement.
With prices of the past year below cost of production it is easy sailing to propose and work for their stabilization at a figure that would mean profit instead of loss. The trouble will come when conditions change and prices soar to the point where undue profits become possible. Then re turns the danger that Greed will forget its lesson and demand the excess profit.
HOLD DOWN IN FAT YEARS
The editor who sets out to advocate fair wages and fair profits for any industry with which he is concerned takes account of the future. He must make up his mind to advocate holding prices down in flush years as well as pushing them up in lean years. Knowing how great would be the ultimate benefits, there was no hesitancy in this particular editorial in pointing this out and advocating it. Fortunately, in my line, it was possible to point to a branch of the industry which has achieved success and stability through this broad-gauge policy.
Turning to the other side of our analysis, not much need be said about what the producer publication accomplishes for its clientele through what it does to those interests so often regarded as "hostile." You know what a common attitude it is for the laborer to consider the capitalist his enemy or the shipper to think the railroad exists for little more than to gouge from him every possible nickel. This attitude is fallacious and harmful. It has slight foundation in fact, however, and the producer's publication must fight his just and righteous battles. Such actual enemies as he has it exposes. His lawful interests it defends.
It is just as necessary for those who handle our producer's products to play fair as for him to do so. His publication helps enforce this obligation. Occasionally, through publicity in its columns, it may inject the fear of God into them. If true to its trust the publication faithfully and fearlessly does this. Most of them do. The few which are recreant may flourish for a time, but they are headed for an untimely demise.
Enough, I am sure, for the destructive side of our theme. The lasting good the editor and his publication accomplish for their specific industry is largely of constructive nature. Stabilization of industries, with whatever resultant benefits this assures, is achieved almost entirely through constructive action.
The publication that intelligently and conscientiously works for this objective stands for less suspicion and more sincerity; less hostility and more helpfulness; less greed and more good-will; less vituperation and more arbitration; less conspiracy and more co-operation.
Women Writers Meet
NEWSPAPER RESPONSIBILITY; FUNCTION OF PRESS IN CAMPAIGN LIKE LAST ONE
By ROBERT W. RUHL, Editor Medford Mail-Tribune.
[In this paper, read before the Oregon Newspaper Conference, Mr. Ruhl, declaring in an extempore introduction that editors were often either "pussyfoot" or "wildcat" in policy, assailed pussyfooting as he saw it in the last campaign.]
"THE newspaper editor has a double responsibility, first to give the people the news, second to give them the significance of that news. The first responsibility has to do with the news columns; the second responsibility with the editorial columns. In the news columns should be the interpretation of those facts. The newspaper that has news but no opinions, is of little more use in the field of journalism than the newspaper that has opinions but no news. News without opinions is a body without a soul; opinion without news is a soul without a body. Both are essential if the newspaper is to retain its place in human affairs, and is to properly dis charge its primary obligation, which is the enlightenment and leadership of public opinion."
This definition of editorial responsibility is from a speech delivered by Mr. Keeley, 1903, and it serves as the text of the present discourse.
Now if Mr. Keeley knew what he was talking about, and I believe he did, and if these dicta are applied to Oregon with particular reference to the recent election, we find a curious situation.
KLAN IS IGNORED
The most significant and sensational feature of the election was the Ku Klux Klan. From the time ex-Governor Olcott defied the Klan on the eve of the primary, to the time that Governor Pierce in deference to the Klan's demands, issued his memorable Anti-Papal Bull, pledging his support to the Compulsory School bill, the one outstanding news feature was the dominance of this extraordinary organization.
And yet during all this time in at least eighty per cent of the newspapers of Oregon there was not the slightest editorial reference to this amazing development. If a journalist from Mars had happened to have been curious concerning Oregon and had subscribed to eighty per cent of the newspapers during the past year, and had confined himself to the editorials to gain his view of what was, and what was not, agitating the minds of the people of this State, he would not have discovered that such a thing as a Ku Klux Klan had ever existed. He would have read thrilling accounts of the rise and fall of the broccoli crop, the importance of a protective tariff on Chinese eggs, can radium cure cancer, are potatoes fattening, insect life on the upper Orinoco, the virtues of boosting and the vices of Bolshevism, but whether or not the Klan was a good or bad organization, whether or not invisible government, based upon religious intolerance, was desirable or undesirable, whether the Klan was a harmless joke, or a serious menace,—not a word.
FEW INTERPRETED NEWS
I fail to see how any newspaper man can deny that this is, to say the least, a very unusual situation. In my judgment the introduction of the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon has been the most sensational, the most dramatic, the most picturesque development in Oregon politics, in the history of this state. It has been nothing short of a political revolution. The more one studies the situation the more amazing and incredible the entire performance becomes.
And yet with these extraordinary events transpiring before our eyes, with the main events reported more or less, usually less,—in the news columns from day to day, the number of newspapers in Oregon that tried in any way to interpret these events, to bring their true significance before the people, to either mold or influence public opinion concerning them, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
ISSUE RECOGNIZED ELSEWHERE
What makes this condition all the more striking is the fact that newspapers elsewhere have shown a great editorial interest in this organization. The New York World was awarded the Pulitzer prize for its campaign against the Klan, the committee ruling that this was the most distinguished public service rendered by any newspaper during that year. The Sacramento Bee, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Examiner, the Spokane Spokesman-Review, are only a few of the many well known dailies on this coast that have taken a decided editorial stand. A number of magazines have editorially expressed themselves, many of the weeklies, and even in the Manchester Guardian, published in England, I saw, last January, an editorial commenting on the activities of the Klan in the United States, with particular reference to the conditions in Oregon. And yet in the state where this occurred, as far as a majority of the press is concerned,—silence. News value in inverse proportion to distance.
Now it is not my intention to bore you with an attack upon the Ku Klux Klan. Personally I am opposed to it from goblin to wizard. But my personal opinions, as far as this discussion is concerned, are beside the point. I am merely bringing forth the Klan as an example—in my judgment a horrible example—of the low estate to which the editorial departments of a majority of the newspapers of this state have fallen.
So I am not asking anyone to pass judgment on the Ku Klux Klan. All that I am asking is that it be granted that in the last election it was a powerful and effective organization, dominating and to a large extent controlling the political destiny of this state. If this is granted, then I maintain the Klan constituted a factor which absolutely demanded on the basis of editorial responsibility, editorial treatment.
Hundreds of good citizens joined the Klan. One of the most frequent arguments by Klan sympathizers, in Jackson county at least, was "In attacking the Klan you are attacking some of the best citizens in your town." This, instead of being a reason against action, was, it seemed to me, a reason for it. A political, super-legal, secret organization appealing only to the criminal or undesirable element could be easily controlled. If a roster of the Klan had been, as some one claimed, a mere "Who's Who in Hoodlum," the problem would have been simple. But it was far from that The Klan propaganda was so cleverly ar ranged that, superficially at least, some of the best elements in the community were attracted. And this fact. instead of relieving the newspaper from responsibility, merely increased it.
DUTY TO TAKE STAND
I do not mean to say that it was the primary obligation of all newspapers to oppose the Klan, although personally I have never been able to understand how any thinking person could support it. For obviously if good citizens could fall for it, there is no reason why good editors could not do the same. But what I do maintain is this,—that it was the primary obligation of all newspapers, with the issues as important as they were and the radical consequences for good or ill as certain, to take some editorial stand on the Klan, to be either for it or against it, and not to sit on the fence and complacently watch the procession march by.
This ignoring of the issue was, I think, particularly inexcusable because of the peculiar nature of the appeal. We all know this,—although we don't so often admit it,—that on all public questions the thinking is done by a minority. The majority, the average hand-working men and women. are too much concerned with their own private affairs to carefully analyze any complicated political problem. Because of this it is the peculiar responsibility of the newspaper to interpret, and enlighten, and lead.
APPEAL OF THE K. K. K.
