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Full text of "Training for the newspaper trade"

TRAINING FORTE 

NEWSPAPER 

TRADE 



DON C.SEITZ 



ALVMHVS BOOK FVND 




LIPPINCOTT'S 

TRAINING SERIES 

"FOR THOSE WHO WANT 
TO FIND THEMSELVES" 



TRAINING FOR THE 
NEWSPAPER TRADE 



LIPPINCOTT'S 
TRAINING SERIES 

"For those who want 

to find themselves" 

The books in the Lippincott's Training Series, 
by the leaders in the different professions, will do 
much to help the beginner on life's highway. In a 
straightforward manner the demand upon charac- 
ter, the preparatory needs, the channels of advance- 
ment, and the advantages and disadvantages of 
the different pursuits are presented in 

THE TRAINING OP A SALESMAN 
BT WILLIAM MAXWELL 

Vice-President of Thomas A. Ediion, Inc. 

TRAINING FOR THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 
BY DON C. SEITZ 

BuiineM Manager ol the New York World. 

TRAINING FOR THE STAGE 
BT ARTHUR HORNBLOW 

Editor of "The Theatre Magaiine.'^ 

TRAINING FOR THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY 

BUSINESS 
BT C. B. FAIRCHILD, JR. 

Executive Assistant, Phils. Rapid Transit Co. 

TRAINING AND REWARDS OF THE 

PHYSICIAN 
BT RICHARD C. CABOT, M.D. 

TRAINING OF A FORESTER 

BT GlFFORD PlNCHOT 

These books should be in every school and college 
library. Put them in the hands of your young 
friends; they will thank you. 

Other volumes in preparation 
Each thoroughly illustrated, decorated cloth 



LIFPINCOTT'S TRAINING SERIES 

TRAINING FOR THE 
NEWSPAPER TRADE 



BY 

DON C. SEITZ 

BUSINESS MANAGER OF "NEW YORK WOBLD ' 



'Once a journalist, always and forever 
a journalist." 

RUDYABD KlPLINQ 




PHILADELPHIA & LONDON 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 



COPYRIGHT, I9I<J, BT J. B. LIPPIITCOTT COMPANY 



PUBLIBHKD SEPTEMBER, Ipl6 







COMPANT 
AT THE WASHINGTON SQUARE PBESfl 
PHILADELPHIA, TJ. S. A. 



"P IV 4- 773- 



To THE MEMORY OP 

SIMEON DRAKE 

PRINTER 



CONTENTS 



PAQB 

TRAINING AND OPPORTUNITY 17 

THE TRADE 38 

THE EDITOR 49 

THE REPORTER 62 

THE READER 82 

INDUSTRIAL SIDE 96 

ADVERTISING Ill 

ILLUSTRATING 126 

CIRCULATION 135 

THE COUNTRY PAPER 151 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

Where Many Start Composing Room of a Country News- 
paper Office Frontispiece 

A Busy Press Room 22 

Monotype Operators at Work 30 

A Business Office Foyer 45 

Preparing Night Copy for Morning Newspaper 51 

The City Staff of a New York Evening Newspaper 64 

Stereotypers Molding Pages 87 

A Battery of Linotypes 98 

Monotype Casting Room 110 

A Hand Composing Room 120 

Photo-Engraving Plant 132 

Mailing Department of a Country Newspaper 156 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 






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15 



TRAINING FOR THE 
NEWSPAPER TRADE 

TRAINING AND OPPORTUNITY 

WHAT does a newspaper career hold out 
to young men in the way of interest and 
advantage? This can be answered generally: 
It offers an education greater than any col- 
lege or university can afford ; it puts them in 
close touch with the great affairs of the 
universe; it makes them broadminded and 
rouses an intellectual activity not inspired 
in any other profession or trade. 

The newspaper is the mirror of modern 
life in which all phases, of thought and ac- 
tivity are reflected. To become competent 
in the employ of a newspaper means that a 
man must educate himself in advance of the 
rest of the world, in order that he may eluci- 
date and exploit the happenings of the day 

intelligently. Unlike education as it is pro- 
2 17 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

vided in schools and colleges, this learning is 
picked up automatically under pressure. If 
the youth is fitted to become a newspaper 
worker he absorbs ideas and intelligence 
with his day's work; he becomes thoroughly 
grounded in the widest possible range of 
knowledge, until his mind shows radio- 
activity. 

Primarily, the newspaper office is not a 
place where a good living is to be had by the 
mere performance of a day's work. Many 
other lines of exertion are easier to master 
and much more certain in their steady finan- 
cial productivity. 

To enjoy life truly one must find some- 
thing more than money in his task. When 
old Omar wondered if the winesellers could 
buy with the proceeds of their vintages any- 
thing one-half so precious as the stuff they 
sell, he expressed a deep idea. The item 

called a newspaper, book or magazine, pro- 
is 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

duced by eager brains and willing hands, is 
much more precious to mankind than any 
money its sale brings to the producer! 

This thought must be in the mind of every 
one who adopts the art of letters the Art 
Preservative for a livelihood. To grasp 
what the ordinary mind does not, and to re- 
late it so that the ordinary mind will perceive 
and understand, is a great achievement. 
Many people go through life with limited 
observation. It is the privilege, therefore 
of the newspaper worker to see for the un- 
seeing and to become a public observer for 
the benefit of those who cannot observe. 

The trade is a refreshing and engaging 
occupation. It appeals to the young and 
vigorous intellect. It affords a deep involve- 
ment in public affairs, for patriotic and pub- 
lic endeavors, most agreeable to the indepen- 
dent American mind. Through long years 
of unpopularity in a social sense the profes- 

19 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

sion has reached a rank high in general 
esteem. The old attitude of scorn for the 
newspaper passed away with the Jefferson 
Bricks and the penny-a-liner, expelled by 
the public acceptance of the newspaper's 
value to the community and a realization of 
the great place it fills in the common welfare. 
The American rarely picks out his course 
systematically in life. He tries many things 
at great waste of time and effort before he 
" lands." It is reckoned that only five out of 
one hundred succeed at the thing undertaken 
in the first instance. This is the natural 
result of dwelling in a land of opportunity, 
where changing chances fascinate and lead 
away from early purposes. The great test 
under way in Germany before the nation 
turned to war, to assist natural selection at 
an early stage and thus curtail waste, seemed 
logical and promised effectiveness but how 
far even the wisest Herr Professor could not 

20 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

say. In a Democratic country it does not 
seem possible to do more than hold open 
many doors with free and easy entrances for 
all. 

The printing office is a very inviting place ; 
the selling of newspapers a readily under- 
taken occupation. The printers are talented, 
adventurous souls, who stand close to the 
editors in sense and intelligence. They form 
agreeable acquaintances for the boy with an 
eager mind. From selling papers to mak- 
ing them is a common and early step; from 
printing to owning is another. Everybody 
in America ought to master a trade. The 
boy who has a mind for journalism should 
learn to finger type or feed a press if he 
really wishes to reach the top. That it is 
done without these accomplishments cannot 
be gainsaid, but the journey up is much more 
pleasant to him who knows type, ink and 
presses! 

21 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Naturally with the closeness of the rela- 
tionship most editors and publishers are 
drawn from the lower grades of the trade. 
More than one successful sheet was evolved 
as a side issue of the printing office. The 
very prosperous Brooklyn Eagle was estab- 
lished by Isaac Van Anden to keep the 
printers busy between jobs and Benjamin 
Day started the New York Sun in 1833 for 
a similar reason. The Buffalo News, a nota- 
ble publication, started as a Sunday paper, 
" set up " by two brothers, Edward H. and 
J. Ambrose Butler, who ate their meals out 
of a pail and worked day and night to make 
the paper go, though strangely enough after 
the Sunday had bred a great evening edition, 
it faded out and was finally abandoned, with 
the effect of strengthening the prosperity of 
its offspring. The Utica Press a model 
country daily, was born of a printers' strike! 

How to begin save at the bottom, as a 
22 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

printer's boy, is the question first asked and 
most difficult to answer. Nearly all trades 
and professions have an orderly process of 
preparation and introduction. The news- 
paper trade has been left among the last to 
haphazard and natural selection. The estab- 
lishment of the School of Journalism by 
Joseph Pulitzer, at Columbia University, 
New York, and the taking up of the idea by 
other institutions of learning, now affords a 
place for beginning, with some definite 
chance for education and training in advance 
of experience. There now exist, besides the 
special school at Columbia, classes bearing 
on phases of newspaper training in the 
New York University School of Commerce, 
conducted by James Melvin Lee; the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania; University of 
Chicago; Northwestern University; the 
University of Missouri ; University of Texas ; 
University of Washington; University of 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Minnesota; University of Montana; De 
Pauw University; University of Oregon; 
Indiana University; Toledo (O.) Uni- 
versity; University of Maine; Iowa State 
College; University of Southern California; 
Brooklyn, N. Y., Commercial High School; 
St. Xavier College, New York; University 
of Kansas. 

The Pulitzer School of Journalism ignores 
business instruction and confines its efforts 
to reportorial and editorial training. The 
purpose of the founder was to perfect the 
intellectual side of newspaper making and 
fit students for what he believed to be the 
highest form of public service. Harvard 
College, in its Graduate School of Business 
Administration, pays some attention to ad- 
vertising under the head of " Marketing." 
For a number of years, Mr. Frank L. 
Blanchard has maintained successful classes 
in advertising at the Twenty-third Street 

24 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Branch of the New York Young Men's 
Christian Association. He and Charles F. 
Southard, of the advertising class of the 
Brooklyn Commercial High School, can 
really be called the pioneers in the movement 
to prepare the young for a place in the 
Newspaper Trade. Instruction in advertis- 
ing is, however, devoted to the construction 
of " copy " for the advertiser, something 
with which the newspaper has little to do. 
It is an adjunct to the trade, not a part of 
it. Instruction in soliciting advertising is, 
I fear, far too psychological to be acquired. 
It is a form of salesmanship to which the 
paper represented bears a greater part than 
the solicitor. 

Good writing has gone out of fashion in 
our mile-a-minute age. There is no place in 
journalism to-day for the leisurely, reflective 
writer, carefully cultivating style. Speed 
governs. The newspaper is made up to the 

25 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

minute. So far as reflection is permitted it 
is allowed mainly for ideas, not expression. 
Even the few feeble weeklies, designed for 
general circulation, fail to maintain the old- 
time care for literary excellence. The less 
said about magazine English the better! 

The man who is to become either an editor 
or reporter, must learn to think quickly and 
concretely and write rapidly and to the point. 
No room is given him to be ornate, or time 
for remodelling. Neither is there place for 
ignorance or slovenliness. Simplicity and 
directness are the chief desiderata. 

How can these qualities be acquired by the 
would-be writer? Few do it in advance of 
the requirement. They must be beaten out 
under the pressure of actual conditions be- 
fore the true facility is attained. But there 
must be a beginning. I can think of nothing 
better than Benjamin Franklin's own ac- 
count of how he taught himself to write in 

26 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

an inimitable style that can be safely taken 
as a model for all comers. " About this 
time," he says, in his matchless autobiog- 
raphy, " I met with an odd volume of the 
Spectator. . . . I thought the writing excel- 
lent, and wished if possible to imitate it. With 
that view I took some of the papers, and 
making short points of the sentiments in 
each sentence, laid them by a few days, and 
then without looking at the book, tried to 
complete the papers again, by expressing 
each hinted sentiment at length and as fully 
as it had been expressed before, in many suit- 
able words that should occur to me. Then I 
compared my Spectator with the original, 
discovered some of my faults, and corrected 
them." 

Franklin read widely and thought deeply. 
These are prerequisites for a truly success- 
ful journalist, who must possess knowledge 
far beyond that furnished by scanning the 

27 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

i 

day's events. Like a good horse, he must 
have " bottom." The editorial writer who 
cannot think up a topic until the news- 
proofs begin to come in from the composing 
room is poorly equipped for his job. 

The Pulitzer School of Journalism under- 
takes to equip definitely a student for every 
form of editorial and reportorial work. It 
is required that the applicant shall be as well 
grounded as he would be for a regular college 
course. French, German, history, science, 
politics, philosophy and writing are included 
in the first year's course. The second year 
provides a continuation of much of the first 
year's programme, with practice in writing 
special articles and a study of current 
events. 

The drill in newspaper technic begins in 
the third year, the first half of which is de- 
voted to financial and commercial report- 
ing the dullest of routines but impressing 

28 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

accuracy. Party government, and munici- 
pal affairs and economics, here and abroad, 
are included in the third year's curriculum. 
The fourth year gives a practical course in 
reporting and copyreading, to which are 
added international relations and a study of 
the elements of law. 

The course is exacting. Necessarily the 
training is academic, modified so far as the 
trained newspaper men who are welded 
with the collegiate system are able to impress 
the practical. Teaching journalism is a 
good deal like teaching how to shoot. Much 
depends upon the conduct of the target! 

For the would-be writer, whose instinct 
impels him toward journalism, the best move 
to make is first to study the characteristics 
of the newspaper or publication to which his 
inclination leans. They all have their moods 
and habits. It was easy to sell a snake or a 
sea story to the old Sun. The odd and the 

29 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

interesting have a market everywhere and 
news seldom has to knock twice for admission. 
Even the much congested magazines can 
make room for a refreshing narrative or a 
story with a new slant. The list of writers 
each year reveals many new names those 
who have seen and conquered. Best sellers 
are not seldom the work of people who never 
before put pen to paper. " David Harum," 
the most successful book of the last twenty- 
five years, was written by Edward Noyes 
Westcott, who had been a bank cashier, while 
he lay dying from consumption, in a desper- 
ate hope that the work might provide for 
his family. Mrs. Stowe wrote " Uncle 
Tom's Cabin " while " keeping house " in 
Brunswick, Maine, where her husband was 
a Bowdoin College professor. Gene Strat- 
ton Porter, whose " Limberlost " books sell 
by the carload, had but the vision of an 

Indiana swamp before her. " O. Henry " 

30 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

ground out his admirable stories for a weekly 
dole from a Sunday newspaper, after a tur- 
bid experience in Texas. He was a product 
of the North Carolina upland. Rex Beach 
broke into Alaska and fame from clerking 
in a Chicago store! 

The publishing world is always ready for 
a good product, but its views as to what con- 
stitute a good product vary. What fits one 
paper, magazine or book publisher, may fail 
another. The necessary discernment is no- 
where infallible. There are many tales in the 
publishing world of a manuscript rejected 
by one house making the fortune of another. 

Not infrequently, too, men who have 
failed to rise on one journal make a mark on 
another. Again, the ambitious worker will 
seek out his ground, study the papers and 
fit himself to the most inviting. It is as nat- 
ural to like writing for a certain paper as to 

prefer it for reading purposes. 

