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For the Newspapermen of the State of Oregon
Letting in the Laity
(By Miriam Page.)
Frank Jenkins, editor of the Eugene Morning Register, is doing the unusual and therefore the interesting thing in his column headed "About Ourselves" appearing on the editorial page of the Register "from time to time as space warrants." In it he makes the most of the opportunity open to all editors to chat informally with his readers about his paper, its aims and ideals and the machinery used in producing it. He has the whole ﬁeld of the daily newspaper from which to choose his subjects and they show a pleasing variety.
Mr. Jenkins began his series of "personal chats" with a discussion of the choice of a newspaper. He advises his readers to give this choice as careful consideration as the choice of a friend. "The newspaper comes to your home each day," he says. "It sits with you at your breakfast table, and talks to you and to your family. It inﬂuences to a measurable extent your own thoughts and opinions, and it inﬂuences perhaps more than you can ever know the thoughts of your children. Whether this inﬂuence is good or evil depends upon the quality and the personality of the newspaper."
Mr. Jenkins takes occasion to score those newspapers whose chief aim is the spreading of propaganda, who "doctor" their news for a deﬁnite effect. To guard against misinterpretation of his statements in this regard he says with the man to man frankness that characterizes the whole series, "This is not a boast, of course, that every news story that appears in the Register is strictly and literally true in every detail. Absolute accuracy in every detail is not humanly possible. Reporters cannot always get every fact at ﬁrst hand, and the versions, even of eye-witnesses, often differ. If you don 't believe this, ask a dozen people to relate to you what a public speaker has said, and see how widely the different accounts will vary.
"The Register has no desire to be a propagandist. It has no axes to grind; its sole desire is to relate the news in such a way that the reader may get at the facts. It believes that the people buy a newspaper in order to find out what is going on, and not in order to have their opinions influenced. When you read a news story in the Register you may be sure that an honest effort has been made to give you the facts as they occurred. Do not get the idea that the Register has no opinions of its own. It has opinions in plenty, but it confines expression of them to the editorial page."
By the use of familiar examples Mr. Jenkins justifies the newspapers' practice of featuring the unusual rather than the usual, healthy, normal events of human life. "Even back-fence gossip," he says, "is concerned with the unusual doings of the neighbors."
The Associated Press forms the subject of another talk in which Mr. Jenkins explains the organized methods of foreign news gathering and dissemination.
In a following number he describes local news gathering, exploding one or two erroneous ideas that have grown up in the public mind. "There is a superstition, more or less current, that anyone who offers news to a reporter, especially personal news, will be looked upon with some contempt as 'seeking publicity.' Nothing could be further from the truth. The business of the reporter is to ﬁnd news, and his best friend is the man who is able to give him accurate, reliable and printable information."
"About Ourselves" is of interest not only to the "laity" but to those of the profession as well who read the answers of a fellow journalist to the questions they themselves are often asked to face. Mr. Jenkins, by explaining the newspaper "game" in these readable little chats, almost entirely free from technical terms and newspaper slang, is clearing up the hazy points for his readers and in many cases is giving them an entirely new and modern conception of journalism.
"We are advertising and explaining and exploiting other businesses in every issue," he says, "why is it not equally important for a newspaper to work directly for a sympathetic and intelligent understanding of its purposes and methods! The Register is one of the large business enterprises of the upper Willamette valley. We want our readers to realize that we have good reasons for doing the things that we do. A newspaper is very easily misunderstood, and is frequently subjected to criticism and suspected of ulterior motives. We think that these little frank talks are useful to the paper and the public alike."
A Home-Made Perforator
The Editorial Association's Position
This letter is printed in Oregon Exchanges not with a view of continuing a controversy, but because it sets forth certain points of Oregon law that are not too clearly understood by the craft in general.
To the Editor of Oregon Exchanges:
In a letter appearing in your December issue Will J. Hayner, editor of the Sutherlin Sun, takes to task the State Editorial association, especially the legislative committees thereof. He criticizes the legislative committee for not repealing laws which exist only in Mr. Hayner's own imagination and criticizes the association for not proposing laws which it has already proposed and some of which have been enacted into law.
Mr. Hayner says that a paper like his cannot get the publication of teachers' notices because the law states that they must be published in the two papers of largest circulation in- the county. There is no such law and I doubt if there ever was such a law.
