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WHEN Lord Leverhulme died the newspapers decided that his obituary was worthy of considerable space, and quite rightly, too. Lord Leverhulme was a picturesque personality with many activities and interests outside his business. He had a knack of securing that kind of free publicity which newspapers accord those who do the unusual and unexpected thing. He built the model village of Port Sunlight for his workmen to live in. He presented Stafford House to the nation as a sort of British Carnavalet Museum. He cut the head out of the portrait Augustus Johns painted of him. He was always good newspaper copy. But in a long account, which in some cases ran to a column, no mention was made of one fact about him that would have identified him instantly to the greater number of Americans, especially housewives, and that was the fact that he was the manufacturer of Sunlight, Lux, Lifebuoy, Rinso, and other humble products used in millions of American and British homes. To do so would be contrary to newspaper

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ethics. One can imagine with what virtuous satisfaction the copy reader drew his blue pencil through the forbidden words.

A little later the legal gentlemen in charge of Lord Leverhulme's estate decided to send his collections of books, pictures, and furniture to this country to be broken up, because auction prices were higher here than in London. The collections were brought over, placed on exhibition at the Anderson Galleries, and the newspapers devoted considerable space to descriptions of the hobbies and interests upon which Lord Leverhulme had spent his money. As a result of the publicity given to these sales the Galleries were thronged for weeks before the auctions, and high prices were realized.

This brings up the legitimate query, why must some articles of sale be confined to paid advertisements, and others be given free publicity? Why should Lord Leverhulme's soaps, sold for profit in this country, be omitted from a news story where the context demanded them, while his pictures,

books, and furniture, sold for profit in this country, are given columns of free advertising space? Is it that articles which are advertised in paid space are utterly different in the newspaper mind from those not so advertised? Is it that soaps and sealing waxes come under the head of business, while collections of beds, tables, stools, and candlesticks are classified as art? Or is it merely that it is easy for a copy reader to cross out a name and substitute a harmless generality, but difficult for an editor to determine where legitimate news ends and free advertising begins? As the customs inspector said: 'Frogs is toads, and toads is insects, which pays duty, but cats is poultry, which comes in free.'

Last year the Widows Dodge decided to dispose of their interests in their late husbands' business. Here was a story that lent itself to newspaper exploitation — a business built up in a short time from a small beginning to colossal proportions around so popular a commodity as a low-priced motor car. The newspapers followed the negotiations with liberal space. Few things interest the newspaper-reading public more than vast sums of money. No sooner had the bankers who bought the stock received it than they put it on the market. Not being in their councils, I do not know whether this was part of a predetermined programme, or whether they were wise enough to perceive that the moment was psychological. The stock was absorbed by the investing public so promptly and completely as to draw forth editorial exclamations of surprise. Apparently it occurred to none of the newspapers which commented so naïvely on the popularity of motor securities that it was the advertising they gave so generously to this particular issue which created such a ready and receptive market.

A pathetic incident in advertising history appeared on the front pages of New York newspapers some two years ago. As an indication of its news value, it was boxed. It related how a skywriter, practising his hazardous profession in a Southern city, crashed into a tree while making a landing and was instantly killed. His name was given in full, all the attendant circumstances - every detail but one:

'He was engaged,' said the account, 'in advertising a cigarette.'

The pathos did not lie in the tragic death of the aviator-though that was lamentable enough. But an advertiser hoped to buy a large measure of fame by having the name of his product written in letters of smoke across the blue sky of heaven, and Fate assisted and gave the enterprise the most dramatic ending conceivable, and the dispatches omitted the name of the product the aviator lost his life to advertise. The advertiser got only what he paid for, and not a groat over, and all his enterprise in employing so daring a method did not avail to get his cigarette named in the news story of the skywriter's death.

This was poor reporting, measured by the newspaper's own standards. The name of the cigarette was an essential part of the story. The first question in every reader's mind was, 'What cigarette?' Its omission was eloquent. It testified, 'See how faithfully we live up to our rule not to permit the names of advertised articles in our news stories.' The rule is admirable, but the moral effect is weakened when on other pages of the same newspapers several thousand dollars' worth of advertising is given free to other business enterprises not of that class which is in the habit of paying cash for its space.