31 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

The newspaper office is a world in itself. 
Some great Metropolitan establishments em- 
ploy as many as 2000 people. Offices with 
from one hundred to six hundred employees 
are plentiful. The tabulation given else- 
where indicates the departments. About 
one-third of the force will be mechanical, 
another third clerical, mail and delivery and 
miscellaneous, and the remainder be made up 
of editors, copy readers, reporters, corre- 
spondents and boys. The boy is a plentiful 
factor in all parts of the establishment. He 
is also the most volatile. It is to be doubted 
if one in a hundred " sticks." 

The table of occupation also shows that 
there is a wide range for employment outside 
of the purely journalistic end. Many forms 
of professional or handicraft work are to be 
found. The trades cover composition, photo- 
engraving, presswork, stereotyping, mail- 
ing, with adjuncts in electricians, engineers, 

32 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

firemen, mechanics and chauffeurs. Writers, 
reporters, artists, copy readers, form another 
class, with variants expressed in the table. 

In the cities the trades unions dominate 
the offices and the opportunities for begin- 
ners are small. No matter how large the 
number of compositors, for example, but four 
apprentices are allowed by Typographical 
Union No. 6 in New York composing rooms. 
Four seems to be the limit in all trades. The 
stereotypers practically ban apprentices, re- 
lying on out-of-town workmen to recruit 
their ranks. In the press rooms, two to 
three carrier boys to each machine have an 
ultimate opportunity to become pressmen, 
but not by any definite progression. They 
must await the will of the union. 

Recently the Typographical Union, the 
Publishers' Association and the employing 
printers of New York, have united in sup- 
porting an apprentices' school for composi- 

3 33 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

tors. This does good work, but its instruc- 
tion is limited to indentured apprentices. 
The door is not open, therefore, except 
by way of some job or newspaper office. 
The city opportunity to get into the news- 
paper trade through the mechanical side is 
therefore unduly circumscribed. The coun- 
try boy is not held back by union restric- 
tions and for him there is no better road into 
the trade than through the doorway of the 
rural printing office. There is no more de- 
lightful place to work than in such a shop. 

He has the free run of the place and is 
treated as an equal by all hands. He has, 
often, more privileges than pay, but all the 
same he is a mighty important boy. He is 
being introduced to the mystery of letters 
and learning to see life in all its aspects 
and angles! There is no curb on his energies. 
He is permitted to do everything from wash- 
ing rollers to sweeping out, and from collect- 

34 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

ing bills to picking up items. He learns much 
from the printers. The journeyman in the 
smaller office is usually a wise fellow who 
has travelled far. There is something about 
him that makes him sensitive and he takes 
ready umbrage at the community or his em- 
ployer and this keeps him moving. The 
printers scatter widely. Not long ago I 
found at Barstow, California, on the edge of 
Death Valley, a printer very familiar with 
New York offices, who had drifted about 
until he lodged himself and a weak pair of 
lungs in this hole in the desert sand. He was 
quite happy, however. He had seen the 
world! 

The printing office boy has a higher rank 
in the community than the one who works in 
a store or factory. Clerking in a store has 
always been looked down upon by those who 
believe in robust occupation, and working in 
a factory does not procure a very high place 

35 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

in the social scale. The farm lads are apt 
to be considered clodhoppers. But the boy 
in the printing office lives with grownups. 
He soon becomes familiar with the great. 
He knows the business men, the politicians, 
the lawyers and the sacred list called "lead- 
ing citizens." He is not engaged in a sordid 
business, but in a trade and a profession com- 
bined, where ideals are superior to money 
and where the public side must rule above 
the private pocket. He is on terms of amity 
and co-interest with everybody in the office. 
He is not chained to a wheel, or worked in 
a grind. He has liberty of thought and ex- 
pression. He must use his head as well as 
his hands, always with the privilege of going 
higher and further as his talents may compel ! 
For women, the trade affords a number of 
excellent opportunities. To be a woman re- 
porter is not especially agreeable, particu- 
larly under direction of an editor given to 

36 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

" freak " assignments. But the fashion 
writer, the society reporter and the producer 
of special articles is well employed. Sala- 
ries in the best places run from $2000 to 
$4500 per year. The woman is man's equal 
on a newspaper and is paid what she earns, 
not what she can get, as the rule seems to 
be in other occupations. The typewriting 
machine has led to the hiring of many young 
women in clerical departments at good pay 
and under easy working conditions. They 
fill these minor positions, from which promo- 
tion is slow, to better advantage than men. 
The men on the small jobs who cannot ad- 
vance, grow less useful and become discon- 
tented as their years and needs increase 
The girls get married and so give way to 
others. 

The ordinary salary of a subordinate edi- 
torial writer in a Metropolitan office will 
range from $2500 to $8000 a year; the chief 

37 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

from $10,000 to $15,000. The managing 
editor's pay will range from $7500 to 
$12,000. Some special talent is credited with 
earning as high as $30,000 a year, and one 
exceptional man of ideas receives $100,000 
a year under an arrangement based upon a 
percentage of circulation results, tantamount 
to a partnership. Country offices and small 
cities pay much more modest salaries, but 
they are usually well abreast of professional 
returns; they equal or exceed the pay of 
clergymen, school principals, or social 
service employees, and other intellectual 
employments. 

THE TRADE 

THE printing and publishing business 
stands sixth among the industries of the 
United States, being exceeded in output only 
by meat-packing, foundries and machine 
shops, lumber, iron and steel and the produc- 
tion of flour and meal. It supports under- 

38 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

lying industries of much importance, the first 
of which, of course, is print paper, having a 
round annual value of $90,000,000; the 
manufacture of presses and other forms of 
machinery, of ink and type, and pays the 
highest average standard of wages to he 
found in any form of employment. 

It remains an independent industry, its 
very nature forbidding combinations of any 
extent, and providing the most intense form 
of competition. Its chief product, the daily 
newspaper, sells at a price, fixed, as a rule, 
by one or two of the smallest coins in the 
republic. That no publisher purveys his 
product for less than one cent is due 
only to the failure of the mint to supply a 
fraction! It has thriven without the help of 
tariffs or of any support other than that de- 
rived from the direct appeal to the public, 
which yearly grows more appreciative of the 
services performed and of the value of the 

39 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

press as an informant, educator and sup- 
porter of popular rights ! 

The newspaper publisher is quite out of 
the line of ordinary business. He does not 
" take that which was thine and make it 
mine " for a profit. He does no merchandis- 
ing, but must produce from the start. He 
must be a creator and a seller, but not a 
trafficker. Moreover, he deals in the most 
elusive and perplexing of all articles News! 
The merchant can figure on his values and 
his costs ; he can reckon his profits with a de- 
gree of safety and to an extent lean upon 
the market. At least his wares are sala- 
ble to-morrow, if not to-day. But the news- 
paper publisher deals entirely in the perish- 
able and does not know up to the hour of 
going to press what his wares are to be ! If 
he fails to make a true estimate of news 
values he loses and success goes to the man 
who can. He cannot have relations with 

40 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

other lines of trade and keep his paper 
strong in the public esteem. A demagogic 
propaganda now and then starts out with 
cries against the " capitalistic press " when 
there can be no such thing, by the very 
nature of the business. One newspaper can- 
not hide what another prints and remain 
fair in the public eye. More than once have 
" interests " tried to bolster up a waning 
sheet, only to complete its doom. A success- 
ful newspaper creates its own capital: no 
" capital " as such can save an unsuccessful 
one. A newspaper with money and no soul 
is a foreordained failure. 

Examples could be cited in proof but this 
would be invidious. The other side can be 
put in evidence without offence. James 
Gordon Bennett started the Herald with 
$500 and in fifteen months had a property 
which he proudly valued at $5000. The 
New York World struggled for nearly a 

41 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

quarter of a century, until Joseph Pulitzer 
took it from the burdened hands of Jay 
Gould, May 10, 1883, and gave journalism 
a new message : 

" The entire World newspaper property 
has been purchased by the undersigned, and 
will, from this day on, be under different 
management different in men, measures 
and methods; different in purpose, policy 
and principle; different in objects and inter- 
ests; different in sympathies and convic- 
tions ; different in head and heart. 

" Performance is better than promise. 
Exuberant assurances are cheap. I make 
none. I simply refer the public to the new 
World itself, which henceforth shall be the 
daily evidence of its own growing improve- 
ment, with forty-eight daily witnesses in its 
forty-eight columns. 

"There is room in this great and growing 
city for a journal that is not only cheap, but 

42 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

bright; not only bright, but large; not only 
large, but truly democratic, dedicated to the 
cause of the people rather than that of purse- 
potentates, devoted more to the news of the 
New than the Old World; that will expose 
all fraud and sham, fight all public evils and 
abuses; that will serve and battle for the 
people with earnest sincerity. 

" In that cause and for that end solely the 
new World is hereby enlisted and committed 
to the attention of the intelligent public." 

Here was a code of journalism, struck off 
at white heat, almost at the midnight hour as 
the forms were closing for the first issue of 
the new World. The paper became profit- 
able from that moment. Mr. Pulitzer had 
previously combined two staggering St. 
Louis evening papers, the Dispatch and 
the Post, twenty- four hours after he had 
purchased the former, and success followed 
from the day of the union. When he bought 

43 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

the Dispatch he figured that he had money 
enough to run it for fifteen weeks! The 
great San Francisco Chronicle was founded 
without money as a theatrical program a 
little more than fifty years ago by two boys, 
Charles and M. H. De Young. It literally 
made itself by exhibitions of extraordinary 
energy and enterprise. For a later example 
we have the Seattle Times, picked up for a 
trifle, by Alden J. Blethen, a maker of suc- 
cessful newspapers in Kansas City and 
Minneapolis, but then " down and out," and 
well past his fiftieth year! In magic time 
it was changed from a burden to one of 
the most profitable publications of the day. 
The newspapers mentioned were not made 
by patient upbuilding like a select few, but 
by dash and vigor, by pushing their ideas 
and energies into the field and conquering. 
There are more than 22,000 newspapers 

and periodical establishments in the United 

44 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

States. The business has become stabilized 
to a degree but none the less continues to 
stand itself apart in a class by itself. News- 
papers are not " capitalized " and their 
shares distributed via Wall Street. It is the 
business of the individual, with all the fas- 
cination and opportunity that individualism 
implies and affords. 

A witness before a Congressional Com- 
mittee investigating the cost of white paper, 
was asked: " Do you run your newspapers 
for benevolent purposes or as business prop- 
ositions? " 

" Most newspapers," was the reply, " are 
run by gentlemen who have sporting blood 
different from the conductors of any other 
enterprise. They are all very much alike. 
They take all sorts of chances and do things 
that would make ordinary business men 
shiver." 

This pretty well describes the successful 
40 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

newspaper maker. He is not governed by 
rules. He must meet conditions as they 
arise, without counting cost or figuring 
profits. If he is bold enough and sanguine 
enough for this he can succeed. It is 
the temperament that tells! It is this 
liberal and adventurous disposition that ral- 
lies other men and leads to the formation of 
a working force impelled by the same in- 
stincts and these become irresistible in the 
field. 

Percentages of profit in newspaper mak- 
ing vary greatly according to the size of out- 
put and the proportion of loss from circu- 
lation that must be charged against adver- 
tising revenue. It can be established, though, 
that in a community where newspapers are 
managed with skill and energy, there will be 
a return to the papers of the town, of about 
$1.00 per inhabitant. This does not mean 
such a return to each publication, but the 

46 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

total sum which the population will give up 
to newspaper profit. That is to say, a city 
of 100,000 people ought to afford $100,000 
in net return to be divided among the papers 
of the town. This can happen in a place 
where there are one or more losing proposi- 
tions. Where the papers are earning this 
sum per inhabitant it is safe to say a new- 
comer will have a hard time, but more than 
once exceptional talent has taken over a los- 
ing sheet and exacted its share. 

Money is earned, not " made " in the 
newspaper trade. The business cannot be 
" run " by boards and councils. It must 
succeed by innate energy on the part of men 
on the spot. To decide upon policy by the 
side of the " form " is something beyond the 
ability of boards of directors. On a ship, the 
rule is to obey the last order, no matter what 
rank may be held by the man who gives it. 
So in a newspaper office where events are 

47 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

dealt with. They control, but there must be 
talent present, capable of dealing with events 
and making the most of them! 

Partisanship no longer plays any impor- 
tant part in newspaper success. Indeed, the 
party paper in cities of size is usually a sad 
affair. The city papers securing the most 
success are those of the independent Demo- 
cratic type. Cities are usually Democratic, 
but the party idea is hardly apparent in the 
rule. It is due to freer expression and an 
utter refusal to tie up to the fortunes of any 
party or man. Quite often these papers are 
in revolt against the party organization with 
benefit to themselves and the community. 
For striking examples of this rule we have 
the Globe and Post, in Boston; the World, 
Times and Evening Post in New York; 
the Record in Philadelphia ; the Plain Dealer 
in Cleveland ; the Post-Dispatch in St. Louis 
and the Examiner in San Francisco. In 
Chicago, the Tribune, while nominally Re- 

48 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

publican, has a long record as an antipro- 
tectionist and of opposition to party. It 
also enjoys conspicuous prosperity. 

Some survivals of the early days had an 
interesting parentage. The daily Eastern 
'Argus, of Portland, Maine, the oldest news- 
paper in New England east of the Connecti- 
cut River, was founded in 1803 by Nathaniel 
Willis, father of N. P. Willis, poet and edi- 
tor of the New York Mirror. He estab- 
lished also the Congregationalist, first named 
the Recorder, and iheYouth's Companion, of 
Boston, interesting progeny, and lusty after 
all these years! 

THE EDITOR 

Can he know all, and do all, and be all, 
With cheerfulness, courage, and vim? 

If so, we perhaps can be making an 
Editor " outei? of him." 

WILL CARLETON. 

WITHOUT an editor all is vain! Much 

merit as there is in a well-organized business 
4 49 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

office, success belongs to the editor. He 
makes the goods. If his ideas and output 
are not salable the best economic manage- 
ment and most zealous advertising hunting 
fails. To prescribe what an editor must be 
is a difficult and delicate undertaking. To 
describe his task is easier. The poet whose 
lines head this chapter had the qualifications 
clearly in mind, but he left out the chief 
one: Imagination! By this is not meant 
inventiveness but the possession of a mental 
mirror that enables him to see what is " in " 
things ahead of others, so to grasp and com- 
pass them as to reflect his vision until it in- 
terests and informs the multitude! 

