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the war, to raise money for various philanthropies, to build cathedrals, to endow colleges, to furnish funds to Y. M. and Y. W. C. A.'s, or the Salvation Army, or the Red Cross, has been planned and engineered by a publicity expert. Every line that has appeared in print, except a comparatively small amount of paid advertising, has appeared because of the newspaper's dilemma between its duty not to run advertising as news at the urgent appeal of a publicity expert and its uncertainty as to how much of this matter is real news or for the good of the public. At any rate it is safe to say that to all of these great funds that have been raised for various good purposes in the last few years the newspaper has been the largest actual contributor. Its name does not appear in the list of donors, but anyone who is used to buying newspaper space and paying for it can easily figure out the millions that have been donated to each one of these funds by the press of the United States.


It would seem, then, that newspapers know nothing about advertising, that they are professionally oblivious of it. They throw free advertising about like drunken sailors. They allow columns to be 'wangled' through the wiles of the publicity man. They keep the professional advertising de partment walled up by itself, hedged in by an alleged code of newspaper ethics. When a single product that belongs in the advertising manager's domain leaks through into the news they eliminate it with gusto. When stories of advertising activities get into the news they handle them with a curious unfamiliarity. Apparently they know no more about the tremendous force they produce than the

man who wired your house knows about electricity. If at an advertising convention something kind is said about newspaper advertising they give it space, but an advertising agent is called an 'advertiser,' and a telephone booth which transmits 'want ads' to newspapers is styled an 'advertising agency,' and all advertising is lumped together, without discrimination between the fake advertising of a baldhead cure and the constructive institutional advertising of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Apparently either kind is equally anathema. The advertising man wonders if other departments of human endeavor are as sketchily handled as his own appears to be, and it seems that they sometimes are.

I once wrote about this anomaly to the business manager of perhaps the greatest journal in the country - not because his paper was the most guilty, but because it was the most eminent. He pointed out that Henry W. Taft had made a similar charge about the handling of legal matters, but that it was impracticable for a newspaper to maintain a staff of experts. It must work with reporters and 'gradually build up the level of the news staffs to a point where anyone is a good general-news man, able to cover intelligently any story requiring ordinary information educated persons should possess; and where every reporter or desk man has in addition some special field of knowledge in which he is qualified and up to date. Then a newspaper would arrive at its desired goal, and its news columns would be read with interest by all persons and with respect by the expert.'

And yet an editor could, if he would, find under his own roof pretty fair knowledge of advertising. One New York newspaper maintains a staff of two hundred men to solicit advertising,

but only about half of them are engaged in selling space. The remainder are busy studying advertising, digging up the facts upon which the solicitors depend for their selling story. But they never uncover the fact that the newspaper is constantly making various individuals rich with unearned publicity. It is a pity the city editor does not send one of his bright young men downstairs to interview the advertising manager. Instead the editor despises the business office and resents any attempt to bring pressure to bear on his news columns. The business manager might with greater justice take umbrage at the free gift of the very commodity he is employed to sell.

The object in playing up certain phases of the news is to secure more readers readers making circulation, and circulation increasing advertising profits. When a piece of news breaks that the editor knows is good for this sort of treatment, he takes advantage of all his resources to make his presentation outshine the others and stimulate more sales. When the facts give out, as they often do, then recourse is had to more remote details, and each line of investigation is pushed to its ultimate paragraph.

Since this is done to attract more readers, the advertiser asks what sort of readers. People who read newspapers as 'escape' literature are worth less to him than the legitimate natural circulation. The motive that makes a man buy and read a particular paper is important to him, and since he supplies the profits that make the newspaper possible his view should be considered.

The best newspapers for the advertiser's purpose are those which best perform the function of a newspaper. Circulation secured by giving premiums is less desirable than straight circulation that is, readers who buy

the publication for its own sake. A premium is a gift to induce a man to subscribe. Many of the features used by newspapers to extend their circulation are nothing more or less than premiums. They are inducements outside the legitimate field of presenting the news. Comic strips, 'syndicate," heart-to-heart talks, guessing contests, crossword puzzles, symposiums, articles alleged to have been written by channel swimmers, baseball players, prize fighters, mayors, and other stars of the day's sensational news, are all devices to induce the reader to read that particular paper, and do not strengthen the hold of the paper itself in its real character. A book given to secure a subscription is a premium. Certainly a serial story published in the columns of a newspaper differs only in degree, not in kind. In this category belong all stories of current happenings extended beyond their worth. They are premiums offered that portion of the public which cannot be induced to read the news.