Now, any well-informed person could have seen, just as the Klan promoters saw, that the time was ripe for the establishment of such an organization. In fact, in the first place, Americans am notorious "joiners." In the second place, there was widespread discontent, unrest and dissatisfaction—dissatisfaction with law enforcement, dissatisfaction with politicians, dissatisfaction with high taxes, dissatisfaction with the status quo in general. It was therefore certain that the average person, without the time or the disposition to analyze carefully, or see far ahead, or visualize the inevitable consequences, would be tremendously intrigued by the Klan proposal: "Join a one hundred per cent American organization; clean up your town; get out the grafters; put in some public officials you can depend upon." Sure! And then the mystery, the secrecy, the sense of power, the horrorific oaths! Why, the thing had all the appeal of a ten, twenty, thirty thriller. The wonder is not that there are perhaps twenty thousand klans men in the state, but, considering the attitude of the newspapers, that there are not twice that number.
And so with the compulsory school bill. "Don't you believe in the American public school system; don't you believe in inculcating in all young Americans the same American standards and ideals; aren't you opposed to injecting religion into education: aren't you opposed to manufacturing loafers and snobs in private schools?" Sure! The wonder is not that the school bill passed in Oregon by 10,000 majority, the wonder is that with the half-hearted campaign carried on against it by the press of the state as a whole, the majority was not 50,000.
In both of these instances because of the revolutionary character of the political and educational changes proposed, the people were entitled to all the facts, to a clear and conscientious interpretation of those facts, and the newspaper editors had an inescapable obligation, it seems to me, not only to give them this but to assume the responsibility of leadership in the direction which they, as students of political and social problems, believed to be best for the people and for the slate of Oregon.
But with the school issue, as with the Klan issue, outside of a pitiful minority the newspapers of the state as a whole expressed no opinions at all.
"FEARLESS BUT NOT FOOLISH"
Of course the first explanation one hears for this strange phenomenon is that the newspapers were scared to death; that, in our popular physiological idiom, they "didn't have the guts." That explanation, of course, is comforting to the valiant minority, but, as I see it, it is not the correct one.
It is not that the newspaper editors of Oregon are cowards, that we are not willing to meet any issue which we believe it is our duty to meet, but it is rather the fact that we as a whole have become convinced that no newspaper is under obligation to support any cause if such action clearly involves an injury to business.
Safety first. That, it seems to me, was the watchword of the Oregon press as a whole in the last campaign. Be fearless, of course. All editors must be fearless. But don't be foolish. If you conduct a Republican newspaper, bang the Democrats; if a
(Continued on page 56)
PUTTING ACROSS THE OLD GOSPEL IN A NEW WAY: CHURCH PUBLICITY
By E. V. STIVERS, D.D.
Pastor of First Christian Church, Eugene
[Dr. Stivers, who told the Newspaper Conference delegates in the course of discussion of his most interesting paper, that he does not care personally for the title Reverend, expressed a growing modern sentiment toward the best means of bringing the church into touch with the life of the community. He is a firm believer in plenty of digniﬁed advertising for the sale of the biggest thing in the world and regards the columns of the newspapers as the best medium for that advertising.]
TO ME it is an encouraging thing that a gathering of this character has seen fit to place on the program a subject for discussion which is as important as the one I am privileged to consider. It is not only a subject of great interest, but one that is at last receiving worldwide attention. At the gathering of the “Associated Ad Clubs of the World” which convened in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1921, it was illuminating to note that that organization gave an entire day to this subject. They considered subjects such as “Spiritual Church Advertising,” “United Efforts in Church Advertising,” “Postal Advertising as a Means of Evangelism” and other kindred themes. This to my mind was a wonderful advance in the program of infusing the methods of business into our Christianity. Were I to suggest a great need in the church today, or were I to suggest a slogan that I believe is needed in our great program of evangelism of the world, it would be this slogan; viz., “Business in Christianity and Christianity in Business.”—The problem confronting us in this thought is twofold. First, there is that of infusing business methods into our Christianity; and secondly, that of infusing Christianity into our business. While the second is as important as the ﬁrst, the scope of this paper is the development of the first theme, and to this purpose I direct your attention.
No one would doubt that our age is a new age. We have said that so many times that it has become commonplace, vet it is true. New because of new conditions that have confronted us since the great war; and the days of reconstruction always bring new problems. It is a new age for the church, hence new methods of work must be employed. There is a song with considerable jingle to it, and with little music, but with no truth, that some folks in the church delight to sing today. It is entitled, “The Old Time Religion.” and in its development it runs the line of the worthies of past history and brings out the thought that as the so-called old-time religion was sufficient for them, it is also good enough for us. “It was good for the prophet Daniel” or “It was good for the Hebrew children” and so on it runs and then concludes that “It’s good enough for me.” It is on this basis that many folks raise objections to modern methods in church work. Because a tallow candle was good enough for our fathers and mothers, is no argument that it is good enough for us who live in the day of beautiful electrical facilities in lighting. Because my father lived and thrived in a log cabin is no sign that I must do so, on the basis of argument that what was good enough for father is good enough for me. Nor does it necessarily follow that because I refuse to use the old tallow dip, or live in a log hut I am bringing reproach upon the memory of my father. We need in the church that high business sense, the application of business methods which we find in the commercial world. Where Christianity has gone, honorable business has always followed.
There is but little business carried on between the tribes of Africa, but give them the message of the gospel and in a decade the business standard is raised. Church advertising is nothing more nor less than business methods applied to the work of the kingdom of Christ on earth. Some months ago, I attended a screen production in one of the local movie houses. It was the famous and excellent book visualized, “The Inside of the Cup.” One of the scenes was that of a working man’s home on Sunday morning. You can easily imagine the scene if you did not see it. the wife preparing the breakfast, the man sitting in the cramped-up kitchen reading the morning paper, and as he read his eye fell on the page of church notices and the display advertisements here and there and then with a sneer he remarked, “They advertise to get a crowd just the same as other people.” But, believe me, the emphasis was on the wrong word. They did advertise to get a crowd and it was highly commendable that they employed this high business method. Some churches and a few ministers have seen this new day come and have advanced in a tremendous way. Others have closed their eyes to what I believe to be the chance of a life time.
With this somewhat lengthy introduction I want to direct your attention to a few outstanding facts in the realm of church advertising and to try to justify the action of any church or preacher who insists on applying this splendid method of business to the church and its work.
I. THE CHURCH’S NEED OF GOOD, SANE, TRUTHFUL ADVERTISING
In a recent article in one of our church papers there was a splendid outline of the ages of the world and the contention of the author was that the present age was a “Man’s Age.” He insisted that the present demands of strenuous effort in the business world, the fact that the war had demanded the strength of manhood in its supreme effort and the great demands of reconstruction, all had combined to bring out real manhood in its most wonderful strength. You may say he is like the Greek professor who said there were two classes of people in the world, namely those who studied Greek and those who did not, yet I am inclined to think the contention was well taken. This being true, the demand for real men in the ministry is evident. The day of the “nicy-nicy,” “namby-pamby,” “frock-coated,” “kid-gloved” preacher, is gone, and gone forever. The minister must be a man among the business men of a community, and his work is vastly different from what it was in years past, for the demands of the age are different. This sterling, digniﬁed, masculine sort of Christianity is appreciated by the business world, and if church advertising does nothing else, it begets conﬁdence in the church and in the ministry on the part of the business world. It takes the church out of the sphere it has occupied for so many years, that of a benevolent institution only, into the ﬁeld of big, broad, business achievement.
There are few churches in the world today that get returns for the money invested in the physical equipment. You will keep in mind that I am speaking now of the business side of Christianity, and that I am well aware that this is but one side of the issue and is by no means the most important, yet it is important, for on it the spiritual depends. A building, for example, costing $100,000 often spends little or nothing on advertising. What would we think of a business concern that did such a thing? The assistant advertising manager of a Portland department store told me less than a month ago that they spent in the year 1922 $400,000 for advertising, and big business spends $600,000,000 annually, in the United States alone, in advertising. If the church would spend a little money in advertising the great work it is doing, it would bring tremendous results.
It is important that you remember that I have said “truthful advertising.” The Associated Advertising Clubs of the World have taken as their slogan "Truth in Advertising," and paradoxical as it may seen, churches and preachers should tell the truth just the same as big business.