The gentleman of Wordsworth's lines to 
whom 

A primrose by the river's brim 

A yellow primrose was to him 
. . . and it was nothing more, 

would not do as an editor. The edi- 

50 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

tor is one to turn the primrose into decora- 
tive garlands, into a bloom rivalling the 
orchid, into a decoration for the fairest 
scenes. As the trade grows complex he must 
think for many subordinates and inspire as 
well as command. 

Men have broken into the newspaper 
world who had no thought of business or 
money making, who felt they had a message 
to expound or a cause to create, and so have 
founded great journals. Few newspapers 
ever began as calculating getters of money 
and few could survive if this was their sole 
intent. That money comes is the result, not 
the primary purpose, of good newspaper 
making. 

The editor in America has passed through 
two stages and is well on in a third. The 
early editors were servants of party. They 
echoed the views of statesmen. The quarrels 
of Hamilton and Jefferson, of Jackson and 

51 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

the Whigs, were the themes. Then came the 
period of personality; Greeley, Raymond, 
Webb and Weed, Halstead, Medill and 
Watterson, imposing their views on the pub- 
lic mind. Instead we have now a power- 
ful impersonality. It is no longer the 
opinion of the editor that prevails. It is the 
opinion of the paper, which has taken on 
the personality lost by the editor. What does 
the World say, the Times, the Chicago 
Tribune, the Evening Post, the Boston 
Globe? The editorial opinions are collected 
over the wire in the face of great events. 
Whoever the writer of the moment may be, 
he expresses concretion, not the views of 
an individual. They who plead for a return 
to the one-man view and deride the " irre- 
sponsible " press, " hiding behind ano- 
nymity," and urge the signing of editorial 
articles, with the best of motives, are wrong, 
if they desire the real forces of opinion to 

52 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

operate. The view of one man so revealed 
is nothing more in effect than the view of 
another, except for the wider expression at- 
tained through the printed page. It remains 
of no more potency than the letters from 
" Veritas " and " Pro Bono Publico " in the 
correspondence column. But where the 
paper speaks, the force it represents is crys- 
tallized, the people and the politicians know 
that a vast activity is in the field to demand 
and enforce. John Smith writing a leader 
above his name is John Smith talking; but 
the leader standing alone is the voice of 
organized intelligence sending its message 
forcefully and cogently to the land ! 

The great editor writes little and thinks 
much. But a gifted few can pour out their 
brains in penmanship and preserve virility 
and expression. The rest must think before 
they write. Indeed, the greatest of editors 
in the sense of direction, John Thadeus 

53 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Delane, who lifted the London Times to its 
highest estate, wrote little. He thought, 
directed, and acquired knowledge. He kept 
close to the inner circles of government, when 
government had an importance quite beyond 
the usual American estimate. He fre- 
quented the salon of the social leader and the 
study of the statesman. His views were ac- 
quired first hand and he spoke always with 
authority. 

We have no such relationships in these 
United States. The editor who "keeps 
close " to society and statesmen soon gets far 
away from his paper and its true purposes. 
There probably was never so complete a dis- 
association of the press and politics as we 
fortunately now enjoy in America. The 
editor edits, untrammeled by the pressure of 
politicians or the aims of social leadership. 
That extraordinary feminine influence so 
strong in the England of Delane's day is and 

54 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

always has been absent from American 
journalism. The American editor is in- 
fluenced by facts and events, not by relation- 
ship or " pull." Moreover, the greatest and 
most exacting editor cannot be certain that 
his " page " will not be tipped over before 
morning. The night man is there to do as 
he pleases in most offices. He is usually too 
busy to pay attention to anybody. 

Until the great war broke out America's 
isolation kept the country out of world poli- 
tics, which were so great a part of Delane's 
activities. In American affairs to-day the 
editor does not " commune " with " leaders." 
He looks down, not up, on statecraft and 
politics. 

So much for the editorial writer and 
his duties. Other editors are much nearer 
the reader and more important in filling his 
daily needs the managing editor, the news 

55 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

editor, and the city editor. The city editor 
of a metropolitan paper controls the group 
of reporters who hunt the news, usually 
within a 75-mile radius. Beyond that the 
managing editor rules, with the aid of his 
associate, the news editor. This last named 
worker deals with the correspondents, some 
hundreds of them, at all points of the com- 
pass, who send in their daily queries, for 
example, offering " 200 words, cave-in, at 
Oneonta." He must judge of values and 
place the limit. The building of a morning 
paper requires a double force, and a far 
greater responsibility than in the evening 
edition. Here the numerous " extras " and 
quick replating lessen the need of final judg- 
ment. The morning man fixes his edition to 
" stand." He only knows the advantage of 
the other fellow over him after he sees his 
product, when it is usually too late for more 
than a hasty " lift." The evening man can 

56 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

" make over," and in half an hour few will 
be able to know who was first. It is a killing 
job getting out a morning paper and re- 
quires a calmness of temperament approach- 
ing the phlegmatic, coupled with quickness 
of decision and soundness of judgment, to do 
the work and to meet and pass the next day's 
criticism. Fortunately the newspaper be- 
longs to the family of the ephemeral. Each 
day kills its predecessor's failures and 
merits ! 

Office criticism is always cruel. It is well 
exemplified by the joker who wrote a dia- 
logue something like this for a miniature 
Chicago Tribune issued to grace a shop 
dinner : 

In our office Managing Editor: Note to 
all the editors * Why haven't we played up 
that dash story? All the other papers have 
it?" 

In their offices Managing Editor : Note 

57 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

to all the editors " What did you play up 
that dash story for? The Tribune had sense 
enough to play it down! " 

Upon the City Editor falls the dual re- 
sponsibility of getting news and handling a 
large body of men. To do so well he should 
know more than all of them put together. 
The right kind of a City Editor must be a 
cross between a steel trap and an encyclo- 
paedia. He must know everything and every- 
body. A name must suggest personal 
history, incident and the past. He must 
understand the meaning of moves in all 
walks of life, know politics, Wall Street, 
police annals and the records of the courts. 
This he can acquire only with the aid of 
time and an adhesive mentality to which the 
things will stick. His telephone is always 
jingling. He cannot have temper or impa- 
tience and he is always on trial! 

The personal belligerency of the editor 

58 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

long ago passed away. Like most grades of 
life in initial stages, fighting was a needful 
quality. George D. Prentice had his pis- 
tols handy in the Louisville Journal office, 
ready to step to the sidewalk and meet any 
comer with a grouch. When the " fierce " 
paragraphs of the day are scanned in a 
modern light, one wonders what there was in 
them that incited to murder! The chief re- 
sentment seemed to be that the editor had a 
thousand tongues and so did an extraordi- 
nary injustice when he criticised a man pos- 
sessing but one. In the early days of the 
Cincinnati Commercial, Murat Halstead 
always kept a loaded revolver in the open 
drawer of his desk with that piece of furni- 
ture so placed as to command a view of the 
door. The weapon lay under cover of a half 
open newspaper so adjusted as to slip off 
at a turn of the hand and give quick access 
to the weapon. The recitation of editorial 

59 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

fights is not edifying, but there is almost 
amusing interest in the spectacle of the re- 
vered author of Thanatopsis, William Cul- 
len Bryant, cowhiding William L. Stone, 
editor of the New York Commercial Adver- 
tiser, and he the head of the New York 
Evening Post! Philip Hone witnessed the 
affray, recording it under date of April 20, 
1831: 

"While I was shaving this morning at 
eight o'clock, I witnessed from the front 
window an encounter in the street nearby 
opposite, between William C. Bryant and 
William L. Stone; the former one of the 
editors of the Evening Post, and the lat- 
ter editor of the Commercial Advertiser. 
The former commenced the attack by strik- 
ing Stone over the head with a cowskin ; after 
a few blows the men closed, and the whip 
was wrested from Bryant and carried off by 
Stone." 

60 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

The warfare between General James 
Watson Webb, of the Courier and Enquirer, 
and James Gordon Bennett of the New 
York Herald, produced a number of assaults 
by Webb upon the editor of the Herald. Mr. 
Bennett always wrote full reports of the en- 
counters for his paper! Here is a sample 
excerpt from the Herald under date of the 
tenth of May, 1835: 

"As I was leisurely pursuing my business 
yesterday in Wall Street, . . . James Wat- 
son Webb came up to me, on the northern 
side of the Street said something which I 
could not hear distinctly, then pushed me 
down the stone steps leading to one of the 
brokers' offices, and commenced fighting 
with a species of brutal and demoniacal des- 
peration, characteristic of a fury. My dam- 
age is a scratch, about three quarters of an 
inch in length, on the third finger of the left 
hand, which I received from the iron railing 

61 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

I was forced against, and three buttons torn 
from my vest, which any tailor will reinstate 
for a sixpence. His loss is a rent from top 
to bottom of a very beautiful black coat 
which cost the ruffian $40, and a blow in the 
face which may have knocked down his 
throat some of his infernal teeth for anything 
I know. Balance in my favor $39.94." 

THE REPORTER 

His dealings with reporters who affect a weekly bust 
Have given to his violet eyes a shadow of distrust. 
" Little Mack/' By EUGENE FIELD. 

J. B. McCuLLAGH, famous as manager of 
the St. Louis Globe Democrat, the " Little 
Mack " of the poem, once defined successful 
news-getting as the art of knowing where 
" hell was going to break loose next and 
having a man there." 

The " man " is the reporter upon whom 
falls the chief burden of the trade. He is 
ubiquitous and versatile, possessing a heaven- 

62 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

born quality called " the nose for news." 
Like much talent in other lines it may lie 
latent, awaiting some discoverer, but once 
made known it flourishes. The " nose for 
news " is a very real, but scarce and most 
valuable proboscis! Under present-day 
workings, the writing side is the least of the 
newspaper's troubles. Re-write men and 
trained copy readers shape up the stuff. 
The problem is to get it. That is the 
reporter's job. 

Dr. Talcott Williams, Dean of the School 
of Journalism at Columbia University, New 
York, gives an apt illustration of the lack- 
ing sense. The " kid " reporter sent out 
from the office of the Philadelphia Press to 
" cover " three assignments turned in two at 
the night desk and was departing for home 
when the Night City Editor, checking up his 
schedule, asked for a report on the third a 
wedding. " Oh," said the boy, " there wasn't 

63 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

anything to write. There wasn't any wed- 
ding. The bridegroom didn't show up ! " 

Here is the lesson of "knowing news." 
Next to knowing news it is important to 
know how to write it. That can be taught. 
Indeed, I got my first knowledge from 
Simeon Drake, who instructed me in the 
printer's trade in the old Advertiser office at 
Norway, Maine. I was printer's "devil," 
but as I worked for nothing and boarded 
myself, my liberty was considerable and my 
privileges many. Uncle Sim wanted items. 
He thought a boy who loafed around as 
much as I did ought to pick up a few. I 
rather timidly thought so, too, but effort 
soon showed that the picking was bad. For 
the life of me I couldn't see anything or hear 
of anything in Norway worth printing. But 
during six unfruitful weeks' search an item 
had been rapidly growing in the garden next 
door. Uncle Granville Reed's two hills of 

64 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Southern corn had hustled until the tallest 
stalk was thirteen feet high. Like a flash 
the importance of the event possessed me 
and I sat down to " write it up." Try as I 
would, I could not seem to get the words to- 
gether, and finally the struggle resulted in a 
measly little paragraph to the effect that 
" Granville Reed had a stalk of Southern 
corn in his garden thirteen feet high." When 
I handed it in Mr. Drake looked at it criti- 
cally, took off his glasses and looked at it 
again, cleared his throat a couple of times 
and then taught me my first and funda- 
mental lesson in journalism, big or little. 

"You don't say who Mr. Reed is," he 
began, " you don't tell us where he lives and 
you don't make any point that is compli- 
mentary to him." 

Mr. Drake rarely wrote anything, but set 
his matter up out of his head from a much 
used case of bourgeois. In a few minutes 

5 65 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

he gave me the item to read in the composing 
stick. In its new form it ran something 
like this: 

" Former Selectman Granville Reed has 
an agricultural wonder growing in his well- 
kept garden on upper Main street in the 
shape of a stalk of corn which under his 
able attention has gained the extraordinary 
height of thirteen feet." 

" You will notice," he said gently, " that 
I have cut out the word ' Southern ' before 
' corn.' Southern corn ought to be thirteen 
feet high." 

Here it was all in a nutshell! State the 
facts, nothing but the facts, but state all of 
them attractively and if possible amazingly. 
There is interest in almost everything, and 
it is the newspaper maker's business to find 
it and make it plain to his readers. He who 
does this has succeeded. 

The late Professor Thomas Davidson, 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

most learned of men, once asked Joseph 
Pulitzer why he was so tolerant and kindly 
toward reporters and so severe in his judg- 
ment of editors. 

" Because," he replied, " a reporter is 
always a hope and an editor always a dis- 
appointment." 

One reason for the frequent truth of the 
epigram was that too often a good reporter 
had been taken from the task for which he 
was so well fitted and made an editor with 
disappointing results. It is not given man 
to possess too many perfections. The good 
news-getter is not always a good writer, and 
less often a good administrator. To reward 
the reporter with a deserved promotion too 
frequently lands him in failure and disrepute. 

From twenty to thirty in the life of a 
man, no more agreeable profession can be 
selected for him who has the instinct for news- 
getting and the itch to write. The rewards 

67 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

are considerable. For a reporter succeeds 
from the outset. He " makes good " or fails 
promptly. His is not the experience of the 
young lawyer, doctor or business man, 
slowly picking up his load. He reaches his 
task full grown or not at all. True, he can 
find lodgement in certain lines of mediocrity, 
but if he has it in him to be a reporter of 
merit, the fact is soon revealed and at once 
rewarded. But as it is a form of precocity 
the end comes sooner than in other lines. 
For being a reporter is eminently a young 
man's job. He is always on assignments. 
Home ties are scant and friends few. He 
must ever be alert and at the command 
of the relentless " desk." One assignment 
rules until it is supplanted by another. He 
has no hours, but must be ready on call. 
The dailies grant each man his day off, but 
it is often intruded upon and the sense of 
responsibility is always with him. He must 

68 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

learn to write accurately without revision 
and to think ahead of his pen. His person- 
ality is ordinarily hidden, though most news- 
papers now make known the men who do 
unusual things. 

What are the rewards? Well, they are 
worth while. Pay in the large offices will 
run from $3000 to $6000 and even occasion- 
ally to $10,000 a year for men who can dis- 
cover news and write it effectively. That 
greatest of American reporters, James 
Creelman, rarely received less than the lat- 
ter sum. The making of valuable acquaint- 
ances is an important factor. It has led to 
the graduating of many reporters into other 
lines of success. 

There is always a chance for promotion 
outside of the profession, if the inside fails 
to open up. Bankers, railroads and great 
corporations have recruited much brain force 
from the ranks of the reporters. 