Mr. Hayner says: "The provision of the law which provides that all the county patronage shall go to the two papers of opposite political affiliations having the largest circulations is unfair." There is no law in this state providing that county patronage shall be given out as Mr. Hayner states. There is a law that says that the tax list and proceedings of the county court shall be published in the papers of largest circulation, but nothing is said of political affiliations.
Mr. Haynor says; "The provision of the law which provides that all other work which should be divided among the various printers of the county, or awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, are all turned over to the papers with the alleged largest circulation." Such may be the case in
Mr. Hayner's county, but there is no law making that condition compulsory. Mr. Hayner says: "* * * Publishers of the county dailies and big town weeklies got together at a meeting from which the small town publishers were excluded and entered into an agreement whereby print paper was to be purchased in carload lots and distributed * * * to those publishers who are in on the deal."
I personally know 'that Mr. Hayner had an opportunity to get in on the carlot paper deal. The only reason he couldn't get the paper was because he couldn't use the size of which the car was made up. It isn't the fault of the editorial association that Mr. Hayner runs a five-column paper. Besides, this paper deal was not handled by the association.
This so-called "deal" was open and above board and all the papers of the state received circulars urging them to get in. My paper did not get in on the deal, but it was not the fault of the association that I had contracted for paper ahead.
The particular article of diet upon which Mr. Hayner's "nanny" seems to dote is the tax list. He says that a law should be proposed giving each paper the publications for the land nearest his town. At ﬁrst that seems a fair proposition, and such a provision was once included in a bill intro duced by the editorial association. It was found so impracticable that it was dropped. The only workable solution of this problem that I have seen is one that I proposed in one of my reports as a member of the legislative committee, which was to have the tax list issued in supplement form, the printing to be let to the lowest bidder, and distributed through one paper in each town having a newspaper.
Some of the oﬁicial papers would oppose this, for it would decrease their receipts, and Where the list is now published in two papers in one town, the paper that would be let out would naturally be expected to oppose losing the business. I am sure Mr. Hayner would oppose having taken away from him any business he now has for the purpose of giving it to some other paper. This suggestion of mine was my own and not that of the association. It would be a rather delicate thing for the association to suggest taking business from one class of papers to give it to another.
In the ﬁrst place, the State Editorial association, so far as I know, has never done anything for the big papers that it has not done for the small papers, except to hold for the big papers business that they already had, while the big papers have paid the expenses of the legislative committee that worked for both the big and little papers.
The law providing for the publication of the school budget is the result of activities of the editorial association.
The law providing that all school district, road district and irrigation district notices must be published in the paper nearest the property, was enacted at the instance of the editorial association.
Outside of these, lawyers may place legals in any paper in the county where the action is had.
A law enacted at the instance of the editorial association says that the legal rate "shall be 65 cents the folio of 250 ems." This is the authority whereby the small paper may charge as much as the big paper. Is this discrimination against the small paper!
The law which defines a legal paper and provides that no paper can publish legals until after having been established a year, is a particular protection to the small town newspaper, for it takes but a handful of type to start a newspaper in a small town, and to be deprived of legals for a year may be serious for competition, but in the big town the paper that can start at all can wait a year for legals.
(Signed) ELBERT BEDE.
New Journalism Books
It is forty-five years since Frederic Hudson, managing director of the New York Herald, published his "Journalism in the United States." The old book, thick and squat in its blue covers, is still to be found in many newspaper offices in Oregon, although libraries are already classifying it as rare. Hudson's work is a great mine of information, not unmixed with misinformation, about the beginnings of the Press in this country, and has served for a generation and a half as the ultimate source from which most newspapermen have drawn such facts and traditions as they have known of the antecedents of their profession.
James Melvin Lee, formerly editor of the humorous weekly "Judge" and now head of the department of journalism in New York university, has just completed several years of research and now publishes the first considerable contribution to knowledge of this field since the devoted labors of Frederic Hudson. Lee's history rather completely covers the same ground as Hudson's and will for all practical purposes replace the former work. It becomes for the time at least the classic work on the history of American journalism.
Professor Lee's services to his profession are not limited, however, to verifying, checking up, rearranging and extending down to the present decade Hudson's mass of interesting but disconnected facts and fancies, anecdotes and characterizations. With the exception of a series of articles on journalism by Will Irwin, published in a national magazine half a dozen years ago, the new history contains the first attempts at a serious study of the workings of the law of cause and effect in the field of journalism. Professor Lee has been conservative throughout his work; in the main he has contented himself, as did Hudson, with setting down the bare facts, but here and there throughout the book he has undertaken to point out the general tendencies of the times of which he is treating, and to analyze the causes of new types of journalism as they appear.