II. THE CHURCH HAS SOMETHING TO ADVERTISE
It is in this matter that the ideas of people seem to me, to run in a very peculiar channel. The idea seems to be that the church, because it is a divine institution, has nothing to advertise to the world. The reason for this kind of thinking is, that we fail to realize that the most logical, reasonable and important matter in the world is that which concerns the spiritual life of the race and prepares humanity for that immortality in which the human race has universally believed. Yes, the church has something to advertise. This is the first idea you have to get in the minds of church officers and members when the minister starts a program of church publicity. I well remember an incident illustrative of this very thing. I was taking the pastorate of a badly divided, discouraged and dying church. They were heavily in debt and had lost all hope of ever coming out of what seemed to them an utterly hopeless condition. One of the first things I asked of that church was the privilege of spending a certain sum of money for advertising. True, it was money they did not have, nor did it seem possible for them to get the money to spend in this way. I was repeatedly refused the appropriation, until I promised them that if they would try the experiment for a period of three months, and if after that experiment they found that it had not been successful I would personally pay the entire bill. You can well imagine the result that came, for by the close of the three months not only had the advertising paid for itself several times, but the church had been filled with interested people, and the years of prosperity for that church had begun.
The strange part of this matter of advertising to me is, that there should be any objection to it, when we remember that the church has been advertising during practically all her history. Church bells, tower chimes, steeples, and physical equipment were the methods of advertising in the past, and many who have accepted these ancient methods without a word, criticise the modern plans of church publicity. In a certain church in the city of San Francisco, great consternation was caused a few years ago, when certain members led by a progressive minister, proposed the placing of a large electric sign on the front of the church. If advertising brings results to the business firm, it is certain that it will bring benefit and uplift to the church. It would appear that the business world had gone to extremes in advertising, yet they know their efforts have been rewarded. I am reminded of the man who was making a journey across the waters. They were coming near the section where the Rock of Gibraltar could be seen and the passengers were on deck ready for the first view of that historic rock. My friend who told me the story said, as they approached that great rock, the thing that impressed him more than any other thing was, that on the face of that great stone was to be seen the familiar advertising slogan of Mr. Heinz, the man of pickle fame. Heinz "57" varieties. It is really shameful that the business world has had to teach the church these lessons that should have been started by the church.
NOT ALL SENSATIONAL
Another important observation is that church advertising must be dignified. In the March issue of the Ladies Home Journal there is an article under the title, "Advertising the Church" with the subtitle, "Sensationalists are cheapening religion by grotesque methods." The article is interesting but is not true to present conditions for several reasons. The author presupposes that all such advertising means sensationalism, which is by no means true. For example, the week be fore Easter a few years ago, I advertised in half-page ads in the local papers the program for Easter. The head line in that ad was, “He is not here, for He is risen,” then the announcement of the sermon and music for the day, the suggestion that folks should attend the Lord’s house on that day, and then the closing statement, the same as the headline, “He is not here, for He is risen.” This dignified piece of advertising brought the crowds, made more impressive the great Easter service. and caused many people to attend the great Easter service who never attend church at other times. There was nothing sensational about it, unless the mere fact that a half page of space was used could be called sensational. The important thing is that you see to it that the advertising adds to the dignity of the service rather than detracts from it.
SOME USELESS PUBLICITY
As you travel along the highway, certain phrases are seen on the fences, rocks on the hill sides, and bridges. Signs that read, “Prepare to meet God” or “Where will you spend eternity?”, “Jesus saves,” and such like. They are not at all desirable in church publicity. They breathe of fanaticism. When we read them we immediately conclude that a religious crank was the author. It is my conviction that they do more harm than good. Let me say here, not because of the personnel of the crowd to which I am addressing myself. but because it is my firm conviction that it is absolutely true after years of advertising in church work, that the best means of advertising is the daily and weekly papers. It adds dignity to your cause, it reaches the greatest number of people, and it links the church with the greatest influence in the world today, outside of the church itself.
Church advertising should be timely. The preacher who greets his friends on the street with “Is it well with your soul?" or “Are you prepared to die?” and kindred questions is very untactful and soon becomes the joke of the community, but his action is no more untactful and uncalled-for than that of the minister who in his publicity campaign uses grotesque and unseemly methods in advertising his dignified work. If a man’s soul is worth saving, and if his salvation depends upon his hearing about Christ and obeying him. and -I am sure we would all say that the above questions demand an affirmative answer, then any legitimate means that will bring this man and the needed message together should not be despised.
III. SANE ADVERTISING ON THE PART OF THE CHURCH BRINGS BUSINESS INTO CLOSE TOUCH WITH THE CHURCH
The church that tries to operate on a penny basis may expect penny results. One great lesson needed by the world is that the church is not a charitable institution. but that it gives value received, or at least should do so, for money invested. There are more business and professional men in the church today than ever before in all the world’s history-You may doubt this on first thought, but I invite careful investigation. The reason for this is that business methods are being employed by the church in her work. The books of a modern church are kept with the same care and accuracy that the books of a bank or business ﬁrm are kept. Some of the methods used in the past in this line are lamentable. Much of the church property in this country today, especially in the smaller communities, could not be sold without court proceedings, be cause of the loose business methods employed in the past. It would be impossible to find a deed to the property.
Under this division I want to call attention briefly to some of the methods used in advertising Christian work.
(1) Electric Signs. This method is being used more extensively each year in different localities. One of the largest signs in the city of New York is the sign of one of the great downtown churches. The expense of installing such a sign, together with the cost of operation, has made such a means prohibitive in most instances It is a splendid way, however,
(Continued on page 53)
ACCEPTABLE CONTRIBUTED MATTER AND UNWELCOME "PUBLICITY"
By E. B. ALDRICH
Editor East Oregonian, Pendleton
[A wisely moderate policy, keeping in mind at once the public interest and the rights of the newspaper, is here outlined in connection with the handling of contributed matter. Mr. Aldrich read this paper before the recent Oregon Newspaper Conference and was heard with keen interest.]
WITHOUT wasting time I will say the practice on the East Oregonian has been to throw contributed material away. Each day various and numerous letters of a propaganda nature are consigned to the waste basket without being read. On a small daily this seems to be the only course to pursue if one wishes to go to press promptly and have a proper amount of time for other important work such as fishing and golf.
However, we have no hard and fast rule upon the subject and do not look with disdain upon all contributed material. It is customary to open and read the press bulletins from the Oregon Agricultural College, the University of Oregon, the forest service and the department of agriculture. The department of agriculture frequently sends out material that is of value to an agricultural section, and we look its stories over seeking material that may be adaptable to our territory. The forest service publicity matter is well handled and we give particular notice to stories from that quarter that re late to the livestock industry
NEWS VALUE ESSENTIAL
In giving attention to the press bulletins from the agricultural college and the University we are moved partly by a desire to be generous in the matter of publicity relating to these institutions and by the further fact that the stories have news value. We find, though, that such stories often reach us too late to be acceptable. On March 12 this year the O. A. C. service carried a story relating to the J. T. Apperson will. The story had been broken in the Portland papers several' days before, and we rejected it in favor of live news not previously published. On the same day the University letter featured a fraternity story that had appeared two or three days previously in the Portland press. We did not use the story. We have little space for stories that have already been used. It should be possible for both colleges to adjust matters so that country dailies may have nearer a fair deal than they have been receiving. Perhaps this is not possible on good spontaneous stories, but much of the material is not of a spontaneous nature and could be properly handled under release dates. A more satisfactory arrangement would necessarily mean wider publicity.
ANONYMOUS ATTACKS BARRED
With reference; to local contributed material we have certain standards which we observe. We insist that a communication that is in its nature derogatory to another person, if usable at all, be signed by the author's real name. We do not allow anyone to attack another under cover of an assumed name. Anonymous communications are not used and usually are referred to the party under attack. During the religious controversy in Oregon we have had an improvised rule to the effect that parties on either side of the controversy may submit advertising, or when news interest justifies, a reasonable communication setting forth in an affirmative way the principles espoused but making no at tack upon the other side- We have endeavored to look with disinteredness upon religious quarrels and to treat each side fairly and courteously, which seems to be all that either side wants as far as Umatilla county is concerned. Our only advice to the warring factions has been that they keep their shirts on, bearing in mind the fact that the other fellow is usually better than you think he is.