69 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

In our earlier journalism of opinion and 
partisanship the reporter had but a small 
place. His efforts to relate anything outside 
of a court proceeding or a political convention 
were resented bitterly and offensively. He 
was regarded as a sneak, as an impertinent in- 
truder, where he endeavored to get the facts 
of personal or social matters. Crime was his 
only legitimate concern. 

* You fellows thrive on calamity," once 
said old Commodore Fillebrown, Command- 
ant of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, to me when 
I was trying to get at the facts of the 
Greely Arctic disaster. He really thought 
the cannibalism and tragic story of the luck- 
less expedition was none of a newspaper's 
business. Indeed, all was suppressed until 
Tracy Greaves, a New York Times reporter, 
picked a chance word from a sailor's lips 
and let in the light. This was as late as 1884 ! 
But in earlier days few doors opened to 

70 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

the reporter. New York was particularly 
repelling. James Gordon Bennett, the 
elder, wrote all of the Herald's contents at 
its N start in 1835. He devoted his news-get- 
ting mainly to Wall Street. The social news 
was mostly mockery of events to which he 
was not invited. But people bought the 
Herald for these satirical glimpses of what 
was going on. In due time reporters were 
added, and added, until there was a " staff," 
the first to be had by any newspaper in 
America. , Then the " staff " began to de- 
mand admission at social" and semi-social 
affairs to such purpose that at last a 
Herald reporter was actually admitted to 
Henry I. Brevoort's fancy dress ball, the 
social event of the period. Let Philip Hone, 
in his celebrated diary, reveal the horror of 
it all! Writing under date of February 25, 
1840, of "the great affair," of which he 

makes a very tolerable report himself, and 

71 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

where he appeared as Cardinal Wolsey " in 
a grand robe of new scarlet merino," he says : 
" Some surprise was expressed at seeing 
in the crowd a man in the habit of a knight 
in armour, a Mr. Attree, reporter and one 
of the editors of an infamous paper called 
the Herald. Bennett, the principal edi- 
tor, called upon Mr. Brevoort to obtain per- 
mission for this person to be present to 
report in his paper an account of the ball. 
He consented, as I believe I should have 
done under the same circumstances, as by 
doing it a sort of obligation was imposed 
upon him to refrain from abusing the house, 
the people of the house, and their guests 
which would have been done in case of a 
denial. But this is a hard alternative; to 
submit to this kind of surveillance is getting 
to be intolerable and nothing but the force of 
public opinion will correct the insolence, 
which, it is to be feared, will never be applied 

72 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

as long as Mr. Charles A. Davis and other 
gentlemen make this Mr. Attree * hail fel- 
low, well met,' as they did on this occasion? 
Whether the notice they took of him, and 
that which they extend to Bennett when he 
shows his ugly face in Wall Street, may be 
considered approbatory of the daily slanders 
and unblushing impudence of the paper they 
conduct, or is intended to purchase their for- 
bearance toward themselves, the effect is 
equally mischievous. It affords them coun- 
tenance and encouragement and they find 
that the more personalities they have in their 
papers, the more they sell! " 

Sad enough! Yet the day after the ball 
Mr. Hone wrote himself down as bad as the 
rest of the curious-minded public whom Mr. 
Bennett sought to capture when he pencilled 
this note in his diary: 

" The Herald of this morning contains a 

long account of the ball, with a diagram and 

73 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

description of Mr. Brevoort's house; but, as 
it was an implied condition of the reporter's 
admission that it should be decent, it was 
tame, flat and tasteless! " 

A far cry from this to 1894, when Ward 
McAllister, arbiter of the " 400 " at Mrs. 
Astor's famous ball, became a writer on 
social topics for the New York World! 

It took many years for this umbrage at 
the reporting of social events to wear off and 
make the reporter welcome. Indeed, there is 
one place yet on the map where it is not even 
now permitted to record a social event, 
though the editors and owners of the papers 
may be among those present. That is 
Charleston, S. C., which possesses in the 
News and Courier the oldest newspaper in 
continuous publication in America. 

Yet the reporter can be truly credited 
with performing a great public service in 
these United States. He has destroyed aris- 

74 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

tocracy. His eager search for the interest- 
ing, his desire to reveal the notable, whether 
it be in an extravagant social function, the 
bride's costume, or the habits of the rich, has 
resulted in a universal levelling. This is a 
truly democratic country to-day, and it is so 
because the reporter has banished mystery 
and made all men and all things appear as 
they really are! 

Nor is there longer " impertinence " or 
" intrusion." Sensible people know the 
value of publicity. Honest folk welcome it. 
The society reporter instead of being re- 
pelled is overworked. 

" But how can I become a reporter? " is 
one question often asked of a newspaper 
manager. About the best way is to hang 
around until the City Editor is able to " see " 
you, or until you are convinced that he can't. 
" Bring in an item," is the best introduction. 

A newspaper office is a place of chance. Be- 

75 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

ing on the spot is the surest way to secure 
consideration. 

Many great reporters and great men were 
to be found on the staff of the New York 
Sun in the Dana days. One of these, who 
afterwards became a first citizen of the city, 
got on the staff in this fashion: Tiring of 
college at Cornell, he came to New York 
with the help of $10, borrowed from 
William O. Wyckoff, then an Ithacan 
stenographer, later to become the head of 
the great Remington typewriter firm of 
Wyckoff, Seamans and Benedict, with let- 
ters to the managing editor and the chief of 
the Sun's staff. He first attacked the man- 
aging editor. Nothing to be had, perhaps 
the chief had something; would like to 
oblige the introducer, but just couldn't. An 
interview with the chief produced the same 
result, with a kindly reference back to the 
managing editor. 

76 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Now if he had been an ordinary young 
man he would have gone away. He was not. 
The next day at office hours he dropped into 
the Sun factory and took a vacant desk and 
began scribbling. There are always vacant 
desks in the City room. Pretty soon the 
managing editor came in and gave him a 
friendly nod; later the great editor, who 
noted with pleasure that the boy had " found 
something." Presently all the reporters were 
sent out on one errand or another. The 
managing editor stuck his head out of his 
cage and looked about. Seeing no one but 
the adventurer he asked if he was free. He 
was. " Well, take this." He " took " it, got 
it and was on the staff as long as he cared 
to stay! 

John N. Bogart, eminent as the city edi- 
tor of the Sun, got his start by applying in 
writing to Amos J. Cummings and enclos- 
ing a photo. 

77 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

It had been hand-colored and showed him 
wearing a red necktie and a green vest. Mr. 
Cummings thought a man daring enough to 
be so garbed, and proud of it, would do. 
He did! 

Mr. Cummings, who was himself a master 
reporter, made his start on the Tribune. He 
had been one of Walker's filibusters in the 
last luckless expedition to Nicaragua and 
then went into the Northern Army, serving 
through the war. When mustered out he 
applied to Horace Greeley in person for a 
job. Mr. Greeley was in a temper and 
" d d sick," as he expressed it, of the place- 
seeking soldiers. He said he couldn't hire 
the whole blamed army, which seemed to be 
pestering him for places. Amos persisted, 
saying he needed work badly. " Show me 
some good reason! " squeaked the great edi- 
tor. Amos stepped back, turned about and 

gracefully parting the tails of his army coat 

78 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

revealed ample evidence for need of employ- 
ment. He was set to work and soon had a 
whole pair of trousers ! The greatest assign- 
ment ever given a reporter was that curt 
word of James Gordon Bennett the younger, 
to Henry M. Stanley: " Go and find Living- 
stone!" He went, found him and opened 
Africa to the world! Stanley's name stands 
at the head of the legion of newspaper 
writers. In after years he became very often 
the pursued instead of the pursuer. 

Some short time following his marriage 
to Miss Dorothy Tennant, an evil rumor 
reached the Paris Herald that there was 
some infelicity. It was not true. Stanley 
and his bride were located at a quiet resort 
in the Tyrol. Aubrey Stanhope, the best 
man on the staff, was forthwith hurried away 
to interrogate the explorer. He knew the 
temper of the man and was quite aware of 
the bad taste of his mission. But he obeyed 

79 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

orders and in due season came into the pres- 
ence of Bula Matari. The " Breaker of the 
Path " was very glad to see him. It was 
lonely at the hotel, Mrs. Stanley was ill and 
in retirement. The great man had no one 
to talk to. For two days he poured out his 
feelings. Then he said, " I've been very 
selfish, Stanhope, done all the talking and 
haven't given you a chance. Come, now, tell 
me what you are after. Is it Africa? " 

Poor Aubrey summoned all his resolution. 
" No, Mr. Stanley," he said desperately. "It 
isn't Africa. Do you beat your wife? " 

JJnder his breath he added: "Now kill 
me." He saw Stanley's fingers tighten into 
the palms of his hands, and prepared for the 
worst. The fingers relaxed as the explorer 
gasped: " God! I used to do that myself! " 

Resourcefulness is a very necessary re- 
portorial attribute. I know of no better ex- 
ample than one afforded by Henry L. Terry, 

80 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

a very able member of the craft. When 
night city editor of the New York Recorder, 
I sent him to Bloomingdale asylum to verify 
a tip that a patient had been scalded to death 
in an overheated bath. It was nine at night 
when he reached the asylum, so he was 
denied admission. Going to another en- 
trance he gave such an effective imitation of 
an escaped lunatic who wanted to get back 
that he was admitted, taken to the superin- 
tendent and got the story! 

The political reporter has perhaps the 
most satisfactory assignment and is most 
likely to earn promotion to the rank of cor- 
respondent at the State or the National Capi- 
tal. His occupation brings him into close 
contact with men of affairs and is free from 
the irksomeness of routine. 

" Shakspeer," sagely observed Mr. Arte- 
mus Ward in his celebrated essay on 

" Forts " " rote good plase, but he wouldn't 
6 si 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

have succeeded as a Washington correspon- 
dent of a New York daily paper. He lack't 
the rekesit fancy and imagginashun." 

This is a pretty high tribute, but, jesting 
aside, the place calls for great talent and 
usually secures it from the ranks of the 
working reporters. To know men, politics, 
government, ambassadors and the compli- 
cations of parties is to know much and to 
enjoy the knowledge more! 

THE READER 

THE reader of the newspaper in America 
is a legion. He is closely followed up by the 
editor and publisher, morning, noon and 
night, with an extra allowance on Sunday. 
Such an appetite as never Gargantua had is 
that of the American for news! " Every- 
body reads the papers nobody believes 
them " a cynic wrote, most untruthfully, for 
the reader can do little else than believe the 

82 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

paper if he is to believe anything. The silly 
idea that a crowded sheet can spare the room 
for idle deception, or that its conductors are 
foolish enough to believe that invention is 
more important than facts, obtains in some 
higher intellectual circles, among men 
whose learning should teach them to know 
better. That they do not is a reflection upon 
them not upon the hurried, zealous news- 
paper diligently endeavoring to be first with 
its wares. 

Perhaps this careless characterization is a 
relic of the newspaper in days when news 
was scarce and communication slow and 
talent expressed itself in fancies. The cele- 
brated moon hoax, perpetrated by Richard 
Adams Locke in the New York Sun, in 
1835, purporting to be taken from an ad- 
vance supplement of the Edinburgh Philo- 
sophical Journal, was the finest example of 
this form of fooling. It was a work of 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

genius, causing a great sensation, telling, as 
it most solemnly did, of the goings on aboard 
our celestial neighbor, as " revealed " by the 
mighty telescope shortly before installed by 
Sir John F. W. Herschel at the Cape of 
Good Hope! 

Beyond this romance, so well done as to 
live in book form to this day, the papers 
padded themselves with much useless 
opinion and extended theorizing, especially 
in extracting " significance " from politics 
and guessing at the doings of circles from 
which they were excluded. The welcoming 
of the press was anything but cordial, and 
for much that was printed the keyhole and 
the back stairs were credited as the source 
and the purveyor of the information was 
regarded as a low person. The Right of 
Publicity had a long journey before it se- 
cured recognition! 

The church, government and trade alike 

84 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

frowned upon the inquisitive and inform- 
ing printed sheet. When James Franklin 
established his Courant in Boston, 1720-21, 
he was soon in jail as the result of expressing 
opinions offensive to the authorities, in which 
he was abetted by his mischievous brother 
Benjamin, destined to become the first real 
editor in America, combining wit, wisdom, 
great intelligence and boldness of opinion 
with a commanding style of expression. 

Therefore as the voice of the people, the 
relation of the paper to its reader is intimate 
and one of confidence. It is fashionable with 
certain types of moralists to decry the press 
and to insist it should limit its expressions to 
things the moralist thinks the public ought 
to know, with the idea of protecting virtue 
by suppressing knowledge of sin. The de- 
cent newspaper and I know of few that 
is not does sift its news, which is quite 
another matter from either suppression or 

85 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

repression. It does not pander and it tries 
to adjust news values to fit the comprehen- 
sion of its constituency, not to place a limit 
upon what it should know. 

What does a newspaper ever print that is 
worse than what the public does? It is not 
the thief, the murderer, the forger, the 
speculator, the eloper, or the corporation 
lawyer! It is a plain recorder of events, 
good or evil, not the creator or adjuster of 
them! 

Certain types of popular journals have 
come under criticism for the use of huge 
headlines, red ink and large pictures. There 
is a real reason behind all three. Most minds 
are rudimentary and where the foreign lan- 
guage element is great a few words in big 
type, with pictorial accompaniment make for 
quick comprehension. The critic should look 
at the old primers where the familiar ax was 
depicted to emphasize the first letter of the 

86 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

alphabet upon the juvenile mind, or the 
common cat to render " c " intelligible. No 
child ever yet liked to read a book that failed 
to contain pictures. As for red it is the most 
popular of colors and strikes the eye as does 
no other! 

It is easy to understand, therefore, why a 
sheet, seemingly " loud " in tone because of 
headlines and make-up, will be found quite 
mild in contents when subjected to analysis. 
Some of the publications most lurid in head- 
lines have a very meek assemblage of read- 
ing matter, and a high moral tone in thought. 
They are made for the simpler strata and 
succeed in proportion. That they graduate 
readers to the conservative and better man- 
nered papers is an undoubted fact, but the 
evolution upward is slow. The " best " 
newspapers have the smallest circulations! 

The paper produced for the rudimentary 
minds is a valuable connecting link, too, 

87 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

between the foreigners groping for know- 
ledge and the thorough-going American 
press. The circulation of foreign language 
newspapers in this country is very great. 
In New York it is formidable. There are 
not less than 1,200,000 copies of issues in 
alien tongues produced each day in that 
city 600,000 Jewish; 250,000 German; 
200,000 Italian and at least 150,000 in other 
tongues, ranging from Greek to Croatian, 
These papers will flourish for a generation 
at least, perhaps longer, particularly those 
in the Yiddish text where for racial and re- 
ligious reasons their readers keep themselves 
apart in the community. The easily read 
papers in English are the best mediums for 
beating down the hold of the foreign lan- 
guage papers, supplying as they do a readily 
understood expression of events. They flux 
the melting pot! 

