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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, April 13, 1914, NOON EDITION, Image 5

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-04-13/ed-1/seq-5/

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SHOULD WE PROHIBIT BY LAW THE SALE OF
ONE-CENT NEWSPAPERS?
BY N. D. COCHRAN.
In suggesting that Congress pro
hibit one cent newspapers because
selling a newspaper for less than it
costs places it more or less at the
mercy of business, the Seattle Sun
states a part truth, but provides the
wrong remedy.
We have become so accustomed to
regulating everything by a law, that
most people think "there ought to be
a law" to cover every little thing that
appears to be wrong in the universe.
However, the subject is one the
people might well study. As it is, the
press in this, country has become
commercialized. We boast of a free
press, and there is no such thing
outside of The Day Bpok.
There are few great editors be
cause there are few opportunities for
editors to show greatness. Too many
newspapers arc managed from the
business office by the man who takes
in the casli of the advertisers,
The Day Book is the only daily
newspaper in Chicago that makes a
profit on white paper Every other
paper loses money on every issue
printed, so far as the cost and selling
price of white paper is. concerned.
I figured it out one day and esti
mated that the Chicago Daily News
must lose at last $700 axJayion white
paper, although itst net profit alto
gether is said to be not much short of
a million ayear.
What it loses on white paper is
made upfrom advertising receipts.
Of course, the readers pay for this
in the end, even if they do get the
paper for a cent. They pay it to the
merchant who advertises. A large
proportion of the profit on all sales
in the Chicago department: stores
goes to thd newspapers lor advertis
ing. Being in partnership with the big
stores the publishers naturally play
thcir'game in their newspapers.
This is not true of all newspapers.
There are but few papers in the coun
try strong enough to feel under no
obligation to advertisers.
In an advertisement recently the
Chicago Tribune said that sixty mil
lions a year are spent for advertising
in this country. As the bulk of that
goes to newspapers, it can easily be
understood what a powerful influence
those who spend it wield.
Grape-Nuts Post of Battle Creek,
who has made millions by advertising
and getting folks to feed on his
breakfast food and patent-medicine
substitute for coffee, has bullied the
newspapers whenever possible. He
withdrew his advertising from one
group of newspapers because they
are friendly to organized labor.
Repeatedly he has used his adver
tising space in newspapers to assail
labor unions. Post would write edi
torials attacking unionism, and timid
newspapers that didn't want to lose
his business would let him rave in
their columns.
It wasnt long ago that George P.
Bent, manufacturer of Crown pianos,
started a campaign of publicity to get
manufacturers to quit advertising in
the Chicago Tribune, because, as
Bent said m a letter to the Tribune
cancelling his subscription: "Your
unfair and biased acts in printing
news and editorials in the fashion
that you do is most insecure, unjust
and despicable."
In concluding his letter, Bent said:
"I earnestly hope that many others
will do as I am doing, and not longer
continue to support a paper, in any
way, which is guilty of such outrage
ous attacks on men and money as
is yours."
It is a common practice for adver
tising agencies to ask newspapers to
print as "news" matter furnished
them by these agencies; and the so
called news was intended to influence
the public mind to the advantage of
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