The fourth example might be headed

"The Plaza Jewel Robbery.' A pearl necklace and other valuable trinkets were stolen from the suite of the daughter of a five-and-ten-cent entrepreneur while she and her husband were having dinner at a fashionable restaurant. No doubt is left in the reader's mind as to the name of the hotel where the robbery occurred, but the restaurant where they presumably enjoyed such entertainment as to render them for the time oblivious of jewels lying exposed on a dresser is described with the clumsy circumlocution, ‘a wellknown restaurant not far from FortyEighth Street on Park Avenue.' If, however, they had been poisoned at Pierre's, and resuscitated at the Plaza, very likely the reports would have named the restaurant and vaguely described the hotel as one in the Central Park region.

These instances and many others they occur constantly-compel one to wonder if newspaper men are really unaware of the tremendous force they create. Certainly they are not so ignorant downstairs in the business office, where high-powered solicitors are employed to sell advertising space for money. There they rightly believe that the newspaper is the greatest single advertising medium in the world. But they never cite as examples of its power the individuals and enterprises it has enriched for nothing. They respect the editorial reticence, the difficulty of carrying water on both shoulders, of distinguishing between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the largess of free publicity on one hand, the squeamishness over using the name of an advertised article on the other. There is no doubt a distinction, but what is it?

These are things that puzzle the advertising man who must pay real money for the space in which his clients are advertised. They do not

puzzle the publicity agent, who knows, newspapers being what they are, he need never pay for the advertising he secures for his clients.

When the late Job Hedges was appointed police magistrate his friend, ex-Governor Whitman, then District Attorney, attended court the first day to see him perform. Two cases of 'drunk and disorderly,' apparently much the same, were brought before him; one offender was sentenced to ten dollars and costs, and the other discharged.

'What,' asked Whitman, 'was the difference between those two cases?'

"That,' replied the new-fledged magistrate, 'is the working of the judicial mind, which you would not understand if I explained it to you.'


A newspaper is a business conducted for profit. It may have ideals, but so may brickmaking. It has only one product that sells at a profit, and that is space. Actually it sells two products -newspapers to readers, and space to advertisers. Originally the real source of profit for a newspaper was its readers. Advertising was a byproduct. But as advertising increased in volume and the demands upon the newspapers became greater, the time passed long ago when a newspaper could support itself on subscriptions. Today a copy of a newspaper, whether sold for two, three, or five cents, costs more to produce than the sum the reader pays for it. The deficit is made up by advertising, and the profits all come from advertising. This has led to securing circulation primarily for the purpose of selling it to the advertiser, which, of course, has a profound influence on circulation methods, and has induced most newspapers to step outside of their legitimate field

of presenting the world's news according to its relative importance, and to add feature after feature solely for the purpose of securing additional circulation circulation, mind you, which is sold at a loss. Particularly has it led to playing up those aspects of the news in which the public is supposed, rightly or wrongly, to be profoundly interested.

Sex, crime, and sport are featured with pictures, headlines, special articles, interviews, and other devices, until they overshadow the real news, but sell more papers to Mr. Mencken's two largest groups, Boobs and Yokels. When the legitimate news value ends and the event is spotlighted beyond its importance and desert, it becomes exploitation. And exploitation of either enterprise or individual in a position to cash in on publicity furnishes extraordinary instances of the newspaper's generosity with free advertising.

At the moment I write, the columns of the newspapers are still reverberating with echoes of the great prize fight at Philadelphia, a stupendous spectacle from any angle, but especially illuminating as an example of what can be done by liberal advertising. As far as I know, the promoter and chief beneficiary of the fight did not spend one cent for publicity. He was advertised by his loving friends, the newspapers. Nearly 150,000 people paid $2,000,000 for admission, besides additional sums for railroad fares. Some traveled thousands of miles and endured great discomforts to witness from remote seats a spectacle which lasted about half an hour. What made them do it? Interest in the fight accounts for a certain number of them; the rest were sent there by the irresistible influence of the newspaper drives that went on day after day, from the time the arrangements had been concluded until the moment of the

fight, and most of these newspapers have already started on their campaign to make the next meet, a few months or even a few years hence, an even bigger spectacle, and still more profitable to Mr. Rickard and his principals. Every metropolitan newspaper kept on duty at the training quarters of the two combatants a corps of reporters, feature writers, and camera men, which turned in something like a page a day of stuff, some of it forced to the limit in the endeavor to keep alive the interest. This constant and stimulating advertising transformed into fans thousands who would never have gone on the simple announcement that such a fight was to be held. They were sold the fight, as millions of customers have been sold other commodities, by newspaper advertising.