Following the complaint against the brisk, 

88 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

but lightly made sheets is the clamor against 
the popular Sunday papers and their varied 
components, particularly the comic supple- 
ments! As the inventor of the Sunday comic 
and so incidentally the parent of " yellow " 
journalism I may be pardoned a line of his- 
tory. In 1893 the New York World had in- 
stalled thefirst color press in America adapted 
to newspaper printing. It was built by the 
Walter Scott Company, of Plainfield, New 
Jersey, and was an excellent machine. It 
lacked, or was thought to lack, capacity for 
large editions, and another machine, con- 
structed by R. Hoe & Company, was in- 
stalled. The latter lay idle for months and 
the former was used usually to daub bits of 
color on the face of a local supplement 
little city scenes like the flower market in 
Union Square. No results were visible in 
circulation and the cost was considerable. 
Coming into the mechanical and business de- 

89 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

partments, after a ten-year journey through 
the reportorial and editorial side, I had often 
noted the popular craving for amusement, 
the almost pathetic desire to see something 
funny, and I urged that the color presses be 
set to producing a " comic " sheet. Mr. 
Pulitzer, absent in Europe, cabled the single 
word " experiment," so, with an equipment 
consisting of Frederick A. Duneka, for long 
and now the head of Harper & Brothers, a 
pair of shears, and Walt McDougall, the 
cartoonist, the "experiment" began. The im- 
mediate effect was to send the paper from 
the quarter million class, where it had long 
lodged, into the half million, where it has 
since remained, in the teeth of tremendous 
competition. 

The " yellow " phase developed when 
William J. Kelly, the pressman, whose 
knowledge of color printing had been ob- 
tained printing specimen books for George 

90 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Mather's Sons, the ink makers, complained 
that he could get no results from the wishy- 
washy tints turned out by the art depart- 
ment and begged for some solid colors. 
About this time R. F. Outcault, a clever 
youth from Sandusky, Ohio, who had re- 
cently invaded New York, turned in to the 
Sunday editor, then Arthur Brisbane, sev- 
eral black and white drawings, depicting 
child-life in a tenement district called 
" Hogan's Alley." I carried Kelly's kick to 
C. W. Saalburg, the colorist who was paint- 
ing the key plate of the "Alley," and being 
of quick understanding said: "All right, 
I'll make that kid's dress solid yellow!" 
Suiting the action to the word he dipped his 
brush in yellow pigment and " washed " the 
"kid." For once Kelly was right. The 
" solid color " stood out above all the colors 
in the comic. The " yellow kid " arrived. 
The success of the series led to the capture of 

91 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Mr. Outcault by the rival Journal newly 
revived by William R. Hearst, and to a for- 
tune for the artist. The rivalry resulting, for 
the World's " kid " was long continued by 
George B. Luks, since a notable American 
painter, and stamped " yellow " on an en- 
terprise that is now common to all news- 
papers. The wide use of Sunday comics has 
vindicated the inventor's idea that there was 
an intense desire for amusement in the land 
whatever the Sunday-school teachers may 
think. 

The idle chance that opened the door of 
success for Outcault had a parallel in the 
New York Herald office, where Carl 
Schultze, " Bunny," a Kentucky artist, pre- 
sented himself with a comic series showing 
the antics of two small boys in playing tricks 
on Grandpa. William J. Guard, editor of 
the supplement, said that if the artist would 
reverse the idea he would try it out. Schultze 

92 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

did so. When the first plate came to the 
form no caption had been sent up with it. 
Called upon suddenly to furnish a " line " 
Mr. Guard, inspired by the presence in a 
local theatre of Jerome Sykes as " Foxy 
Quiller," wrote "Foxy Grandpa." Fame 
followed for " Bunny," with a comfortable 
financial reward and much circulation for the 
Herald. Bought for the Journal by Mr. 
Hearst the idea had extended success in a 
wider circle. 

The Sunday paper is a sort of depart- 
ment store in journalism. Its large circula- 
tion enforces size, because it must cover 
many things to interest so great a constitu- 
ency with its vast variations in taste. 

Curiously, the attacks on the Sunday papers 
had little or no effect on circulation, but the 
outdoor habit brought on by the bicycle and 
continued by the automobile and the golf 
course, affected it greatly. Before the bicy- 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

cle came a rainy Sunday meant a poor sale. 
After the wheel craze began, a rainy Sun- 
day meant an increase of perhaps 50,000 cir- 
culation to all the Sunday papers in New 
York and a bright day a corresponding fall- 
ing off. People who may buy entertainment 
in bad weather, head for out o'doors in fair. 

The old-fashioned editor tried to be loyal 
to the subscriber and catered to his feelings 
instead of compelling him to be loyal to the 
editor. Fear of the subscriber was a griev- 
ous editorial weakness. Incidentally, here is 
a good story in point : 

When Robert H. Davis, the editor and 
playwright, was a boy he served as printer's 
devil in the office of the Carson, Nevada, 
Appeal; of which his brother Sam was editor. 
Late one night as they were rattling the 
modest edition off on the Washington hand- 
press, a shabby little man crept in and asked 
if there were any old clothes about that " a 

94 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

feller " might have. The hooks in the rear 
office were full of garments discarded by 
tramp printers after picking up a couple of 
weeks' pay. He was told to help himself. 
Shortly he came back to the press side com- 
paratively transformed and watched the 
operations of the clumsy machine curiously. 

' What does the paper cost? " he asked. 

" Eight dollars a year." 

He dug $8 out of his pants pocket and 
started to leave. 

" Hold on," said the foreman, " where do 
you want it sent?" 

" I'll let you know," he replied, " when I 
git settled. I'm travelling." 

He stepped out into the moonlight. In 
half an hour there was a clatter of hoofs and 
rattling of arms outside. In came the 
Sheriff of Carson and a brace of deputies. 
Had the printers seen anything of a little 
man, half dressed and unshaven? 

95 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Little Bob was prompt to make reply: 

" Yes. He was here half an hour ago." 

" Which way did he go? " 

Bob started to reply, giving the correct 
information. 

" Shut up," said the foreman in his ear, 
" I'll attend to this." 

He went on glibly to lay out a route for 
the stranger, just opposite to the one he had 
taken down the main road to the Canyon. 

The sheriff made it known that the visitor 
was Black Bart, an eminent highwayman 
who had just escaped from the Nevada peni- 
tentiary, and rode away with his deputies 
on the wrong trail. 

" What did you lie to them for, Jim? " Bob 
asked the foreman. " Hell !" he said. "You 
wouldn't go back on a subscriber, would 
you? " 

INDUSTRIAL SIDE 

THE distance between " upstairs " and 
" downstairs " is far greater than the physical 

96 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

measurement implies. To the force assigned 
to take care of the material side of a news- 
paper establishment " the people upstairs " 
are a strange and inexplicable lot. The 
academic critic is often heard with acute 
accusations against " business office " con- 
trol. These critics could never have tried 
the experiment. " Controlling " an editor is 
about as easy as picking live eels out of a 
puddle of water. Indeed the average editor 
can hardly " control " himself. His hunting 
instincts are so keenly developed as to leave 
no place in his mind for any considerations 
other than getting out the very best paper he 
can. He is after the news, after the thing of 
interest. If he does not supply this the busi- 
ness office, even if it were inclined to repress, 
would soon find itself without an occupation. 
There is amazingly little acquaintance 
between the rank and file of the two depart- 
ments, each attending to its respective f unc- 
7 97 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

tions according to requirements and usually 
in conflict over the size of the paper and the 
" placing " of advertisements. Size regu- 
lates all expenses in a newspaper office. Two 
pages more or less a day may often represent 
the difference between a proper profit and 
none at all. So the paper is rarely big 
enough for the editor or small enough for 
the business end. The " placing " of adver- 
tisements is an endless source of difficulty. 
The editor loves a " clean page " where he 
can let his " story " run. The business office 
regards a page as a place for intensive culti- 
vation, and the more high-priced position 
advertising it can tuck away the better the 
balance sheet looks. 

Beside there is an incessant pressure from 
the advertisers for better positions. This is 
energetically voiced by the advertising solici- 
tor, who by the rule that we all take on the 
color of our surroundings, is always more 

98 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

eager to promote the interest of the adver- 
tiser than the convenience or profit of the 
office. This makes the lot of the advertising 
manager, who has to placate the editor and 
please the advertisers, a very unhappy one. 
The editors have always been contemptu- 
ous of the business office, regarding it only as 
a place where the salaries are paid, but with 
very little respect for the struggle to gather 
in the wherewithal to pay them. In the early 
days of the trade, there was no business office 
organization; only a clerk or two and the 
man who handed out and received the money 
for the circulation. Sometimes the editor 
himself stood behind the counter when the 
rush was on. Mr. Pulitzer used to humble 
his business managers by remarking that 
when " he was active, he had no business 
office," which was in a measure true. But 
the growth of the business made manage- 
ment necessary and, like most things needed, 
it arrived and filled its place. 

99 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

The New York newspapers of the middle 
decades of the nineteenth century had no ad- 
vertising departments, indeed, did not con- 
trol the sale of their advertising but farmed 
it out. The late Gordon L. Ford, of Brook- 
lyn, mada a fortune out of the columns of 
the New York Tribune, which he controlled, 
and as late as 1884 the Brooklyn Eagle sold 
much of its space through an outside agent. 
The early editor was not thinking business, 
he wanted to express himself, but when he 
did this powerfully, circulation followed and 
on the head of circulation came advertising. 

Yet advertising in the modern, sense de- 
veloped slowly. Even in 1893, when the 
World celebrated its tenth anniversary under 
Mr. Pulitzer's ownership, the largest depart- 

-* 

ment store advertisement in the columns of 
the 100-page edition issued in honor of the 
event was but three columns. The news- 
papers of the fifties and sixties printed little 
100 



THE NEWSPAPER 'TRADE 

advertising from retailers. Their columns 
were much used by wholesale merchants, 
shipping men, with announcements of a 
purely commercial character, and a liberal 
representation of the ever-present medicine 
man, but the retailer was mostly absent. 
The late A. T. Stewart, first and greatest of 
New York's retail merchants, was quite con- 
tent with an advertisement 150 lines deep 
across two columns. 

One thing that delayed the development 
of the display advertiser was the difficulty in 
printing any announcement that was in ex- 
cess of a single column set in small type. 
For years the papers were printed from type 
presses where the matter had to be made 
up on " turtles " or sections of a cylinder. 
Each column was therefore slightly curved, 
and to insert a double column advertisement 
was a mechanical problem, involving as it 

did the breaking of the column rule and the 
101 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

use of type above the average size. To meet 
this exigency double price was usually 
charged for display lines or taking out the 
column rule. Most of the papers met the 
demand for larger display by using logo- 
types, or letters made out of standard sizes 
of type, that is a large " A " would be built 
up out of agate or nonpareil " A's," and so 
more easily lent themselves to the curvature 
of the " turtle." With the advent of stereo^ 
typing by the papier-mache process, which 
permitted the casting of a curved plate, the 
" turtle " gave way and the troublesome 
broken column ceased to bother, but the 
habit of double charges remained for many 
years ; in fact until the typesetting machine 
put the compositor on a weekly wage instead 
of the piece system, for he, too, was paid extra 
for broken column or tabular work, of which 
setting logotypes was a part. So strong is 

habit that the typefounders cast solid logo- 
102 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

types after the " turtle " disappeared and 
many papers used this form of display letter 
long after the need of it disappeared, the 
last to drop their use being the New York 
Herald, which clung to them until the end 
of the century. 

Display advertising really dates from the 
advent of the penny evening newspaper, 
with its wide circulation and swift results. 
Morning paper advertising was much like 
the copy prevailing even to-day in England, 
that is, it was " sign " advertising, promot- 
ing the store rather than the goods. The 
evening paper introduced the daily sale and 
the bargain counter. 

The usual editorial view is that there is 
something nefarious about the business office. 
It is just as mysterious a place to him as the 
editorial room is to the boys down stairs. 
The editor never can understand why the 
business office sells a page which he could 

103 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

use to better advantage for news or a feat- 
ure. The business office folks cannot com- 
prehend why the editors are always accumu- 
lating libel suits, or printing things offensive 
to advertisers ; why a reporter can never ex- 
plain his expense account, or why the size 
of the paper was raised after the " card " 
went up, the card being the business office 
estimate of what the size should be on the 
basis of business in hand. It makes no allow- 
ance for the unruliness of events with which 
the editor has to deal. It is this wholesome 
variance that ensures independent and relia- 
ble editing. Nothing could be more fatal 
to a newspaper than supine obedience on the 
part of " upstairs." 

Business office opportunities are not so 
prompt in their rewards as the editorial. 
Following the usual rule, business promo- 
tion is slow, but the employee keeps what he 
gets, which is not the case " upstairs," where 

104 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

the reward comes quickly but where the com- 
petition is keener and where mistakes lead 
to sudden fatalities. The reporter or editor 
is always in peril of being " beaten " in the 
news or becoming the victim of some error 
of judgment, which upsets his progress and 
often costs him his place. The clerical force, 
pure and simple, is no better or worse off 
than workers of other classes, though better 
paid as a rule than minor employees in banks 
and insurance companies. As in all other 
things the rewards go to the producers. The 
man who can develop circulation or procure 
advertising gets the bundle ! 

As the newspaper begins with the editor, 
editorial or reportorial experience is an in- 
valuable equipment for business office man- 
agement. Unless there is knowledge below 
stairs of the fundamentals of newspaper mak- 
ing with an understanding that rules cannot 
provide success, there will be a good many 

105 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

painful moments for the man who takes up 
the task of management. 

Not only should a business manager be in 
sympathy with the editorial impulse but be 
ablq to " stand for " many vagaries, which 
would upset sound business judgment in 
other lines. He is a good deal like the cap- 
tain of a ship, he must be ready to meet 
anything that comes along. The winds are 
not laid for his advantage nor can he compel 
a calm! 