No work can rank as a true history unless it illustrates general principles; unless it makes clear why in the past one course of action has led to success and another to failure-—unless, in a word, while adorning its tale it points a lesson that can be applied to the present.
For history must convey the sense not only of succession but of evolution, and every part of the narrative must flow necessarily from what has already been related, and itself lead inevitably to what follows.
In what degree, then, is Lee's book a true history of American journalism? To a much greater extent than anything else that has been published. Far more than Hudson's. But the task of writing a comprehensive historical interpretation of American journalism still remains not fully completed. Professor Lee, however, besides making an excellent start toward a true history, has accomplished a valuable labor in verifying thousands of facts, and laying the basis for some future writer—perhaps for himself in a subsequent work.
Lee's history is especially strong in its research into the earliest beginnings of various manifestations of journalistic enterprise. It has chapters on the "Beginnings in the Colonies," "The First Dailies," "The Beginnings of the Penny Press" and many pages on the beginnings in the separate states and territories. Oregon journalism, for instance, is covered in a section that gives a full account of the founding of the Spectator and the Free Press at Oregon City in 1846 and 1848, the Daily Advertiser and Daily News at Portland _in 1859, the Oregon City Argus in 1855, the Western Star at Milwaukie in 1850, and the Weekly Oregonian in 1850. This is all that is noticed of the seventy years of journalism in Oregon except for a passing reference to Mr. H. L. Pittock as a leader in Western journalism at a later date.
Professor Lee abundantly deserves all the credit that is due to an able pioneer in a field that he found urgently in need of intelligent study. The writing profession, curiously enough, is the only profession that has no written annals. Lee's "History of American Journalism" is a reference work of serious value, that should be in every newspaperman's library. It is beautifully printed and substantially bound.
A book of unusual interest to newspapermen is "The Country Weekly," by Phil G. Bing, assistant professor of journalism in the University of Minnesota. The author evidently has had experience in the country news
paper field, or has been a careful observer of those men in that line of endeavor, for none other could be so familiar with the problems of the country publisher. Indeed he doesn't minimize the difficulties one is sure to encounter in the business, nor does he predict success unless there is a willingness to put every ounce of effort into the undertaking. But he gives some pointers that will tend to lessen the difficulties and make it easier for the country publisher to give his readers a better newspaper, at the same time enabling him to make his investment a paying one financially.
Too often, unfortunately, the country newspaper has not yielded the income to which the publisher is entitled, and it is to correct this condition that the author recommends the installation of an efficient cost finding system in every office. Publishers of the larger papers have practically all a cost-ﬁnding system, but Mr. Bing demonstrates that it is just as essential to the success of the smaller oﬁices, even the "one-man shop."
He explains the Standard cost ﬁnding system in detail and makes a strong appeal to the country publisher to know his costs. "No paper,"he says, "which is not a prosperous, growing concern is likely to have the editorial prestige and constructive inﬂuence which are the chief ends of any newspaper."
Here, in a nutshell, quoting from the book, is the country editor's problem: "If he does not get out a good, live paper, he has difficulty in building up a circulation; if he has not a good circulation, he cannot get advertising to pay, and if he cannot get the advertising he cannot run a live paper because of the limitations of his income and the attention which must be given to the job oﬂice in the attempt to make it support the publishing business. The whole thing works in a vicious circle."
The first thing, then, is local news. "That is what makes the backbone of the country paper," says the author, and he puts it up to the newspaper man in pretty strong language. Listen to this: "The editor-publisher of a weekly paper should be decently honest. He has contracted with each of his subscribers, at the rate of $1.50 a year (certainly it ought not to be less than that) to furnish the local news. If he fails in the performance of this fundamental duty, no matter what the excellence of his editorials, no matter how entertaining his 'features,' no matter how beneﬁcent his plans _for community betterment, he is a failure in his profession—and, what is worse, he is a fraud. Some people like editorials, some like entertainment, some like helpful and practical hints, but everybody wants local news." Professor Bing more than makes up for these rather harsh words, however, in his suggestions for gathering and writing the news.
