There are, however, a number of special class or trade periodicals that have attained high merit and financial success. These represent various industries, organizations, societies and groups.
The farmer as well as the city man likes to see his name in print. If Henry Jones has produced a bumper crop and made a good showing of live stock, he is proud to have it recorded; neighbor Brown likes to read about it and compare with his own achievements. Both are eager to learn of new and successful ways of doing things.
This is what makes the agricultural press a vital element and a force in any state. Oregon has a creditable list of publications giving this kind of information to the farmer. Live stock, farming, orchard and poultry people look upon these periodicals as a part of their industry. They read them, advertise in them, and write letters to the editors.
The agricultural weekly or monthly carries messages between widely separated men and areas. It tells a story, gives a remedy, describes a method or system, quotes market prices, reports sales, advises improvement of breeds, urges new ideas. It creates demand for better machinery and equipment, explains farm problems, reports meetings and prints articles and illustrations designed to help the man on the land.
In this work of publishing, trained minds are required. The editor of a farm publication, wise in his policy, not only sends his paper or magazine to the farmer, but goes himself to the farm, makes the problems of the farmer his own; meets him in his fields or home. In return the farmer gets to see the personal side of the editor and his viewpoint, or it may be the field representative who goes out, and the farmer feels more interested in the publication.
Naturally it is impossible for the publisher or his representative to meet all or even a small percentage of the subscribers, but contact is possible with the leaders—men who are doing things, such as producing the best cows, horses, sheep, goats, swine, poultry.
At county or state fairs, live stock shows, grange sessions, the energetic publisher meets the farmer, just as the newspaper man meets the merchant on the street or in his store; talks with him, as the managing editor of a city daily greets the banker or the politician.
Farm paper editors have an added means of making friends and widening their acquaintance by correspondence. They know as many farmers by their handwriting as they do by sight. The mail of the average editor who conducts a farm publication is heavy. In my own work there have been received over one hundred letters in one day.
Letters Bring Material
These letters nearly always carry some bit of news or information that is helpful in preparing the reading pages of the publication; nearly all require a reply, but they take the place of “reporting,” or the personal visit or interview, the conference at the bank or court house, or at the office of some lawyer—and they bring business.
The “nut,” the reformer, the extremist, the radical, the idealist, you recognize, just as one knows the city or town “man of one idea,” the genius who tells how to “run the sheet,” and the fellow who is press-agenting some pet theory. They are the same in the country as in the city. One stonehead writes a dissertation on collective bargaining, using the unprinted side of various circulars for “copy” paper. He encloses it in the envelope in which you sent back his last contribution, marks out his own name and address and sketches in a fist pointing to your return address in the corner. One wonders if he borrowed the postage stamp.
(Continued on page 13)