The mechanical cost of modern newspaper 
production is very great, due to high wages, 
short hours and much waste. The paper 
must always be on an emergency basis 
prepared to throw away pages of matter at 
the last moment to care for something newer 
or more important. To meet this contin- 
gency the composing room force is always 
held at the maximum. Presses and power 

must be here, prepared in the same ratio. 
106 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

The lot of the newspaper compositor has 
been much improved by the invention of the 
typesetting machine. Under the perpetual 
emergency conditions that prevail, the cost 
of composition has not lessened over the 
hand days, though more work is done on a 
smaller floor space and with greater speed. 
The effect of the machine, however, has been 
to stabilize employment. In the hand days 
many men were necessarily on call to meet 
the irregular needs of the office. Only par- 
tially employed, with uncertain hours, the 
moral effect was unfortunate. Now the 
holder of a " situation " has a sort of fran- 
chise worth from $1600 to $2000 per year. 
In New York the day scale for compositors 
is $30 per week of six TMz-hour days, the 
night $33, and the " lobster " shift, meaning 
men brought in at 2 A.M., $36, for 6% hours. 
Stereotyping, long an art with little change 
in it, and for 40 years performed solely by 

107 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

hand labor, was advanced by Henry A. 
Wise Wood, who invented the auto-plate 
in 1899, following it later with the " junior 
auto-plate." The first machine was entirely 
automatic, the latter partly so. The effect 
of these machines was to save fully 2/3 of 
the time usually devoted to dressing presses, 
and thereby producing a large economy as 
well as improving press room productivity 
by increasing the running time of the 
machines. The stereotyper is another well 
paid mechanic. His night hours number six, 
day 7%. For this his pay in New York is 
$30 per week, the year's total often mount- 
ing to $2000, counting in the over-time, 
which by reason of the short regular hours 
is not oppressive. 

The ordinary press-hand in a press room 
receives by the New York standard $25 per 
week for six night hours, and 7% day. The 
pressman in charge $30. In all sections of 

108 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

the country the trades employed on news- 
papers are usually paid above the standard 
of other employments, while their regularity 
of employment averages much higher. This, 
of course, is even more important than a 
high scale of pay. It is the total income that 
counts. 

The photo-engraver, a comparative new- 
comer, is also an important wage earner, 
ranking with the compositors and stereo- 
typers. The ordinary mail hand is certain 
to earn $1200 a year in a New York office. 

Recently an important economic advance 
has been made in the matter of standardizing 
newspaper size. Great waste in white paper 
and great cost in special machinery resulted 
from a haphazard fixing of size by publish- 
ers. Each machine turned out by the press 
builders had to be special and the paper 
maker was perpetually vexed to provide for 
oddities in size. Under the leadership of the 

109 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

late John Norris, Chairman, at the time, of 
the Paper Committee of the American 
Newspaper Publishers' Association, a move 
to standardize began in 1910. He regarded 
the 13^/2 em column, seven to a page, as the 
handiest, but this had the defect of wasting 
space in width of matter. The movement 
resulted in a wide adaptation of the 12% 
em column, eight to the page, introduced by 
the New York World in 1889. This makes 
possible the use of paper in 73-inch rolls, 
enabling the paper manufacturer to cover 
his machines more completely and further, 
making paper interchangeable between 
offices and so cutting down the stock on 
hand. Often, in the odd size days, much 
trouble followed shortages in varying widths. 
Now the papers in a city, having all the same 
width of roll, are much better insured in 
their supply, and the benefits to the manu- 
facturer in increased production due to more 
no 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

complete covering of their wires are large. 
The news print capacity of American and 
Canadian mills reached in 1916 an output of 
7081 tons per day! 

ADVERTISING 

ADVERTISING is the great art of attract- 
ing attention. Life would be a dreary desert 
indeed without the charm of interest aroused 
by the unusual, the startling or the bizarre, 
all of which terms fit advertising. The 
Pharaoh who built the pyramids and carved 
the Sphinx, whatever his motive, has adver- 
tised Egypt for 3000 years. The builders 
of the tower of Babel were undoubtedly the 
executive committee of Babylon's Board of 
Trade, intent upon doing something to put 
the first city of Mesopotamia on the map, just 
as the later Eiffel exalted Paris. The archi- 
tect of the Parthenon picked out the most 

conspicuous height above Athens to glorify 
ill 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Greece through all time and King Solomon's 
temple was a master attraction for the City 
of Jerusalem. 

The peacock's tail, the expanded fan of 
the turkey-gobbler, the drumming of the 
partridge, the roar of the lion and the neck 
of the giraffe are splendid specimens of 
Nature's essays in the field, while the female 
costume through all the ages has been de- 
signed to attract the attention of man more 
than to garb the lady ! 

The Venus of Milo advertises the perfect 
form of woman and the Farnese Hercules 
the perfection of masculine development. 
Applied commercially, advertising falls 
below the achievements of Nature and Art, 
but displays a usefulness that raises it to the 
dignity of a profession. To say what form 
of advertising is the best advertising is 
beyond the ken of men. It is safer to hold 

to the view of the Kentucky Colonel when 
112 



, 

THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

asked to name a good whiskey. He said all 
whiskey was good, but some kinds were bet- 
ter than others. So it is with advertising. 

We of the newspaper trade are apt to think 

i 

newspaper advertising better than any other 
kind. There is some sound* reason behind 
the view. To begin with, the universality of 
newspaper reading provides the certainty of 
reaching a large number of possible cus- 
tomers, while the convenience served is so 
great as to insure profitable response, always 
assuming that the advertiser has something 
to sell that people want to buy! 

Because newspaper advertising is very 
conspicuous and ever present it is sometimes 
intimated that the advertiser controls the 
columns of the popular press. Nothing 
could be farther from the truth. Not only 
does the advertiser not " control " news- 
papers, but he seldom tries, and usually with 

the result of a severe rebuke. Advertising 
8 113 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

is a by-product of the newspaper, useful in 
enabling it to sell itself at a much lower 
cost than if it relied for income upon the 
reader alone. Its value to the advertiser 
naturally grows in a ratio with the paper's 
hold upon the public. This fact, duly im- 
pressed, is usually enough to convince the 
sensible business man that his relationship 
with the newspapers is decidedly formal 
and does not extend beyond the counting 
room, where he is entitled to know what cir- 
culation he gets for his money and to a rate 
as low as the next man. This is a degree of 
fairness that prevails in good measure in the 
newspaper trade. Doing business as it does 
in the open, the rightly managed newspaper 
has no place for secret negotiations, rebates 
or special privileges and the paper succeeds 
best that carries all its rates on its rate 
cards. It is really and truly a common car- 
rier and ought to operate like a railroad. 

114 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

It is sold for a uniform price to all comers 
and should have but one price for its adver- 
tising columns. 

Vast as the volume of advertising is in 
American newspapers, the number of ad- 
vertisers is surprisingly small. This does 
not apply to the users of classified announce- 
ments, the popular " wants," but to " dis- 
play." A well crowded evening paper in 
New York City in the centre of 7,500,000 
population and innumerable establishments 
is doing very well if it has 150 separate adver- 
tisements in an issue, and a half of these will 
be the small " ads " of theatres, excursions 
and restaurants. 

The " big " local advertisers can be 
counted on the fingers of the two hands. 
The fair sized ones may aggregate a score, 
the " foreign " and " medical " make up the 
rest. One of the reform waves of recent 
years was the warfare on proprietary reme- 

115 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

dies, with the result of much excluding from 
newspapers, though many shut down with 
reluctance under the gunfire of the critic; 
for whatever may be said of the merits or 
demerits of the proprietary articles, as an 
advertiser the medicine man was long the 
mainstay of the press, when other forms of 
business were indifferent and utterly unre- 
sponsive. Beginning with the London dai- 
lies of the revolutionary period the pill and 
potion man, and the purveyor of improve- 
ments for the female face and form, have 
been staunch users of newspaper space. 
Worthy or not, they aided in creating an in- 
dustry and an educator that is worthy, and 
so must be esteemed in the newspaper offices, 
whatever may be thought outside! 

The department store expenditure in the 
large centres is commonly figured at from 3% 
to 4% per cent, upon the gross amount of 
sales. A business of $10,000,000 annually 

116 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

therefore indulges in an outlay of from 
$350,000 to $450,000 in reaching the public. 
The cost of merchandising is usually figured 
at 25 per cent. So much must the customer 
pay for advertising, wrapping and packing, 
rental, delivery and clerk hire. 

The work of the advertising solicitor is 
important in all newspaper offices tmly in so 
far as he brings in the first " copy." The 
paper must do the rest. Experience alone 
tells the " pulling " value of an advertise- 
ment and the buying power of circulation. 
Much soliciting energy is wasted forcing 
business from the wrong lines. A solicitor 
should study his paper with even more care 
than an advertiser. The good jockey 
" knows " the qualities of his horse. Too 
few solicitors have the acquaintance they 
ought to have with the powers of their 
medium. Acquaintance and personal charm 
have combined often to wheedle business 

117 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

from an advertiser, where knowledge and 
discrimination should have been employed. 
It is pretty nearly possible to so apportion 
" copy " as to make it pay in all newspapers. 
One grade of readers can be relied upon to 
respond to the advertising of expensive 
wares, another to the medium and another 
to the cheap. Different " copy " means that 
every sail can be made to draw. 

It is rather odd, but few advertisers are 
willing initiators of the use of printer's ink. 
With the example of sundry, singular suc- 
cesses before them they begrudge the outlay 
for publicity and regard the exceptional 
space user as merely abnormally fortunate. 
So most business men are repellent or on the 
defensive, which makes the solicitor's job a 
rather difficult one. But when he does suc- 
ceed in picking up a line, it becomes an 
attractive and profitable occupation. 

One very able solicitor, arguing long and 

118 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

eloquently with an obdurate business man, 
was Startled by a gentle snore. His auditor 
had actually gone to sleep under the spell of 
the oration. The solicitor, a powerful man, 
struck the sleeper a mighty slap on the 
thigh. He awoke with a profane yell: 

" What the do you mean by hitting 

me?" 

" What do you mean," was the cool reply, 
" by going to sleep when I am giving you 
the most valuable information you ever had a 
chance to hear! " 

He got the business. 

In another case the widow of a clergyman 
sought and obtained >a place as solicitor for 
religious announcements on a great New 
York newspaper, established as a religious 
daily, but by some considered to have wan- 
dered at times from the path! She was 
warned that it would be a hard undertaking, 
but full of zeal and faith in her large ac- 

119 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

quaintance among her late husband's cleri- 
cal friends, she went blithely to the task. In 
three days she was back. Her eyes showed 
traces of tears. 

" I have seen fifteen of my husband's best 
friends " she said. " They all were so sorry 
for me. They knew I needed the salary, and 
if only I had come to them from some nice 
paper they would be only too happy to help 

me, but from this one and so, I've got 

to give it up." 

" Nonsense," replied the business man- 
ager who heard the tale of woe. " Go back 
and ask them ' Do you come to bring the 
righteous or sinners to repentance?' Be- 
cause you can tell them if it's sinners they 
are after, we probably have the largest crop 
in town! " 

She was plucky and went back with the 
message. The paper is supreme to-day in 

religious announcements. 
120 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

A shrewd solicitor of summer-resort ad- 
vertising attended, with the men from rival 
papers, a Board of Trade meeting at Asbury 
Park. Each man was asked to state the cir- 
culation claimed by his paper. This youth 
was called early. He gave his paper's figure 
as 500,000. His chief rival came last. His 
"circulation" was 700,000. Before the 
meeting adjourned the representative of 
" 500,000 " asked for a chance to say another 
word. 

" If I had been asked last," he said, " My 
circulation would have been 700,000." 

He got the business ! 

Another solicitor started out to develop a 
line of classified " ads " for family pets under 
" Dogs, Birds, etc." One German dealer in 
these specialties resisted all blandishments. 
He stuck to a rival paper as sufficient for 
his needs. It happened that death notices 

were a great feature in the paper he pre- 
121 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

f erred and a very light one in that one repre- 
sented by the solicitor. It was in the pneu- 
monia season and nearly a page of the sad 
announcements were present in the one and 
but half a column in the other. 

"Don't you want to stay in business?" 
asked the agent. 

"Sure; vy not?" 

The solicitor opened up the two papers at 
the death roll. 

" Well, you can't if you stick to the . 

The readers are all dying. Ours are 

all alive. Better get on board! " 

He did! 

All solicitors are not so lucky in being 
" pat." One very able New York advertis- 
ing man whose affluence afforded him a coun- 
try seat used many of its by-products as 
agreeable means of introducing " business." 
With his eye on the taste of a large adver- 
tiser of proprietary medicine, he sent the 
122 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

gentleman a collie pup. The pup bit off the 
card on his collar and, as the event showed, 
arrived anonymously at his destination on 
the outskirts of Philadelphia. After several 
weeks' waiting for some word the solicitor 
journeyed to the Quaker City and found his 
man. He was rather distant. No headway 
being made on the desired contract, he ven- 
tured to inquire about the pup. 

The advertiser broke out in sudden fury: 

" So you're the idiot who sent us that 
blanked, blanked pup, are you! I've been 
wanting to kill you and the dog ever since 
he came. So you're the fellow who sicked 
that nuisance on me. Why, he's eaten up all 
the rugs and shoes in the house. Come and 
get him and do it quick! " 

It is proper to say that the pup developed 
into a model dog and cordiality and contracts 
followed in due season. 

A good advertising solicitor can make 

123 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

from $5000 to $15,000 a year on a sizable 
paper if he is diligent and productive. His 
advertisers become his own, by newspaper 
custom. His hours are such as he cares to 
make them and work alone " drives " a man 
of standing. 

The " adsmith " is a modern adjunct to 
the newspaper. He is the person who pre- 
pares " copy " for the advertiser. Few news- 
papers have had success in maintaining a 
" copy " department, but the " adsmith " has 
developed a field for himself. By study of 
type, goods, the field and expression, he has 
become much sought for as an expert in pub- 
licity. Parallel with this very useful person 
has come another of no value to the news- 
paper, and for a long time one who did much 
to discredit it the press agent, first a prod- 
uct of the theatre and developing until he 
reached the lofty pinnacles occupied by the 
Standard Oil Company and the New York, 

124 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Be- 
ginning merely as a person to provide repor- 
ters with such information as his employer 
cared to give out, he expanded himself into a 
factor in publicity promotion in the securing 
of vast amounts of space free of charge by 
gilding his statements with interest, so that 
they were eagerly welcomed in many, if not 
all, editorial rooms. At last the counting 
rooms became vaguely conscious that the 
papers were being used and abused by these 
ingenious gentlemen. Indeed, they earned 
much discredit for the press, being responsi- 
ble for a severe share of distrust, almost 
proving the Populistic charge of corporation 
control. Steps taken by the American News- 
paper Publishers' Association found more 
than 1000 of these busy gentlemen diligently 
at work. They have been well broken up by 
concentrated action on the part of the 
A. N. P. A., but not before they had done 

125 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

much harm in affecting the status of news- 
paper honesty as well as curtailing legiti- 
mate advertising on the part of their 
employers. 