Plans are outlined that make it easy to cover the local ﬁeld. The author believes in systematizing every department, news gathering as well as any other, and presents an outline that could be used to advantage in any country office. The experienced newspaperman may complain that more space than seems necessary is devoted to the writing of the news. Not that the suggestions are at fault in any particular—the beginner will be greatly beneﬂtted by reading them——but nearly every country newspaperman has a style all his own, which, though it may not measure up to Mr. Bing's standard, his readers wouldn't have changed for the world. The chapters on newswriting, personals, heads and various other branches are copiously illustrated with clippings from various country weeklies, most of them good, though there is a rather frequent occurence of samples that do not effectively illustrate the points under discussion.
The author lays particular stress on the value of country correspondence and tells how to get and hold correspondents. Farm news is always good reading for a rural community, and suggestions are given which if carried out will make the paper a necessity among the farmers.
Every phase of the country newspaper is handled, including editorial, make-up, headlines, circulation problems, advertising; and all subjects are treated in a thorough, practical manner.
"The Country Weekly" is the next best thing to a university course in country journalism, and every man in the business, whether he is a cub reporter or a man with a lifetime experience, will get some valuable pointers by reading it.
How to Conduct an Interview
This is the first of a series of articles illustrating methods of instruction followed by the University in the training of future journalists. Other phases of newspaper work will be treated in later numbers of Oregon Exchanges, if they prove of interest to the newspapermen of Oregon.
Preparation for an Interview.
1. Find out all you can about your "subject" before you speak to him. Ask somebody. Look him up in Who 's Who or wherever else he may be written up. Get into your mind accurately his exact offices or distinguishing features. Pronounce his name over to yourself several times until it comes to your lips easily and naturally.
2. Find out all you can about the matter on which you are to interview him. It is better to ask someone who knows than to depend upon scrap books or reference books, but where it is practicable, do both. Read a magazine article on the matter where one is obtainable.
3. Where the interview is of a general nature (not about a deﬁnite theme determined beforehand) make a little outline (in about four words) of the different fields in which you think the interview might be productive. Memorize This Outline, and do not end the interview until you have tried all the points you thought of.
First Part of Interview.
Second Phase of the Interview.
You have gotten your hint of the possible story from the ﬁrst part of the interview. But it is only a hint. Your newspaper training will tell you what details you will have to have added before it becomes a readable and complete story. Ask questions cleverly calculated to give you this "feature" complete in all details. Do not forget to ask the all-important question "Why!" at every point. Make sure that you have exactly the "Who?" (including both names and identifications) "What?", "Where?", and When?" But use your "How?" and "Why?" questions most freely, because they will bring out the most interesting sides of the story. This part of the interview ends when you feel that you have the story complete with all the details and dramatic incidents necessary to you as a writer, in order to make the most of it in the telling.
Third Part of Interview.
The third and last part of the interview is a process of veriﬁcation and of going over the ground again to make sure that nothing has been over looked. This (part of the interview is somewhat tedious to your subject, but you will usually be able to hold him to it by the argument: "So long as it is going to be printed you surely want to see that I do not get anything wrong." In this part of the interview use your notes openly, repeating your understanding of the story to your subject, asking "Is that correct!" and entering corrections and additions in your notes. Go over with special care every date and number and the spelling of all proper names. Run over in your mind all possibilities of further information from your subject in other ﬁelds besides the one which has just proved so productive. The last question of all should be the veriﬁcation of the subject 's name and its spelling.
General Warning: It is usually ruinous to take up these different phases of the interview in any other order than that given above. To begin with the tedious and vexatious manner of the third part would put your subject out of humor and very likely spoil your story. To put off the activities listed as "preparation" until after the interview loses you the chance of asking your subject about the interesting things you may learn about him.
To begin with part two before you have given your subject the free range advised in part one will often give you the little story you started out to get instead of the very important different story the subject may mention when he is freely talking. The ﬁrst part of the interview is generally awkward and diﬂicult if you have not preceded it with the work labeled "preparation".
Remember: There are three different attitudes you assume in the three different parts of the interview. You have three different purposes in mind and three different plans of action.Remember, Remember, REMEMBER: Look your subject in the eye all the time, appear interested, BE INTERESTED, and call him frequently BY HIS NAME.