This policy carried to its logical conclusion produces the tabloid. This peculiar apotheosis of the worst in modern journalism not only plays up the sensational news to the last shriek of 70-point Gothic headlines, but omits other kinds of news altogether. It is no more a newspaper than Spicy Stories is a newspaper. It adds a new tinge to the expressive word 'yellow.' And the tabloid, like the chart of a drunkard's stomach, serves the useful purpose of the horrible example, showing the legitimate newspaper where overplaying some phases of the news at the expense of others will lead it.

But neither æsthetics nor morals, good taste nor decency, enters into this discussion. The question is one of expediency. The best newspaper is the best advertising medium. If circulation is extended beyond legitimate

demand, by abnormal, illegitimate expanding of certain phases of the news, or by creating features out of some of those phases, the advertiser is asked to pay for this new circulation at the same rate as for the old. Is it worth it? If featuring some news beyond its news value, sometimes beyond the public's patience, profits the beneficiaries, the regular cash customers of the papers are bound to feel unfairly treated, especially since the names of their products are given short shrift when they happen to turn up in the news. And most of these cash customers are uncomfortably aware that large amounts of free advertising are had for the asking, the asking being an organized industry in its own right. This is the dilemma of the newspaper from the advertiser's point of view: an enterprise which makes no profit on its product, but only on its by-product. The newspapers sell papers at a loss, advertising space at a profit, and give away publicity free.


Newspapers deserve a certain amount of sympathy in their complex problem of paid advertising and free publicity. Many new factors enter into it as a result of our peculiar civilization, so that it is no longer a simple matter to draw the hard and fast line.

One such factor is the devices for duplication, which add enormously to the power of advertising and furnish the machinery for capitalizing it. Two of these devices are the syndicate and the movie, which confer, among other things, the privilege of being in two places at the same time.

The venerable ex-President of Harvard and a popular moving-picture star died the same day. Dr. Eliot received a decent tribute from the newspapers, but Rudolph Valentino's

passing was chronicled with a blazon of headlines and a fullness of detail once reserved for an assassinated President. This publicity had the logical result of stirring the herd mind, and the crowds descended on the funeral in droves. It used to be argued whether advertising created a demand or supplied one. It does both. The voluminous publicity produced a great outpouring of morbid curiosity, and the newspaper accounts of the manifestation of this curiosity added others to the mobs. The newspapers created the interest and then made news of the interest they created. Some of them showed editorial uneasiness at the disparity between the space accorded Dr. Eliot and the orgy of publicity spread out for Valentino. The uneasiness was confirmed by protesting letters from readers asking if this discrepancy was a measure of the respective values of the two men to our civilization, or even a just measure of the popular interest.

Dr. Eliot was the focus of a similar comparison some years ago - that time in comparison with a comic-strip artist. Some paragrapher proclaimed that Dr. Eliot, then President of Harvard, received $15,000 a year, but that Bud Fisher, creator of 'Mutt and Jeff,' received $150,000 a year, and wondered if that meant that Bud was worth ten times as much as Eliot. Among the comments on this was one which said that it meant just that: that Bud Fisher was ten times as valuable, worth ten times as much in our present civilization. What was overlooked was that these two men were not being compared on equal terms, even on a remuneration basis, since Bud Fisher had the advantage of a purely mechanical device denied to President Eliot, a device which multiplied him without effort or desert on his part, enabling him to be in more than one place at

the same time and to earn his salary in each place. His income of $150,000 did not come from any one newspaper, but from a syndicate of newspapers; that is, he was worth $15,000 each to ten newspapers, or, as is probably the case, $1500 each to a hundred newspapers. If there were any arrangement or device or system whereby Dr. Eliot could have been president of ten universities, each paying $15,000, then he too could have earned $150,000 without doing any more work than he did to earn $15,000.

Dr. Eliot lost out in salary against the comic-strip artist and in réclame against the celluloid knight, not because 'Mutt and Jeff' and 'The Son of the Sheik' are greater services to mankind than turning freshmen into useful citizens, but because Dr. Eliot is denied the rubber-stamp publicity machine.