ILLUSTRATING 

THE newspaper office since 1884 has 
become a more than complex affair, due to 
improvements in mechanics and enlargement 
of its scope by the addition of illustrations 
and the production of supplements in color, 
halftone and gravure. While once in a very 
great while a daily newspaper would use a 
" cut " or a war-map in its news columns, the 
costly and slow process of wood-engraving 
furnished the sole medium for illustration 
and was out of reach by reason of time and 
expense. In the seventies the coming of the 
" chalk-plate " process caused the establish- 
ment of a daily devoted mainly to pictures, 
the New York Graphic, a costly venture for 
its promoters. It existed for some years, but 

126 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

without striking any popular chord. The 
pictures, by reason of the process employed, 
were coarse sketches, that really told a very 
poor story of events. 

Meantime photo-engraving developed. By 
pen-and-inking a silver print the work of the 
camera could be reproduced with tolerable 
accuracy. Still the daily made little use of 
the invention. In 1884, the New York 
World began the first regular effort to illus- 
trate a newspaper, V. Gribayedoff being the 
pioneer artist and Walt McDougall the ear- 
liest cartoonist. Their efforts grew in vol- 
ume and other talent developed. When 
the New York Recorder was established 
it provided itself with a good art staff 
whose work was made much of in silver 
print, though the dynamiting of Russell 
Sage in 1892 was the first event to be what 
could be called fully illustrated. The head 
of Norcross, the dynamiter, had been blown 

127 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

from his body and was taken to police head- 
quarters, where John S. Pughe, a slender boy 
on the Recorder staff, who became Puck's 
chief cartoonist, made a startling drawing of 
it by candle light, the most striking bit of 
work up to that time done by a newspaper 
artist. That the night editor saw fit to print 
it on the second page, did not detract from 
the achievement. From that time progress 
was rapid, but copious illustrating did not 
develop until 1894, when the World estab- 
lished the first " Sunday magazine supple- 
ment " with pages free from advertisements 
which gave a chance for conspicuous picto- 
rial efforts and opened a market for art work 
profitable to the artist and important to the 
papers. The daily cartoon showed itself to 
first and best advantage in the Evening 
Telegram, where the late Charles G. Bush, 
head of his profession, shone until trans- 
planted to the Herald and later to the 

128 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

World, in 1898. From that year till now 
few papers of importance have heen without 
their cartoonist a powerful and invaluable 
adjunct to the editorial page. It will be re- 
membered that Thomas Nast was the father 
of the American cartoon as a regular feature 
and that Tweed offered him $100,000 to quit. 

" Stop the d d pictures," the boss was 

credited with remarking, " and I don't care 
for the rest." It is true that to Nast's piti- 
less pencil he owed his overthrow, and in the 
cartoon, the newspaper of to-day finds one 
of its keenest and most effective weapons. 

The Recorder had an admirable cartoonist, 
Dan McCarthy, who forsook the throttle of 
a New York Central locomotive to become a 
leader in his line. Before taking up cartoon- 
ing McCarthy did general illustrating for 
the Herald and in time was sent to Paris to 
ornament the European edition. His return 
to New York and his development as a car- 

9 129 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

toonist occurred this wise, according to tradi- 
tion. He received an order to go forthwith to 
Trouville and went, expecting instructions 
to follow. None came. He busied himself 
with making a budget of local sketches and 
sent them to the office. In return he received 
a sharp rebuke for doing something he had 
not been told to do. So he took to drink and 
on the day when the Bennett coach rolled up 
to the inn the event which he had been sent 
to depict he eyed the load of Russian 
Grand Dukes malevolently and asked the 
whip, who was no less a person than his 
chief, " what he paid those Kings for riding 
around with him." 

An early passage home followed, where 
the key to the street was handed him. From 
the Recorder Mr. McCarthy went to the 
World. His best cartoon was the knot tied 
in the British lion's tail during the agita- 
tion following Mr. Cleveland's Venezuelan 

130 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

message. It was printed January 9, 1896. 

To-day the cartoonist earns a better sal- 
ary than most hank presidents and ranks 
with the best of the editors. 

As white paper improved in texture it 
became possible to print with reasonable 
clearness from half-tone plates. At first 
these were inserted in the stereotype plate, 
but as this was impossible where many dupli- 
cations were required, it was not long before 
the photo-etchers could produce a plate that 
stood stereotyping and now the use of 
" cuts " is common in all kinds of papers. 
They have had the effect of killing the de- 
scriptive writer, once the pride of the city 
staff, and of curtailing much wordiness. The 
tendency of the day is for rather less illus- 
trating in the daily issue and more on 
Sunday. 

The use of color was an idea that had the 
germ in the World office, and taken from 

131 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

there, where it had never got beyond experi- 
ment, to that of the Recorder, where George 
W. Turner succeeded each Sunday in print- 
ing a red star in the advertisement of R. H. 
Macy & Co., by the device of an auxiliary 
cylinder which " struck in " the color spot on 
a blank left in the black plate. Later, in 
1893, the World was the first paper to em- 
ploy color in embellishing illustrations and to 
put in a multi-color press. This machine is 
simply the rotary press with as many cylin- 
ders as may be required, each of which trans- 
fers its part of the color scheme to the pass- 
ing web. Half-tone magazine presses that 
do excellent work rapidly are in use, and 
lately machine photogravure, introduced in 
America by Charles W. Saalburg, has made 
considerable headway as an addition to the 
Sunday illustrating. 

The " comic supplement " elsewhere de- 
scribed has led to a wide use of " comics " in 

132 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

morning and evening newspapers. The 
Evening World introduced them to New 
York in 1897, through Thomas E. Powers, 
and followed him with the unique work of 
Maurice Ketten, a talented importation from 
France, with a wide hold on the American 
reader. "Mutt and Jeff," a horse-play comic, 
originated in the San Francisco Chronicle 
and in due time reached New York, at last 
syndicating " Bud " Fisher's work to a large 
audience, reaching every town of importance 
in the land. " Let George do it " is a phrase 
engrafted in the language by George 
McManus in the Evening World. Through 
the syndicating process it has been possible 
to build up large rewards for the man with a 
good " comic " idea, a select few running 
their incomes up as high as $40,000 to 
$50,000 per year. The ordinary newspaper 
artist of capacity is certain of pay running 
from $2500 to $7500 per year. 

133 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

The art department is a very costly ad- 
junct to a large office. The wages of the 
photo-engravers will run up to $75,000 a 
year, and of the artists and photographers 
to as much more. The newspaper photogra- 
pher preceded his brother of the movies in 
hunting subjects of interest, often taking 
much risk in his pursuit of game. The 
camera is as important to the production of a 
modern newspaper as the reporter, and a 
member of the snapshot squad is required to 
have as much enterprise and perspicacity as 
his brother, the news-gatherer. He must 
know all the turns of his trade, be certain of 
his subject and the most striking view to be 
had ; able to develop his films in a hurry. It 
is often but a scant hour from the snapshot 
to the form. 

The camera man has to exercise diplomacy 
very often, and in the beginning of his exer- 
tions met with many rebuffs, coupled with 

134 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

occasional assaults from people who felt that 
privacy was unduly invaded, but he won his 
way and the prejudice has gone to join others 
that formerly hampered news gathering. 

CIRCULATION 

COMMENTING on the slow death of a once 
great newspaper, which was kept alive by an 
apparently invincible advertising patronage, 
Joseph Pulitzer remarked that the first thing 
a newspaper got was circulation, the last 
thing advertising. 

In the operation of this rule he saw the 
coming doom of the property. Its circula- 
tion had succumbed to competition by a con- 
temptuous failure to consider its rivals, due 
to the strength of the advertising columns, 
the management forgetting that the reader 
fed the advertiser and that in due season his 
absence would make itself known. There- 
fore in a live newspaper establishment circu- 

135 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

lation will always have first consideration. 
Mr. Pulitzer watched his circulation figures 
as closely as the prudent sea captain scans 
his barometer and was no less anxious to 
know why circulation went up than why it 
went down. This no one could ever tell him. 
The possessor of such certain knowledge 
could acquire wealth beyond even modern 
dreams of avarice. 

There is one rule that has more certainty 
in it than any other and it is a paraphrase of 
General Nathan Bedford Forrest's formula 
for military success: " Git thar fustest with 
the mostest men." 

" Get there first with the most news " 
comes nearer insuring a lead than any other 
idea that ever stimulated the circulation of a 
newspaper. It does not cover it all, but in 
pursuance of such a policy the energizing of 
every item in a newspaper's make-up is 
pretty sure to follow, and with it success. 

136 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

The circulation department is a growth of 
the last thirty years. For the century of 
daily newspaper making that preceded 1885, 
the paper found its way to the reader largely 
by chance. People who wanted to sell news- 
papers came to the offices at an early hour in 
the morning, bought the sheets they desired 
and in turn delivered them to subscribers or 
sold them upon the streets. The New York 
newsboy of the " Ragged Dick " period, and 
of the days of the newsboys' lodging house in 
New York, was a vagabond kept in vaga- 
bondage by the precarious nature of his occu- 
pation. Waifs and strays picked up a few 
pennies by waylaying the passers-by early 
and late and woefully exhibiting the armful 
of papers on which they were " stuck." In 
the smaller cities the carrier made his meagre 
living by rising every morning at 3:30 and 
going his rounds by dark, looking forward 
to the first day of the New Year as the one 

137 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

that would bring him temporary affluence 
through the sale of " the carrier's address " 
to his patrons. 

This was usually a pretty bad poem set 
within a rude border and drearily reciting the 
troubles of the vendor. Sometimes a kindly 
editor or budding genius penned the rhymes 
with real merit. But the idea of pushing the 
paper was usually beneath the dignity of the 
ownership. Even such a great seller of news 
as James Gordon Bennett, the elder, made 
the reader hunt for his paper. 

In the evening field the carrier also con- 
trolled the distribution, such as it was, with a 
moderate street sale " down town." 

In considering the vast distribution of the 
modern evening newspaper it seems incredi- 
ble that this is a growth of less than thirty 
years, and difficult to believe that evening 
editions prospered in New York, Philadel- 
phia, and Boston with circulations of from 
four to ten thousand as late as 1880. 

138 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

The first person to take the newspaper to 
the reader with system and dispatch was 
Victor F. Lawson, of the Chicago Daily 
News, who established delivery points and 
routes throughout the city with a thorough- 
ness that led to an impregnable hold upon 
the newspaper readers of that city. There 
are two classes of papers both successful 
one a creation of steady routine and a regular 
pressure for sale; the other dealing in ideas 
and making the most of events. Both suc- 
ceed, but the first is the easiest to produce 
and the most expensive to handle, for all 
depends upon close and systematic delivery. 
The reader does not seek the paper; the 
paper lets no possible reader escape. The 
Chicago News, the Philadelphia Bulletin, 
and the Kansas City Star are conspicuous 
examples of this type. The newspaper of 
ideas and expression depends more upon the 
passing throng and on aroused public inter- 

139 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

est. It is much more subject to fluctuations 
of sale than the routine type and requires far 
greater energy and outlay in its editorial 
production. 

The cost of city delivery is very great, 
fully one-half of the return from the retailer 
going into the charge for delivering his sup- 
plies. In the majority of cases a large loss 
over the return is shown in white paper, 
which must be met by advertising revenue 
in a number of instances subtracting 20 or 
more cents per line from this source to over- 
come the aggregate expense, leaving the ex- 
cess on the net rate to provide the hard- 
earned profits. 

Newspaper distribution in America is well 
organized only in spots. The perfection of 
system may be found in France where the 
Paris newspapers enjoy a nationwide circu- 
lation, due to the efficiency of their agents in 
the cities and towns of the provinces. Paris 

140 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

is a centre in a small country, no part of 
which is well out of reach of a reasonable 
time for delivery. This, coupled with the fact 
that the Paris paper is really more of a publi- 
cation than a news carrier, which extends the 
life of its contents, accounts for the great cir- 
culations of Le Matin, Le Petit Parisien, 
Le Journal and Le Petit Journal. A Paris 
morning newspaper of large circulation 
starts its presses late in the afternoon and 
runs continuously on various editions until 
4: 00A.M. 

In France, too, another factor is found, 
lacking in America, and that is plenty of 
reliable circulators willing to work for the 
small profit from the sale of the newspapers. 
A few extra francs a week will engage good 
service by a capable man who regards the 
addition to his income as a valuable asset. 
He can be relied upon to do his work 
properly. In America for the most part the 

141 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

paper is at the mercy of boys who may or 
may not come to time ; who dread the cold or 
wet day, or dislike early rising, and are poor 
collectors of money due them, and in turn 
fail their employers. 

The rural free delivery has done much for 
newspaper distribution in the West, but is of 
little service in the East. The post-office re- 
gards second-class matter as an unprofitable 
burden and does not permit the carrier to 
deliver newspapers from addressed copies, 
but insists that each shall be separately 
wrapped and directed, thus greatly increas- 
ing the work of sorting for the rural routes. 
Papers can be sent in bulk to a post-office 
with the name of the subscriber stamped on 
each copy, but if meant to go out by carrier 
in the country, must be " singles." 

Thus cost is increased and convenience 
vexed on a theory that if a carrier were 
allowed to receive papers in bulk, delivering 

142 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

and collecting, he might become attached to 
the newspaper offering the best rewards, and 
so operate unfairly against others. 

No such difficulty exists in Germany 
where the post-office takes over to an extent 
the functions of a newsdealer, orders publi- 
cations direct from the publisher, pays the 
charges and collects from the subscriber. 
This has the disadvantage of government 
control of circulation that might in season be 
applied to the crushing of an offensive sheet. 

The French system of direct dealing with 
an agent of the publisher's own choosing is 
therefore the nearest to safety and good ser- 
vice. Of late years, with their keenness for 
comprehending its earning power, the He- 
brew immigrants have seized the news trade 
with its percentage of from 25 to 40 per cent, 
of profit and have stabilized it to a degree, 
making possible the abolition of the waste of 
" returns " from unsold papers and giving 

143 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

an attention to business such as the shifting, 
uncertain boy could never be made to apply. 
The subscriber, once the mainstay of the 
newspaper, is now the least of its supporters. 
The papers with the largest circulations usu- 
ally have the smallest subscription lists. The 
New York morning newspaper with the 
greatest output has less than 10,000 names 
on its mail galleys. Dailies making a 
specialty of financial, business or shipping 
jiews rule larger in direct relationship, but 
the convenience of the delivery by dealer, and 
the doing away with the need of advance 
payments, has cut out the " old subscriber," 
who felt that he had almost a proprietary 
interest in his paper and at times asserted 
this belief most disagreeably, as for instance 
the one who wrote Horace Greeley, fiercely 
demanding that he " stop " the Tribune in- 
stantly. This Mr. Greeley meekly declined 
to do. No paper ever felt the wrath of the 

144 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

subscriber so heavily as did the founder of 
the Tribune. When he went bail for Jeffer- 
son Davis his weekly list was decimated and 
his daily received a curtailment from which it 
never rallied in his time. The indignant sub- 
scribers refused to take the paper from the 
post-office, and, following the custom at the 
period, when the postage was collected from 
the addressee, the P. O. sent back the un- 
claimed copies by the cart load. 