GOOD NATURE IMPOSED ON
On the state of free publicity for entertainments, etc., the writer will not commend the East Oregonian as a model for anyone to follow. The paper has been an easy mark. Once we sought to have the School of Journalism tell us what to do, but their suggested rules were rather general in terms and almost too scholarly for practical use. We do not use civil service notices, and when Uncle Sam wishes a new janitor for the federal building or some new stenographers we decline to make a news item out of something that should be carried as a want ad. We have been over-generous toward local entertainments and quite frequently find our good nature imposed upon. We often devote much good space to exploiting affairs for the high school, the women’s club or other organizations
newpapers do not present the news in a
fair and impartial manner.
a good newspaper is its ability to print news even though the facts be very dis tressing from the standpoint of that newspaper’s own views. There is a widapread impression that
the danger of lop-sided news
and find they place their job work with a cheaper shop. Theoretically we insist
The press associations come in the same
category, for they are also under suspicion. At times their reports bear the earmarks of propaganda all too plainly.
RULES FOR NEWS FAIRNESS
On the East Oregonian we have given considerable thought to the subject of news fairness. We have endeavored to guide writers by a set of rules governing
the news office. The following extract from those rules will show their tenor:
however, a justification for their com plaint, and if the press wishes to retain public confidence it must guard againsst
“The newspaper business is a high calling.
It offers great opportunities
for service and involves responsibilities. If you do not find the work congenial, if you are not enthused by
that tho<c sccl<ing_' publicity for paid af fairs must make their peace with the business office. This is not sufficient, however. and we need reformation. We have recognized the fact since 1877.
its possibilities or do not wish to ob
PAPER PUBLICITY ORGAN
requirements of a good news reporter.
Tn conclusion I will broaden my sub ject smncivliat with a general word upon the subject of propaganda. The exist ence of so man-v publicity bureaus and
Get both sides of a story, be just in handling the facts. Don’t do anything as a ne'spaper worker that you would not do as a man or a woman. “Remember that all the people here ahouts are our friends and neighbors.
publicity a;_-cuts inclines to the view taken by many people that the American news paper is no longer a real newsgiver but
serve the ethical requirements of good journalism, you should go into some
other line of work. “Accuracy and faimess are the main
an organ for the dissemination of propa
ganda in favor of one cause or another. The public has a right to expect that news reports be accurate and fair, that when
a subject is in controversy both sides be presented. To suppress news that ap pears as unfavorable to the expressed
policies of a paper and to unduly empha sim stories that bear out its policies is not good journalism. One of the tests of
people, not hurt
We desire to be as kind and as
publish news fearlessly and impartially when the public interest demands and we must not be deterred by friend ship. Be extremely careful where a story reflects upon a man’s good name and doubly so and then some when the good name of a woman is involved.
Write nothing in malice or for revenge. Publish no jokes on women or girls. Even if a man is an opponent of this paper give him a square deal with the news. The integrity of our news columns is above all quarrels.”
Another provision in our office rules requires that we publish all cases, civil or criminal, arising in the circuit court. We do not necessarily scandalize cases and we make it a policy not to scandalize divorce cases. However, we do not sup press cases for anyone and thereby follow a policy of treating all people alike, be they rich or poor, influential or other wise.
The motto of our news room is found in the words of Othello:
“Nothing extenuate; set down naught in malice.”
WRITING OF EDITORIAL, WITH SPECIAL APPLICATION TO COUNTRY FIELD
By M. LYLE SPENCER
Dean School of Journalism, University of Washington
[Dr. Matthew Lyle Spencer, dean of the School of Journalism of the University of Washington, speaking from a viewpoint gained from years of work in connection with editorial pages, emphasized the importance of editorial writing and sought in the changed times a reason for a decline in the editorial influence of the papers today as compared with those of the days of Greeley, Dana, and Watterson. Dean Spencer’s address, including also a list of twelve do’. and don’t’s in force on the Montesano Vidette, an influential newspaper of southwestern Washington with which the Dean is connected, is here given in part.]
THE days of high prestige for the editorial, and of its unsurpassed power, ran from 1850 to 1865. Those were days of great problems—the Missouri Compromise of 1850, the Kansas Nebraska bill of 1854, the birth of the Republican party, and the “know-nothing” party. . . .
In such times of high crises, readers turn to the editorial page. In days of no crisis, they turn away from the editorial page. Today there is no crisis as the average reader regards it. In those days the newspapers of the nation were still national in scope. The nation had not grown to the point where Greeley, Raymond, Thurlow Weed wielded their tremendous power. Greeley wrote for 55, 000 daily and 250,000 weekly, scattered over what was at that time the govern ing portion of the nation. . . . It is a far call from the editorial in those days of its power to the editorial and its power today. From the first place in the newspaper, the editorial is now almost third. [Here Mr. Spencer cited a number of instances of the newspapers’ failure to wield political influence, notably in municipal campaigns in Seattle, Chicago, and New York, where candidates for mayor meagerly supported by the press carried off the election.]
The fall of the editorial from power is partly due to the failure to keep up education, partly due to the emphasis on news, and partly due to the growth of the country, making it impossible for the newspapers to be national any more. . . .
After paying a tribute to the Portland Oregonian as an exception to the general rule of declining editorial influence, Mr. Spencer proceeded to his twelve do’s and don’t’s:
1. Have an editorial column. It is the one page where you have an opportunity to be unique, in these days when the papers are much standardized, with their comic strips and their syndicate material.
2. Make the editorial column flexible. It may be objected that we have to have a certain amount of space to fill. I know how Thursday night comes, after one has been working on advertising and other things far removed from editorial, and the brain is squeezed dry and yet we have to fill a column. Have the column flexible according to the amount of advertising and explanatory material you have to give the readers. Don’t smear the editorial over a large amount of space, but always have something.
3. I am against canned editorials. You can get ’em. Like the rolled cigarette, they are too easy to get, and they can never make a specific appeal.
4. Names are of value in editorial as in news.
5. Most editorial writers are writing to
est to draw in the readers who do not
ordinarily read the editorial column. 7. Don’t boast in the editorial column. I don’t believe there is any more in a
paper’s boasting of being first in the field or faster in news than in individuals’ doing the same sort of thing. The paper gains no more than the individual in this wav. 8. Keep out of local politics. I know .vou will disagree there. But I do know that this idea that the small paper must
tell its readers how to vote has been the cause of much unsuccess in the country
9. Don’t accept loans from anybody but your bankers.
a blank world out there. They never stop to analyze the community they are writing
Washington there has been a 60 per cent switch from party to independent papers
in four years. Today is the day of the independent paper politically. There is no more reason for a newspaper’s being tied to a party than for an educational
[Dean Spencer cited a case of an
editor who actually analyzed his field,
finding out precisely to whom he was writing]
6. Don’t be afraid of being provincial. The strength of your paper de pends on being provincial. Great papers are provincial in no small measure,breath ing the very life of their community. . . . An ideal editorial page would have an editorial on local, state, sectional and
national topics, and one on human inter
10. Be independent
institution to be thus tied. 11. Don’t ever let your paper be any
thing but patriotic to your country and your town.
12. Keep out of your editorial and news columns as well, anything that cre ates dissension between the country and the city.
MR. PlPE’.R'S VIEW OF EDITORIAL PAGE I)I§.~N §l’I".i'('ER’S paper was fol lowed b-v discussion. liditor Elbert
slowly to his feet and entered the discus
llcdc of the ('otta.'re Grove .'c.~1tim*l in quired if .Ir. Spencer favorerl entering into re]i-'_-'ions cmitroversy in the columns
sion with obvious reluctance. Once launched on his subject, however, he made
of the paper. “No.” replied the 'a-h
torial provincc of the newspaper.
inj_'to11 dean. “I believe in reli-;:ious non sectarianisni in the papers. . . . On
statement of the decline of the editorial
the Montesano Vidcfte we will suppress any news that will tend to destroy the community. If news is likely to create
for better understanding,” he said. “It is my view of the development of the
faction in your community, my advice
much declined as other departments of
would be to leave it out.” Asked by President Drake to “en lighten us” along this line. Edgar B.
the newspaper have received greater em phasis. “In the early days newspaper work
a clear statement of his views of the edi
page needs a little
editorial that the editorial has not so
 was political pamphleteering, and that day had not gone by in the period of Horace Greeley and Thurlow Weed. News was usually secondary. Editorial expression was violent, vituperative, partisan, and in a large sense false. The public did not expect the paper to take anything but a partisan view. There has since been a rise of judicial consideration of all questions.