The moving picture is another and more remarkable instance of the effect that simultaneous duplication has on the earnings of certain stars, putting them in a class by themselves with remuneration out of all proportion to that of equally able talents in fields where power of being in two places at one time is denied. The public gasps at the profits of moving-picture stars, and is under the wrong impression that these stars earn those vast amounts of money, when as a fact they merely receive them because the original talent or gift or art or skill is mechanically multiplied.

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Black Pirate' is showing nightly. If it were possible to make only one original film, which then could be presented in but one theatre at a time, traveling from town to town as a theatrical company travels, and it still had at the end of its tour the same popularity, Doug would presumably receive the same money; but it would take ten or twenty years to complete the run and exhaust the earning power of that particular picture, whereas now, since a film can be multiplied indefinitely and shown simultaneously in just as many cities as desire to see it, the income that under normal conditions would cover the entire earning power of a man's life is received in a few months.

This duplication of result, without any increase of the original effort, is not confined to entertainment alone. It has made chain stores possible. Formerly a grocer, druggist, or tobacconist, no matter how successful, found his earnings confined to the capacity and potentiality of one store. Now his methods can be duplicated and applied to any number of stores. The initial experience, buying knowledge, stock arrangement, window dressing, advertising, training of clerks, can be set down, reduced to a system, and applied to other stores, under one management, and thus a single storekeeper receives the profits, not from one store, but from a thousand. To some extent the same phenomenon is being exhibited by the radio. A speaker who formerly could talk only to the capacity of one hall now talks to a nation. He too is able to be in more than one place at the same time, and the corresponding publicity value is infinitely greater. These factors help to make disproportionately profitable every word printed in newspapers about a person or thing able to capitalize such advertising on so vast a scale.

They give new meaning to the word device by groups of men who are no 'publicity.'

Henry Ford owes, not his success, but the size of his success, largely to the newspapers. He has received the largest free advertising campaign of any one business man. He was in a position to realize on it. He is probably shrewd enough, if he had not been presented with his advertising, to have bought it as other manufacturers have done. But, starting early, when the motor car was live news, he occupied a unique position in the new industry, and he has kept that unique position and has always furnished good copy, which, coupled with the newspaper's policy to play up subjects of popular interest, has made it possible for Ford to spend a much smaller amount in advertising in proportion to the size of his business than any other motorcar manufacturer- or, for that matter, any manufacturer of kind any and get practically one hundred per cent out of the free advertising.

It is not suggested that the newspapers could or should have handled such things differently. It is hard to determine what is news and what is not, and if the news makes a few people rich beyond calculation with the priceless gift of free publicity, that does not mean that the newspapers should confine themselves to dull topics. Yet one can think of other fields of endeavor which have equal interest, importance, and economic value to us, which receive scant consideration. One might ask why newspapers should give a page daily to organized baseball, from two to four pages to radio, as much to the motor car, at least a column daily to books and the theatre, and not have a page or two devoted, say, to electric utilities.

The American home is going to be transformed into an electrically motored, labor-saving housekeeping

more selfish in seeking their own profit than fight promoters or movie magnates. Their product is full of interest to us all, concerns our welfare deeply, and will have as far-reaching effect on the way we live as the Dempsey-Tunney slugging match or the Ford tractor. The combined electrical interests are planning to spend seventy million dollars in the next ten years to put electric refrigerators, toasters, coffee percolators, bread mixers, hair curlers, heating pads, sadirons, and vacuum cleaners into American homes, to take the place of and render unnecessary the 'help' that no longer exists. Is it not a subject of importance? Is it not full of human interest? Could it not be featured? True, it would not sell papers, as do the details of Babe Ruth's life, or the fact that Ford pays a week's wages for five days' work. But that is poor consolation for those who live by selling electric utilities instead of baseball or flivvers. Why are not the newspapers moved with one accord to exploit such fields of gainful endeavor on their inherent interest? For one reason, lack of a personality around which to build up their features. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin, Tex Rickard, Edward Bok, Red Grange, Suzanne Lenglen, Babe Ruth, Irving Berlin, Queen Marie, are all good copy. It is incidental, as far as the newspaper is concerned, that using them for copy presents advertising to the gainful industries with which they are associated.

The newspaper believes that men are not born with an interest in electric utilities. Neither are they born with an interest in baseball. The public concern with certain phases of life has been developed by exhaustive treatment in the news columns. That interest was put there by the newspapers, the same powerful force that has sold so many

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