Published by the School of Journalism University of Oregon
Demand Outruns Supply When the school of journalism
Oregon Newspapermen: to others. $1.00 per year
Issued monthly. Application for entry as second class matter made at the post office at Eugene. Oregon.
was established the fear was
that the result might be the training of more young writers than the profession would be able to absorb. The outcome has been just the opposite. Even before the war it was apparent that there was a
place and welcome in the newspaper STAFF THIS ISSUE Editor.................... Adrienne Epping Assistant Editor.......... ..Bob McNary Managing Editor............................ .................... .. Emma Wootton Hall Exchange Editor......Gladys Wilkins Correspondence Editor........................ ................................Rosamund Shaw Circulation Manager....Miriam Page Contributions of articles
and items of
interest to editors. publishers and printers
of the state are welcomed.
oﬁices of Oregon for all the young people on whom the school would set the stamp of its approval—in fact, positions opened readily even for a number of students whom the school could not unreservedly rec ommend. Now comes the war and_ the
school of journalism ﬁnds itself offering this apology to the many editors who hav wired and written for help and who have been dis appointed. We appreciate your in terest and your conﬁdence. We shall be able to recommend a few,
a very few, students in June
A New Hall of Fame It is the purpose of Oregon Ex changes, beginning with this issue, to
print short biographical sketches of the
newspapers in Oregon. This column will be something new and of real value for purposes of reference. It will be these short personal sketches which will make our maga zine worth the keeping and ﬁling for the future. Not very many years will pass before this column will be referred to in connection with the history of journalism in the state or Northwest. Thus we introduce with this num ber our hall of fame for newspaper men of our state, and we shall place in it men of the state who are at tempting to do something toward the advancement of journalism. We shall call it “Leaders of the Oregon'
It is ﬁtting that we should
begin with a sketch of A. E. Voor
Courier of Grants Pass and pres ident of the State Editorial assoc iation.
The others——many of our best boys——are in France. The muster roll of a single company contains the names of nine. ——o
A Journalist ‘.9 History Up to the present time there has been but little written on the hist ory of journalism either in the Northwest or in the United States. Men have gathered together
erial and have written books on the subject, but for some reason none of them seem to give just the type of writing that is most needed. There is a great opening for some
man who can take the history of the newspapers of the Northwest and write a short, snappy chronicle of events which can be used in the schools of journalism on this coast. A book of details is not wanted. What is needed more than anything else is a book giving the important events in the workings of the press, something giving the dates and the
It is exactly the same with the cut rate newspaperman But there would not be any more cut rates if the newspapermen adopted the same cooperative system as the dairymen of this country.
Soldiers in France
Letters have been coming to Oregon Exchanges from all parts of the state expressing appreciation of the work the editors are attempting to do and encouraging us to go on with our little magazine. They all tell us it is read with interest by newspapermen all over the state. We have not made it a policy to print these letters, but here is one from "Somewhere in France" which we print because it shows that even in France we are accomplishing our purpose of telling Oregon newspapermen of other Oregon newspapermen.
Dear Editor Oregon Exchanges:——Kuck (former city editor of the Dallas Observer) and I received my copy of Oregon Exchanges yesterday and, believe me, it was a very welcome messenger from home. It was full to the brim with the "stuff" we wanted to hear.
"He is!", "That so?",——these were the interrogatives Kuck and I threw at each other yesterday. Please don't miss us with any issue.
Speaking for myself, and I believe for most of the fraternity now with the colors, I'm going back to Oregon and the newspaper game. So I want to link up the time I'm away from Oregon with the time I was, and will be again, there. Exchanges helps in that. Through the courtesy of D. H. Smith, circulation manager of the Journal, L company receives ﬁve copies of the Journal daily and I receive two. L company certainly appreciates the letters from home. I enjoyed the letters of the boys far from home.
I read Hazen's article in Exchanges on John F. Carroll with a mist in my eyes. Mr. Carroll was my good friend. At a critical time in my life I took his advice—and it was a man 's sincere wisdom given to a boy in whom he was interested. Mr. Carroll was a real newspaperman; he was clean, courteous, sympathetic, and a hard worker. He was a man of ideals.
This life is a wonderland for us. We ask no more than to be here. We will look back on these days as the greatest in our life.
Best to Dean Allen, Harry Crain and to all who would be glad to receive my message.
(Former city editor of the La Grande Observer.)
A good opening for a telegraph editor has come to the notice of Oregon Exchanges. It is on one of the best state dailies, and offers a salary of $20, with more for an experienced man. A man not subject to draft is desired. A letter in care of Oregon Exchanges will reach the editor. Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/107 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/108 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/109 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/110 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/111 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/112 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/113 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/114 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/115 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/116 Page:Oregon Exchanges.pdf/117