“I think that the newspaper which seeks faithfully to enlighten its public on public questions has the respect and confidence of the public in a degree wholly lacking to Greeley and Raymond. Nobody took the Tribune who didn’t want his partisanship stimulated. Now there is a different time, a different view. If the newspaper has lost the influence of those days, it has done much to soften the asperity of those times and is doing much more to enlighten the public than in those old days. The papers today have a more enlightened conception of public questions than the papers of fifty years ago. I believe the newspaper service of today is on a far higher plane than the papers of 25 or 50 years ago pretended to occupy. . . .”
Mr. Piper proceeded to the consideration of the ideal editorial page. “That paper,” he said, “is the most instructive, entertaining, and respected which gives, first, evidence of sincerity in its attempt to enlighten, instruct and to lead the readers of the paper in right ways of thinking.
“I have no opinion whether the editorial should be short or long. If it is efficient, it may be short. The editorial has an opportunity to be entertaining, earnest, honest, and interesting.”
THE WEEKLY PAPERS OF THE NORTHWEST AND THE FARMER READER
By GEORGE N. ANGELL, Editor Oregon Farmer, Portland
IT IS with some hesitation, as editor of a “mere” farm weekly, that I come before the state press with a suggestion for its improvement which, while it has the appearance of being altruistic, nevertheless is prompted also by selfish motives. It appealed to the program makers as being worthy of passing on. however, and that is my sole reason for being here.
For the selfish _motives I make no apology. Nor do I make any pretense of overcoming financial or mechanical objections to the improvement I propose. I have had no experience whatever with country weeklies, and only editorial experience with a country daily and a farm paper, hence suggestions I make might be highly impracticable. There may be some good reason for existence of the condition I would improve, but it struck me as being worth while to find out, at least, whether there is or not.
During the two years that I was in charge of editorial for the Washington Farmer in western Washington, I saw many of the country weeklies of the state. Since coming to Oregon two years ago, naturally I have been studying those here, particularly with regard to" what they offer of interest or instruction to the farmer reader along lines that he is following every day, that make his life. Out of them all I have picked what in my estimation is the best country weekly, all things considered, in the Northwest, and from an account of its experience you may draw your own conclusions.
The Bee-Nugget of Chehalis, Washington, owned and published by Clarence Ellington, formerly president of the Washington Press association, beats them all when it comes to news service for country readers, and with Ellington’s assistance I shall try to show how he does it and that doing it pays.
Pick up an average copy of the Bee- Nugget and what do you find? A 12- or 16-page 6-column paper, in two sections, with the leading news of the state or county attractively displayed on the front page, with the usual run of local news, social and personal items from the county seat, publicity stuff, editorial, country correspondence, boiler plate and advertising. With this important difference, that scarcely an issue goes on the press without at least one good front-page story of prime interest to farmers, often occupying the right-hand column or under a two-column head in the center; and with the further important difference that the proportion of country correspondence, state college instructional matter, farm news and general “boosting” which agriculture needs, to the amount of town news and of canned stuff of general interest, is far and away greater than that set by the average weekly. Most of the second section is devoted to the outlying districts of the county. News from the smaller towns is given prominent display; and in addition to ample space and head-lines for the more important “stories” from the farming sections, there is a weekly department under a two-column head, “Lewis County Rural Topics,” where a “Commentator” familiar with farm life and farm problems of the county, mirrors that life with a column or more of news and comment on things of local interest, and tops it off with “agricultural-ettes,” spicy farm items from everywhere, and with the weekly “mail-o-grams” of advice from the state college.
This program has made a tremendous hit with the farmers of the county, and the amount of agricultural material the Bee-Nugget uses has been gradually increasing for some months back. An issue last September, for example, carried 110 inches of purely agricultural matter to 764 inches of all other reading matter, while one of last February carried 211 inches of agricultural matter to 432 of all other, an increase in the proportion of agricultural matter to all other matter from about one to seven to about one to two. It will be observed also that in this period the amount of reading matter decreased, and the amount of advertising correspondingly increased, about 250 inches. Both were 16-page papers, and while it is perhaps hardly fair to use the February issue for com parison, since strictly agricultural news occupied nine-tenths of its front page, yet it graphically illustrates the tendency in the Bee-Nugget office.
Mr. Ellington told me'a year or more ago that his policy was beginning to take effect on the minds of his farmer subscribers, with the result that they called it to the attention of neighbors. and subscription getting was easier; also that it was causing more and more favorable comment among the advertising business men of Chehalis, who are among the most intimate in the Northwest with their farmer patrons, being comparable to those of Eugene in this respect. This was about the time that the editor decided, because of wide endorsement of the policy, to increase still further his devotion to agricultural interests. “More and more,” he said to me then, “the metropolitan papers are encroaching on news fields in smaller communities where weekly or small daily papers are now published. Rapid transportation and other modern methods of speeding service have brought country publishers face to face with a situation which they should grasp now, and the results of which they should prepare for before it is too late. Sooner or later this rapid news service on the part of large daily papers will result in their soliciting advertisements from the small town merchants on the strength of the news service furnished in that town. But the country weekly has a field which the metropolitan paper cannot enter, and that is the field of rural development about its place of publication. The country editor can develop this and it is all his own. It gives him excellent opportunity to secure close personal acquaintance which the editor of the metropolitan paper can never expect to have.”
Following this line of development gave the Bee-Nugget precedence in its field, made many friends for the paper and widened its influence. It helped lift it onto a plane where it is respected, where it is classed the same as any other business enterprise. In other words, it it gave the paper distinctive standing. This policy also increased the use of the classified advertising columns, in which Ellington is a firm believer for the country weekly. He says classified ads. pay more, considering the space used and the time required to set them, if properly handled, than any other department, and a paper with a good classified ad. patronage always has standing and influence. He tries to induce farmers especially to make use of classified, and in turn tells his merchants about them.
Ellington makes it a point to display farm news just the same as any other kind, showing no preference, and if he has a good opportunity, through timeliness or importance, he gives one or more large heads on the front page to it. However, he never sacrifices real news for any particular interest. He feels that the front page belongs alike to all readers, and news display there must take precedence according to its general importance. He does not hesitate to make news displays and special articles of happenings and developments in the county seat, but he feels that he should give out-of-town interests within his field the same consideration, while at the same time cultivating the interest of these rural dwellers in the news of their trade center, which is the place of publication of their paper. The circulation list of the average country weekly, and for that matter of the average small daily, is estimated at around 40 per cent of rural dwellers. The editor, therefore, owes that percentage of the list the news in which it is particularly interested. During the past year Ellington has devoted 15 to 30 per cent of his space to agricultural interests in and around Chehalis, under the policy and with the results outlined above. In his opinion the greatest success to be obtained from this work is in the use of live, local stuff, not of the “canned” variety. If John Smith builds a barn, or adds more chickens, or discards his grades and buys purebreds, those things mark real progress among his readers, are of interest to all farmers in his territory, furnish them an example to follow, and concern his merchant-advertisers. The latter do not always see it at first, he says, but they will in time, and a year after the adoption of this policy he wrote me as follows:
“I find the weekly drive on farm transfers, dairy news, chicken and poultry matters, berry possibilities, etc., has enabled me to hold all of my farmer subscribers and gradually to increase the number of them, without special solicitation. Nearly every week some farmer or dairyman of the district speaks of his interest in the Bee-Nugget because it gives so much space to live matters that concern him, and there is another side to it. I repeatedly emphasize to my merchant advertisers how we are handling this department, and urge them to watch it. Gradually they get the point that it is interesting hundreds of readers who live in the surrounding country and who make Chehalis their trade center.”
There you have the case of the Bee-Nugget, which because of the location of Chehalis, about midway between the two largest cities of the northwest, and with transportation facilities between them unexcelled, is particularly harassed by the big dailies. It is somewhat difficult of comparison with Oregon papers which come to my desk, because of difference in size of the respective towns where they are published, but I have in mind several Oregon weeklies, at least some of which have parishes comparable to that of the Bee-Nugget, all of which it seems to me could be improved by giving them more of an agricultural flavor. And is it not patent that if I, one interested in farm ing merely in the abstract, week after week read the papers which I have found by experience contain matter that holds my attention, then he whose entire existence, and that of his family, depends upon agriculture, will choose by preference those newspapers and periodicals which devote at least a portion of their space to subjects that are nearest his every-day living?