Catering to the subscriber has therefore 
ceased to be a newspaper weakness. The 
old-fashioned publisher who lived on his 
mail list was in perpetual terror and often 
unduly influenced by the complaints of the 
man who sent in his remittance yearly. Now 
the relations are impersonal and the paper's 
success depends upon its command of inter- 
est, instead of opinion. 

A very famous newspaper in an eastern 
city changed hands after a long stay as the 

10 145 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

Swindling support of an estate. From first 
place it had slipped to sixth in circulation! 
It. had J long followed the trend of "the 'sub* 
scriber and repelled new ideas. The pur* 
chaser took a census of his 14,000 readers and 
found their average age *vas 64 years ! Some 
radical steps reduced the average age to 34 
years and multiplied the number by five! 

Before the day of the modern circulation 
manager, no daily newspaper resorted to ad*- 
vertising itself, except by the annual pros- 
pectus put out through the country weeklies 
in return, for an " exchange " at the New 
Year. Then, in 1891, a newspaper cir- 
culation was made almost over night by 
spectacular advertising. The New York 
Recorder, started in February of that year, 
acquired an excellent following through the 
fact that James B. Duke, with the thrill of 
success upon him as a tobacco merchant, 
seized the platforms of the elevated roads, to 

146 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

carry great poster^ announcing the new 
arrival in city journalism. That the paper 
failed later was due not to its advertising 
basis, but to editorial weaknesses, following 
loss of interest in the property by its owners. 

The circulation manager who would push 
his paper to success will find powerful adver- 
tising an efficient aid. Lord Northcliff e once 
told me that he had successfully launched six 
weeklies in London on varied versions of 
" East Lynne," using dramatic posters to 
herald the coming of each sheet! 

The early weekly " story " papers, now 
eclipsed by the popular monthlies, were 
" lifted " by advertising. Robert Bonner, of 
the New York Ledger, taught the trick. 
His advertisements were often a page in size 
and mainly reiterations of a single sentence 
or two. His favorite device was to buy a 
page in the New York Herald, letting the 
cost be known, with the result of a never- 

147 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

failing rise. But of course he always had 
something to sell I 

Patrick and Stephen Farrelly, the makers 
of the American News Company, were boys 
in the circulation department of the Ledger. 
Its office was at the corner of Spruce and 
William streets, New York. When Henry 
Ward Beecher's novel "Norwood" appeared 
in the Ledger, after the sensational an- 
nouncements described, a line of New York- 
ers reaching from Broadway and Ann 
Streets, and winding through the interme- 
diary blocks would form on publication 
mornings, eager to secure the first copies 
containing the rather mediocre tale! 

Mr. Artemus Ward once burlesqued 
Ledger advertising in this fashion : 

It is the all-firedest paper ever printed. 
It is the all-firedest paper ever printed. v 
It is the all-firedest paper ever printed. 
It is the all-firedest paper ever printed. 
148 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

It's the cussedest best paper in the world. 

It's the cussedest best paper in the world. 

It's the cussedest best paper in the world. 

It's the cussedest best paper in the world. 

It's a moral paper. 
It's a moral paper. 
It's a moral paper. 
It's a moral paper. 

Sold at all the corner groceries. 
Sold at all the corner groceries. 
Sold at all the corner groceries. 
Sold at all the corner groceries. 

All of which went to the Ledger's 
advantage ! 

Some delusions in circulation departments 
cost the owners dear. One of these is that 
the dealers sell the paper, whereas the public 
buy. Much money has been wasted in sub- 
sidies, free stands and unsalable copies that 
might have gone profitably into better mat- 
ter and swifter deliveries. The excuse for 
this hideous waste of " returns," meaning the 
taking back of papers for which there is no 

149 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

demand, is " representation " a belief that 
the advertiser will feel that the particular 
paper is not " circulated " because it is not 
visible on news-stands long after the selling 
period has passed. If the advertiser is really 
thinking very deeply on the subject it must 
occur to him that a pile of unsold papers in- 
dicates considerable lack of interest in their 
contents! 

With a daily consumption of news print 
aggregating 5000 tons an average return of 
ten per cent, means 500 tons per day of 
waste, or to put it more potently the needless 
sacrifice of the spruce trees on fifty acres of 
land ! Financially it figures $20,000 a day in 
money loss to the press ! 

The successful papers in New York and 
a few other cities are nonreturnable, but the 
evil exists almost universally and is one of 
the greatest pilferers of newspaper earnings. 

The average editor is apt to think that if 

150 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

his paper is not " represented " in this fash- 
ion its circulation is being neglected. The 
real reason for unsold heaps is a poor paper. 
The managing editor of a great New York 
daily, that had successfully cut off returns, 
complained to the manager that he was un- 
able to get the morning edition at Fifty- 
ninth Street and Eighth Avenue. 

" What time was it? " he was asked. 

" About eleven o'clock! " 

" Well," was the reply, " if I ever hear that 
you can buy this paper at that hour we'll get 
a new managing editor! " 

Which epitomizes the point! 

THE COUNTRY PAPER 

AMERICA is the fertile home of the rural 
press. Nowhere in the world can be found 
so many communities provided with one or 
more " local " newspapers, devoted to telling 
the neighbors what is going on about and 
among themselves. There are about 20,000 

151 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

rural weeklies in the United States con- 
ducted with varying degrees of enterprise 
and profit, but all of immeasurable benefit 
in the way of disseminating intelligence and 
keeping their public informed. 

It is a field that should keep at least 
100,000 persons well and comfortably em- 
ployed and afford an annual opening for 
new talent of respectable proportions. The 
editor and owner is usually one of the work- 
men, more or less desultorily employed, often 
a printer who has added a paper to the prod- 
ucts of his shop and content if he can glean 
" journeyman's " wages out of the enter- 
prise. Occasionally he is a politician who has 
felt the call, or a clergyman who has failed 
to preach himself into a prosperous pulpit, 
or a lawyer who has not met expectations at 
the bar. Too often in the past he has been a 
man who failed at other things and turned 
to " editing " as a last resort. This has pro- 

152 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

duced a large mortality in the country press, 
much of it undeserved, if the publisher could 
have had a little training in business or edi- 
torial lines, instead of drifting into the busi- 
ness. But as drifting is the American way 
it has to be put up with. It seems, though, 
that a more correct sense of destination is 
arising through the growing prosperity of 
the country and a greater appreciation of the 
value of the rural press. 

Life in the office of the small weekly means 
a chance to do almost everything that can be 
done; in making a newspaper. If it is done 
well and with diligence, profit must ensue, a 
profit quite comparable with the returns paid 
the lawyer, doctor or other professional man 
of the country town. 

There is no better property to own nor a 
more pleasant life to lead than that which 
should go with editing a country newspaper. 
It is a common jest to speak of the " poor " 

153 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

editor. Editors sometimes lend themselves 
to the idea. No editor in any good American 
town of two thousand inhabitants ought to 
be poor, going by local standards, if he will 
follow these lines and guide his course 
accordingly : 

1. Run his paper entirely as a newspaper. 
Do not meddle in politics of any sort. Do not 
try to improve the community any faster 
than it wants to be improved and do not 
borrow money of your advertisers or any 
so-called " leading citizens." Get it of the 
bank, which is nonpartisan and only wants 
interest in return for the money. 

2. Have no editorials unless they be little 
elaborations of facts. The tendency to blow 
the bugle is almost irresistible if the horn is 
handy. 

3. Get a good correspondent in every 
town, big or little, in your territory and 
print what he writes so long as he does not lie 

154 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

or insult anybody. Do not edit his English, 
even if a little twisted; it hurts his feel- 
ings and makes his meaning obscure to his 
neighbors. This is one of the secrets of 
keeping country correspondents and getting 
good out of them. They are invaluable. 

4. Don't do your work or your advertis- 
ing for nothing. Remember that as a rule 
you have a monopoly of the field. When the 
agent sends ten dollars in cash for fifty 
dollars' worth of advertising, and the pub- 
lisher prints it because he does not know 
when he will see ten dollars again, he makes 
a great mistake. Nobody can make money 
by doing fifty dollars' worth of business for 
ten, dollars, and in accepting the ten the 
publisher establishes a rate that he will never 
be able to increase on the foreign list because 
in making quotations against rivals the fa- 
vored agent is always able to hold the field. 

5. The small community is a sensitive 

155 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

community. The editorial lash cuts it more 
deeply than any blow that can be dealt. Lay 
low and print the news. This does not mean 
that a man need be a coward or a sneak 
because he runs a country paper. It means 
that the community does not require his ad- 
vice or his guidance and that when he tries 
to sell them something they do not want he 
makes a mistake. They do want the news 
and they will always pay for it. 

6. The country " items " are often 
laughed at, but no greater error could be 
made than to belittle their importance. 
They are the life of the paper, and however 
trivial, often give the most pleasure to that 
very valuable " single seal " list of subscrib- 
ers who pay in advance and who, scattered 
all over the world, want all the news from 
"home." 

7. There is " interest " in almost every- 
thing that happens, could you but find it, as 

156 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

you must to be a successful maker of news- 
papers. Above all, be particular to print 
the things about which your constituency 
is already informed by personal contact. 
Nothing is so interesting as to read about an 
event we have seen wholly or in part. The 
reader likes to compare the printed report 
with his own recollection. He wants to 
know if the reporter saw the dog bite the 
boy. 

The simple art of house painting fur- 
nishes many items that are laughed at, but 
often they please the subscriber and interest 
the neighborhood. Births, deaths and mar- 
riages should be carefully collected and 
scandals avoided in a country paper. Little 
headlines help. Most country editors pay 
too little attention to attractive make-up. 
Careful job printing, careful setting of ad- 
vertisements, promptness in getting out 
work, are prime requisites for success. 

157 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

8. Be careful of your collections. When 
people get so they call you by your first 
name it is hard to collect from them. Don't 
let bills run. All pay out and no pay in 
leads to borrowing, and borrowing leads to 
ruin. 

9. In keeping books charge up a fair sum 
for the value of your own services. Don't 
assume that your share of the labor is 
"thrown in" just because you happen to 
own the plant. Charge up the rent to the 
business even if you own the building. Un- 
reckoned overhead has ruined many a 
printer or kept him poor. In this way you 
can establish the true cost of operating and 
maintain proper prices for job work and 
advertising. Keep track of the earning 
power of all the items that enter into the 
working of the shop. Don't run presses " to 
pay the help." Run them to pay the boss. 

10. Don't take a back seat in business 

158 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

affairs. The newspaper is the life-centre of 
the town its throbbing heart. The suc- 
cessful newspaper breeds a successful town. 
It should not place itself in the position of 
begging support. The town needs the news- 
paper more than the newspaper needs the 
town. The vitality of modern life does not 
give time for word of mouth to circulate. 
The newspaper is the spokesman, the stimu- 
lator, the unifier, the only friend of the com- 
munity at large. 

The small city daily has become in most 
instances an extremely profitable enterprise. 
There has been in the first sixteen years of 
the century a great advance in the appear- 
ance and contents of the minor town dailies* 
far more, if the truth be told, than in their 
metropolitan competitors. Indeed, so strong 
a barrier have the " country " dailies formed 
that the dream of a " national " daily can 
only be a dream! The country editor now 

159 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

leaves little to be awaited for beyond opinion 
from his metropolitan brothers. Cities of 
20,000 or even less produce one or two 
papers of undeniable quality. In Ohio, the 
Associated Dailies represent a membership 
of 120, all prosperous and potential in their 
cities, earning from $10,000 to $35,000 a year 
each for their owners in many instances, and 
affording great benefits to their towns. The 
country daily is the best defender the local 
merchant has from the city and mail order 
competitor, if he will but use it as he should. 
Cooperation is at the bottom of the suc- 
cess of the modern small city daily. It en- 
joys a membership in the great Associated 
Press, or can subscribe to the commercially 
managed United, or International, Press 
services. These three give the publisher the 
best of everything, in crisp, and usually well- 
digested form, ready for the compositor. 
Numerous syndicates, either independent, or 

160 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

newspapers selling their by-products, afford 
" features " of interest and a competent sup- 
ply of pictures. The editor does not have to 
be behind the age in anything. This leaves 
him free to garner and winnow local news 
where he is beyond the competition of the 
metropolis. By the same process of locali- 
zation the large paper becomes more and 
more local and has a general appeal only so 
far as events in a big centre have an inter- 
est greater than a similar occurrence in 
Poughkeepsie. There are limits to the size 
at which a paper of large circulation can be 
published and these lead it to discard every- 
thing but the essentials if it is to be success- 
fully produced. This makes it impossible, 
even if early delivery were feasible, which is 
limited by time and distance, to "cover" 
local events in competition with the home 
paper. 
We are becoming more and more " local " 

11 161 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

in everything in America, even though we 
travel more and know more. The " home " 
town is the place we think about and 
" home " affairs engross far beyond those of 
the state or the nation, as was once the case. 
There has been a sharp reverse in this respect 
from the days when Mr. Bennett thought 
it would be a great card to break the 
monopoly enjoyed by three Washington 
papers for printing the debates of Congress 
and offered to do it without a subsidy, in 
which purpose, fortunately for the Herald, 
he was defeated, and so had to keep on print- 
ing things that would interest New Yorkers. 
It is difficult to get any inkling of what in- 
dividual Congressmen are now doing through 
the city press and the Metropolitan papers 
pay little or no attention to the doings at 
the State Capitals unless scandal breeds. 

The country daily has, therefore, a free 
and valuable opening for making up this re- 

162 



THE NEWSPAPER TRADE 

mission. It can look out for its district in 
the halls of legislation for all local values 
and still supply its readers with the news of 
the world at large. 

Circulations of from 5000 to 20,000 are the 
rule. As the cost of production has grown 
with size, it has killed the old four-page, 
cheaply made newspaper, and so reduced the 
number of publications in many towns, to the 
general advantage. These were usually 
papers of opinion. They have been suc- 
ceeded by papers of purpose. Towns of 
25,000 to 40,000 population, with one morn- 
ing and one evening newspaper, are well sup- 
plied and not overloaded. The tax on the 
advertiser and reader is reasonable and the 
profits to the publisher sure. 




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