The winner and the loser received $900,000 between them, and Rickard's share was $500,000. The rest went for expenses, but the expenses did not include advertising. They did include a small slice of profit for the Sesquicentennial, whose promoters must have realized wistfully that even a portion of the free advertising poured forth for Tex Rickard would have made their fair a success. In a rather complacent interview with Mr. Rickard after the show, he announced that he had realized the ambition of a lifetime in assembling a greater paid crowd in one spot than had ever been assembled before, and gave some outline of his plans for the next one, but he uttered no expression of gratitude to the newspapers, nor even an acknowledgment. that without them he could not have achieved his ambition.

Let us try to arrive at some conception of what such publicity means in terms of money as advertising men estimate space. There are 2008 daily morning and evening newspapers published in this country, and 548 of

them issue Sunday editions. Say the average space given by each to advertising the Tunney-Dempsey fight was only three pages. (And that is conservative to a degree. The New York Times, which does not often overstep the bounds, ran eleven pages.) Three pages in daily and Sunday newspapers alone would cost at regular rates $1,075,200. This figure takes no account of the weekly newspapers, or of the magazines, all of which did their bit. Two million dollars would not have bought that much and that kind of advertising. Promoting prize fights is Tex Rickard's business. There is no question of public interest involved. It is a private commercial enterprise. It is profitable largely because its most necessary ingredient, advertising, is furnished free. Many manufacturers would like to engage in business on those terms. But no newspaper is aware of its contribution. At least none has said so, though Heywood Broun admits that the fight was overwritten, that too much space was given to the preliminary write-ups, and that in this instance the public, for whose benefit it was all done, got too much of it. The newspapers are debarred from admitting, much less claiming credit for, their yeoman service because of that other ethical pose of theirs toward free advertising. They must observe the letter of their ethics, even though the exigencies of circulation compel them to violate the spirit.

The Philadelphia fight is one example of an organized commercial industry receiving an inexplicable boost from the newspapers, but there are also many instances in which profitable publicity created around a personality has been capitalized after the fact. A gallant young German-American swims the English Channel. Here is a good news story if there ever was one,

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and so each paper in its desire to turn to itself the public interest adds to that public interest and makes Miss Ederle so valuable a property that she must be surrounded and guarded by an attorney, press agent, or what you will, to protect her interests and see that the valuable asset wished upon her by the newspapers is turned into the most profitable channels. And whatever Miss Ederle does with her asset of publicity, whether she grants the use of her name to swimming suits, bathing caps, sport clothes, or beverages; whether she goes into vaudeville or the movies, writes signed articles for the newspapers or the story of her life for the confession magazines, be sure it is not her ability as a long-distance swimmer that these people are buying, but the golden publicity heaped upon her by the newspapers. If poor Floyd Collins, who died in a hole in Kentucky, had been so fortunate as to come out alive, he too would have needed press agent and attorney, even more than a doctor, because he would have found that Kentucky cave a gold mine of nationwide publicity, which could and would be exchanged for large checks in payment for services for which he had no other fitness than that his name was known to millions. Rudolph Valentino was fortunate even in death. His estate benefited by the publicity the newspapers gave his funeral. Every theatre in the country immediately put on a film in which the great sheik was a hero.

The visit to this country of Marie, Queen of Rumania, is the latest topic concerning which the newspapers spare us nothing. Again the newspapers are asking, 'Why all this pother?' The New York World inquires:

Now that Queen Marie is safely aboard the Leviathan, and now that she is duly reconciled with her son; now that we know

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