The horticulturist does not subscribe for the grain trade paper any more than the publisher subscribes for "Electrical Engineering," and the average run of farmer will not subscribe for, and if he subscribes for it be will not read, a weekly newspaper dealing entirely with happenings in town. And as you know, if he does not read it, he is useless to the publisher from the advertising standpoint.
One of my selfish reasons for wanting to see more agricultural matter in the exchanges of Oregon, of course is to make available for clipping or as "tips" for stories of my own, more stuff of general interest agriculturally, but of clipped stuff we use very little, so my interest there can be called negligible. Another reason—and this is purely commercial—is illustrated by an interesting development in the experience of the Oregon State library. As many of you know, the demand for the individual loan of books by mail, and for the use of traveling libraries, has been enormous. It was thought that with the establishment throughout the state of county libraries, equipped to render in a small way much the same service as the central system, the demand for loans by mail and for traveling libraries would decrease. To the amazing contrary, it increased by leaps and bounds. County library service merely educated more people in the delights of reading and whetted the appetites of those already partially supplied; and that is what more agricultural stories in the small newspapers of Oregon would do. I have an idea that the comparatively small amount of agricultural reading matter which the country weeklies and small city dailies of the state could carry as "bait" for country residents would in the slightest degree injure our chances of obtaining Oregon Farmer subscribers in the same neighborhood. On the contrary, I am confident that it would increase the demand by agriculturally minded people for the more detailed treatment of these questions which our columns contain. This is well illustrated in Lewis county, the bailiwick of the Bee-Nugget. Here there are approximately 2600 farmers, and here the Washington Farmer, an allied publication of the Oregon Farmer, has nearly 2000 subscribers. I have no doubt that a very large proportion of Bee-Nugget subscribers would be found on our list, and vice versa; and we object not at all to having the local field developed for us, in that fashion.
It was suggested that I outline my idea of what constitutes a good agricultural story, and give some sources. This has been done to some extent in the foregoing, but I might add that any man with a sense of news values and possessing even slightly the farming "slant," will find abundant local material on every hand. The record of a back-yard flock, the profit from a family cow, the crop from a patch of corn or berries, the activities of agricultural high school students, the yearnings of city residents for the farm, all furnish possibilities without ever crossing the city line; and once he goes beyond that the man with a nose for country news will find stories staring him in the face at every turn. Real stories, too—throbbing with every element that goes to make the front-page story of city life exciting. Here is a Willamette valley Jersey, on whose production of a living calf within a specified time after completing her record depends not only her own chance of be coming a gold medal animal, but that of her sire. Four weeks before calving she breaks both hind legs and must be killed. But how, and still save the calf? The most skillful veterinarians in the state are summoned. A caesarian operation is decided upon. The mother is stunned and later killed, but the calf is taken from her and lives, and another gold medal family is added to Oregon's already splendid list.
Over in eastern Oregon thousands of acres of waving wheat produce but a fraction of what they might but for the presence of stinking smut, which for years has taken heart-breaking toll of the crop. An experiment station wheat proves resistant in the test-plots, though rolled black with smut before sowing. It sprouts and grows and comes clean—literally millions of dollars will be saved through its general use. Down in southwestern Oregon other thousands of acres are non-productive or only half productive because of the tides, but the skill of the extension service, through dike and tile and open ditch, drains them and puts them at work. Over in Tillamook a cow-testing association doubles its membership through a plan of selling record calves outside of the county—all over the northwest—at a price which means a profit instead of dead loss to dairymen. In Hood River county a cherry branch, artificially pollenized, bends double with fruit, while on the same tree other branches, not pollenized, are barren. In Jackson county a farm bureau exchange remolds the marketing ideals of a community. In Douglas county one flock of turkeys contains 1400 birds, is herded on horseback, and goes into a pool that brings its contributors the highest price of any in the United States. The list can be continued indefinitely. All over the state, regardless of the kind of farming practiced, thousands of such stories are awaiting only the observing eye and the sympathetic ear. It may be only a crude labor-saving device, or it may be a six-legged lamb, but every farmer will be found to have something interesting about the place, and I believe it would pay the country press of this state to find it.
INQUIRY ASKED INTO PAPER INDUSTRY
RESOLUTIONS passed by the Oregon Newspaper Conference at its recent session at the University of Oregon School of Journalism call for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission into conditions in the print-paper industry. This action was taken after discussion in which several speakers accused the paper trade of making exorbitant profits.
Difficulties in the way of profitable use of imported paper were pointed out by Arthur M. Geary, of Portland, counsel for the Oregon publishers' syndicate formed to deal with the paper question. "There is always a risk in importing news print from overseas," said Mr. Geary. "Buying from overseas you have got to take a chance with the mill you buy from and the responsibility of its agents here. There is no inspection of the paper in Europe as of lumber in this country."
He suggested that an inspection service be worked up in charge of responsible men. "Reliable men in those ports," he said, "could inspect the product and see that it is what the buyers want.""The small publisher is really helpless," said George Putnam, head of the publishers' syndicate. The paper companies, he pointed out, would not contract with a publisher using less than 250 tons. Prices on American paper and on foreign paper run about equal, he said. With 4½-cent paper costing but 2 cents to produce, he said, the profits in paper are the biggest known in any commodity. "I don't know what the little fellow can do," concluded Mr. Putnam. "He can save a little on foreign news but he must take the chance of strikes, loss of ships, and stand a delay of three or four months in delivery."
LEGITIMIZING THE VETERAN PUBLICATION
By JERROLD OWEN, Editor the Pacific Legion
[Mr. Owen read this comprehensive review of the veteran-publication field before the trade and class publication section of the recent Oregon Newspaper Conference. Mr. Owen’s paper indicates a determination to keep this class of publications on a high ethical plane as well as on a commercially paying basis.]
MENTION of “veteran publication” to the average newspaper man, and by that I mean any man who has worked up through the newspaper profession, is like waving a red flag at a gentleman cow. This instinctive prejudice is not without considerable reason. For too many years the so-called ex-service man’s magazine has been a vehicle of graft and inefficiency, fulfilling no particular need and seeking advertising which has been thinly veiled donations. This condition still prevails in some quarters, and the purpose of my little talk today is merely to point out that illegitimate tactics are not necessary, and that it is possible for the veteran to uphold the best publication traditions and ethics.
Before the conflagration, involving most of the civilized nations, veteran publications were not numerous. They were representative of a comparatively small slice of the country’s population.
After the war came the deluge. Ambitious publishers and opportunists in newspaper and advertising ranks realized that 4,000,000 young men recently out of service cut a considerable swath in organized society. They found patriotism still at high tide, and a general desire on the part of business men to assist the returned veteran.
FLOOD OF NEW PUBLICATIONS
The immediate result was a flood of so-called “veteran publications,” of which virtually none remain today.
These first publications, with a few exceptions, were circulation grafts. Crews of that hardboiled species known as “sheet writers” combed
months, which was long enough to permit
able when subscription obligations were
3 Year or more, dying when their circulation income began to dwindle and advertising revenue became imperative but could not be found.
those interested in them to gather in sufficient shekels to make retirement profit not carried out.
At that time there were scores of small veteran organizations springing up, most of which were very short lived. At the present time there are but three major organizations of veterans—the Ameﬁqan Legion, whose membership rolls are open to all men who served in the army forces of Uncle Sam during the World War; the Veterans of Foreign Wars, whose membership includes Spanish war vete rans as well as overseas veterans in the last war; and the Disabled American Veterans of the World War, composed of men who were wounded or contracted disease in line of duty during the war with Germany.
Of these three, the American Legion is by far the greatest, both numerically and in
Each of these national organizations has a national publication. The Ameri
size to support state publications, which there are now about 38.
money for themselves and the promoters
of the desultory publications.
these magazines lived more than three
FIVE TYPES OF PAPERS
country and comrades.
can Legion is the only one of sufficient
Some dragged along for
We now come to classification of vete
ran publications in the field today. First, there is the magazine or news paper that is privately owned and oper ated without endorsement of any organi zation but for “our boys” and “disabled men in hospitals.” Advertising solicitors for such publications feature the sym Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/308 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/309 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/310 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/311 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/312 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/313 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/314 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/315 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/316 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/317 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/318 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/319 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/320 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/321 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/322 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/323 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/324 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/325 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/326 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/327 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/328 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/329 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/330 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/331 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/332 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/333
Putting Across the Old Gospel in a New Way: Church Publicity
(Continued from page 16)
to advertise the church. The use of electric lighting in any form is an excellent means of telling the world something worth while is being done. A brilliant light at the entrances of the building is always desirable.
(2) Bill Boards. This method should be used more than it has been. It is worth while.
(3) The Movies. There is some danger involved here, and if used at all it should be done with great care. It is rather embarrassing, for example, to have a church advertising on the same evening when some picture is given that makes one blush to look at. I have never found this kind of publicity entirely satisfactory.
CHEAP WORKMANSHIP BAD
(4) Window Cards, Circulars, or Dodgers- If this method is used, there are certain dangers to be avoided. One of these is the danger of making the work cheap. If window cards are used, the very ﬁnest material and workmanship should be employed, and if the bills or dodgers are desirable over the city, good workmanship and good material should be used. To use the cheaper material places the church advertising alongside of the cheaper things that come to every city.
(5) Newspaper Advertising. This is by far the best plan to be observed. Use the papers freely. People read the papers and they read your ads in the papers. One of the chief objections formerly lodged against the newspaper method was that people do not read the ads. This of course has been long exploded. Time and time again, I have experimented in this line, and the result has been that the most splendid results have been derived from this kind of publicity- You have noticed I have said but little about my own experience in display advertising, and yet Dean Allen has placed that as the subject of the paper. I have purposely done this and only want to say a word about that now. Those who have lived in Eugene know something of what has been done--and the growth of the church in the four years I have been minister. I began in a very modest way, in the face of criticism on the part of my own members and of the city, and especially on the part of my brother ministers. Yet we have built up one of the most largely attended Sunday evening services in the state of Oregon. Our Sunday School has grown until on one day, our Annual Rally Day, we had 1666 people in Sunday School. Every department of the church has felt the impact of this kind of church publicity. Last year we raised three times as much money for carrying on the work of the church both in local expense and in benevolences as in any previous year, and yet we closed the year with a surplus of $500 in the treasury of the church. And the most important item of all is that there has averaged more than 250 additions to the church each year of the present miuistry. I can say to you frankly, that it is my opinion that consistent, continual, sane, truthful advertising has been one of the most important factors in the transformation. Of course when folks come they must not be disappointed, but the advertising gets them there.
IV. SOME QUESTIONS, OBJECTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
Under this division I want to say a word relative to the most interesting part of the subject. After several years of experience it is of great interest to me to hear the objections, and in many instances to know from actual experience just how far removed they are from real objections and hindrances.
One of the first objections you hear is that it cheapens the work of the ministry, and of the church. In answer to that I have but one sentence to give, and that is that an empty church cheapens the cause far more than any consistent publicity that fills it. It is true that some unwise form of advertising may bring reproach upon the church just as the same kind of publicity cheapens a business. I read some time ago, where a certain man by the name of Pray was the owner of a men's furnishing store. He took advantage, as he thought, of his peculiar name to advertise his business and used the slogan, "Pray for Men." Of course it was unwise procedure, and he cheapened and really ruined his business by this unthoughtful plan. However, because of his failure we must not reason that all haberdashers should refuse to advertise. Some preachers make fools of themselves and their congregations by unthoughtful statements in advertising, but we should not refuse to advertise for this reason.
ADVERTISE HEAVILY IN AUTUMN
A question often asked is, "How much should we advertise?" That depends upon the size of the town, local conditions and the special attraction of the church. It is my contention, however, that we want to keep continually at it, with an occasional extra large ad. For example, in the autumn time, at the opening of the church work after the summer quiet and vacation, the church is wise that spends considerable money in large advertisements. A great opening program that can be announced to the city at large and that will interest a great number of people should be planned and much space should be used. It directs the attention of the people toward the church and brings the greatest number there. I think I suggested that the church and the preacher should be sure they have something to advertise and that they should be very sure they do not disappoint the public. "You can fool all the people a part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time," surely applies to advertising. I gave a lecture before a company of young preachers some time ago on this subject. In a few weeks a fine young man came to me and complain ed that my contention had not worked in his particular case. I asked for his story, which was that for three weeks he had advertised a somewhat sensational theme in the paper in the little town where he ministered. He said the first Sunday evening the house was filled. He was de lighted and came again using more space the second week and still more the third. By the end of the third week the crowd was as small as it was at the beginning of the experiment. The young man blamed it on the advertising, when as a matter of fact the trouble was with himself. The people had read a real interesting advertisement, and had listened to a very uninteresting sermon. A sensational theme failed to have an interesting development. The young man had promised more than he could give, and the disastrous results that followed were inevitable The fault was not with the plan used but with the inability on the part of the young man to deliver the goods.
RESULTS TAKE TIME
Another word of caution, it seems to me, is, that we must not expect results too soon. Many have begun the plan, and have likewise given it up, because it did not bring results in a single effort. Were I to advise ministers in a plan of advertising it would be that no plan covering less than three months time should be countenanced. Let the church underwrite such an effort regardless of the results, and all things else being equal, the minister being able to measure up to the standard set by the display ads, I can guarantee that the advertising will pay for itself twice over. Our own local church pays as high as $200 in a single month for advertising during evangelistic effort, and an average of $50 regularly the year through, and it pays us many times over. The preacher who fails in this up-to-date method has missed the chance of his life.
The closing point in this part of the discussion will be one to which you newspaperman will respond with a fervent amen. It is that churches should pay for space just the same as big business. To my mind one of the worst handicaps to the church today is that people look upon it as an organization to be supported by charity and that it does not give value received. It is my contention that the preacher, if he is filling his place as he should, gives the worth of any money paid to the church by one who attends and that the benevolent part of the work applies to the work of missions and for the needy in a community.
MINISTERS ASK NO FAVORS
It is humiliating to me that some perple will go into a shop in the city in which they live and after the purchase of an article will say, “Now, I am a minister and I was wondering whether you gave the usual 10 per cent discount.” Shame!! Personally I am not receiving a single discount in the city of Eugene to my knowledge, and I do not want it.
not long ago I noticed this statement, “If
a better sermon, or make a better mouse
a man can write a better book, preach trap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door—provided he ad
vertise.” This is especially true of the church. We need to get the vision of the tremendous possibilities in this ﬁeld, put aside all apparent modesty and advance
the kingdom of God by this splendid method now being employed by many. It was in the same issue of the magazine mentioned above that I read the following little jingle patterned after a great poem: “Lives of great men all remind us That we will if we are wise.
Leave all modesty behind us, And get out and advertise.” I have emphasized the business side of Christianity in this paper. Do not think
that I am losing sight of the spiritual
to look the world in the face as other business men do and ask no favors. If
for I am not. The church is the only institution that claims through its founder to give salvation to mankind, but is it not
I am unable to get a living wage in the ministry, then in justice to my family, and my own personal honor and respect, I would be compelled to take up other
Pay for what you get in
advertising and ask no favors, and the
business world will think more of you, and the preacher and the church will have more self-respect.
Let me say in conclusion, that there is but one way to determine the value of church advertising, if there is any value
unreasonable to suppose that modern methods should not be employed to bring the knowledge of its founder to the world? Jesus used the same method in his ministry- His message was clothed
in the language of His day. The para bles so beautifully used by Him are evi dence of His ability to use modern meth ods of His day in the presentation of His message. Church publicity is dig niﬁed, it is businesslike and it is success
to it, and that is to ascertain whether ful and should be used more than it is.
it builds up the church in a constructive way. If it does, then it is certainly a legitimate method to be employed. If it does not, we must cast it aside, for every means employed in Christian work should
Equipment recentl.v added by the Port Umpqua Courier at Reedsport gives that
be to that end- I have no hesitancy in saying that it does build up the church in a most wonderful way. I could tell of my own experience in this city a1-xi other cities that would substantiate this contention, and added to that is the test imony of ministers all over this nation.
publication a plant that compares fav orably with those of most eight-page weeklies in the state. The Courier now has an Intertype, a new self-feeding press, an antocaster service. and is is sued by a staff of three persons. George J. Ditgen is now sole proprietor, having taken over the interest of C. F. Fair
In the literature sent out by the Asso ciated Advertising Clubs of the World
Newspaper Responsibility; Function of Press in Campaign Like Last One
(Continued from page 12)
Democratic paper, bang the G. O. P.; damn the radicals; curse the profiteers; excoriate the professional politicians. In short, swing all the dead lions you can find around by the tail, but if you find a real live lion, with teeth in his head and a hungry look in his eye, don't bother him; walk into your cyclone cellar and masticate the soporific slogan of M. Coue.
TIMES HAVE CHANGED
That, I believe, is the real explanation of the editorial silence in Oregon the past year. It wasn't fear, it was restraint; it wasn't pusillanimity, it was prudence. In a word, it was good business, and mixing in the mess was poor business.
I think I can see. if not a sound reason for this at least a reasonable explanation of it. Americans are prone to go to extremes. Newspaper men are not exceptions. There was a time when the newspaper man had to be a sort of ink slinging plug-ugly. A six-shooter and vial of vitriol were as necessary in the editorial sanctum as a pair of scissors and a paste pot. If the editor wasn't committing editorial assault and battery on some fellow citizen, he had to be rolling in the gutter with his competitor. The editor of the old school not only had to be fearless, he had to be fearful. To conduct his business as other men conducted theirs was to be namby-pamby.
Fortunately this primitive frontier view was finally abandoned. The newspaper man refused to degenerate into either a town bully or a village scold.
He came to take a sane business-like view of his profession and decided that he was entitled to as peaceful, self respecting a living as any one else.
This change marks a decided advance in the dignity and usefulness of the profession. But the pendulum as usual had to swing too far. From one extreme of continual scrapping, indulgence in abusive and irrelevant personalities, fighting for fighting's sake, the newspaper world as a whole finally inclined to the other extreme, scrapped its war clubs altogether, and settled down to a self-satisfied non-combative basis. The editorial thunder was stilled; the click of the cash register started to take its place.
In short, the newspaper business as a whole became less and less a profession, more and more a business; less and less cencerned with public service and more and more concerned with private profit. This applies particularly to metropolitan journalism, but the tendency has not, as I see it, been absent in the small town and rural fields.
FIGHTING EDITOR GONE
And with this transition from a profession to a business came, as a natural consequence, the decadence of the editorial.
A vital, forceful, clear-cut editorial in Oregon today is the exception. There are more syndicated editorial services being sold in this country now than ever before in history. The militant editor as a type has abdicated; the Pollyanna space-filler and the business manager are in control.
There is only one country newspaper editor in Oregon, I believe, who spends—or did spend before Uncle Sam rewarded him—his entire time writing editorials. That is considerable time. I have an idea most of us spend about half an hour, provided proof reading, writing heads and editing telegraph don't happen to interfere. But I have about come to the conclusion that that one editor is the only one who has the right idea. He takes the job seriously. Well, who will take it seriously if he doesn't? And who will say it should not be taken seriously?
The editorial is really the mind and soul of the newspaper. It is what the newspaper is. And every community needs today as it never needed before intelligent leadership. It needs information,—information about everything, particularly itself. It needs above all, in this world of organized propaganda and partisanship,—the truth.
The truth, that is or should be the big idea. Not only the ability to distinguish between fact and fiction, but the ability to distinguish between what is entirely true and what is half true, between the appearance and the essence, between the spirit and the letter.
And no man, particularly no newspaper man,—can perform a greater service to his community,—and to the world for that matter,—than to spend a lot of time,—all his time, provided he can do so and still meet his weekly pay-roll, in studying the problems of our present and somewhat disordered civilization and giving the public the truth as he sees it, the dangers as he sees them, and directing them toward the right as he sees the right.
I hope that doesn't sound too much like a new code of ethics. There is nothing particularly idealistic or abstruse about it. It is, I think, merely good business, the practical matter of recognizing the responsibility and satisfaction of public service. And you can't do that in thirty minutes a day. It takes study, thought and work. It takes, one might say, a life time.
And so I return to my original contention that the behavior of the Oregon press in the last election demonstrated that editorial responsibility was almost completely lacking, that editorial writing is a declining art, that the highest traditions of journalism as a profession of public service suffered at least a partial eclipse.
TIME COMES TO TAKE STAND
And I consider it rather a pity. Now, I don't wish to be misunderstood. There is nothing personal in this. I happened to take a more or less active stand against the Klan, but conditions in Jackson County were different from anywhere else in the state, and I frankly admit I don't believe there is an editor here who in my position would not have abandoned neutrality and come out firmly on one side of the issue, either for or against. With night-riding excursions following in quick succession, a definite uncompromising stand was absolutely imperative.
There comes a time in the experience of every newspaper editor when he must take a deﬁnite, uncompromising stand regardless of the immediate consequences, when he must forget his personal popularity, his subscription list, even his advertising, and with his eye only on one thing,—what he believes to be best for his community,—take oﬁ his coat and go to it, and such a time came in the last election.
MORE LEADERSHIP DEMANDED
And this is where I come to the danger in this tendency to go too far along the line of least resistance. This is an age of publicity. I believe the people are going to demand more and more responsible newspaper leadership, and the editor who refuses to accept that responsibility is going to run an increasing danger of being forced to the rear by the editor who does accept it. I hold no brief for the swashbuckling scribe, nor for the journalistic Don Quixote who is forever attacking windmills and rests under the painful delusion that you can't run a newspaper without trying to run,—and reform—the world. The editor who can do nothing but fight is of little more use than the editor who can do nothing but straddle.
But I do hold a brief for the editor who believes that he has a duty to the public as well as to himself, who finds some satisfaction in service as well as profits, who doesn't spend all his time trying to find out what is safe or popular or profitable, but spends some time trying to find out what is just and what is right.
More than that,—and here I come to the crux of the whole business.—in my judgment, the newspaper that meets every important issue that comes up, not militantly necessarily, but squarely, is not only an example of better journalism from a moral standpoint but from a business standpoint. In other words I believe that in the long run, in spite of necessary sacrifices and set-backs, a vigorous and clear-cut editorial policy pays.
In other words, I hold a brief for the editor who while he admits that the most important problem with a newspaper is to make it pay, there is such a thing as over-emphasizing this importance until rewards of his profession which can't be measured in dollars and cents are sacrificed. There is, in short, a happy medium between fire-eating on the one hand and time-serving on the other, avoiding the point where militant methods become merely destructive and also avoiding the point where pacific methods become merely negative; and I maintain in this recent campaign we newspaper men lost a great opportunity for constructive public service by veering too far in the negative direction.
This as I admitted above was not due to cowardice. It was not due to pro-Klanitis. It was, in my judgment, a reasoned editorial policy based upon the conclusion that to mix in the mess was poor business and to keep out of it was good business. Ant it is this conception of what constitutes good business, from a newspaper standpoint, which I refuse to accept. And I refuse to accept it be cause I feel that this conception lowers the entire plane of journalism to that of a mere trade, a purely commercialized pursuit. and I maintain it is and should be something higher than that, it should be primarily a profession devoted first to public service, to what Mr. Dana termed the enlightenment and leadership of public opinion, and only secondarily to profits.
For newspaper prosperity is in direct proportion to circulation. And I have come to the conclusion that the people as a whole prefer to read a newspaper that may now and then be strongly wrong to one that is never anything more than weakly right.
And the paper the people read is the paper the advertiser wants, and the paper the advertiser wants is the paper we all want. So there you are.
I. V. McAdoo, publisher of the Scio Tribune, discussed the question raised by Mr. Ruhl from a different point of view. A draft of Mr. McAdoo's remarks, requested for publication in this number of Oregon Exchanges, has not been received, but will appear next month if available.
NEWS AGENCIES CONGRATULATE
FELICITATIONS from both the Associated Press and the United Press were delivered to the newspapermen of Oregon at the banquet in connection with the Fifth Annual Newspaper Conference. Paul Cowles, superintendent of the western division of the A. P., delivered his message in person, making a happy ad dress at the banquet. Mr. Cowles in his short talk traced the growth of news-gathering facilities, particularly those of the Associated Press, with which he is most familiar.
Frank A. Clarvoe, manager of the United Press Associations' Northwest office in Portland, read messages from Karl A. Bickel, president of the organization, in New York, and M. D. Tracy, manager of the Pacific division, with headquarters at San Francisco. Mr. Bickel's telegram follows: Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/340 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/341 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/342 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/343 Page:Oregon Exchanges volume 5.pdf/344