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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, December 01, 1916, LAST EDITION, Image 9

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

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-12-01/ed-1/seq-9/

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THE NEWSPAPER BUSINESS
By N. D. Cochran
The influence of advertisers on the
news and editorial policy of newspa
pers is not always directly applied.
There is too much of the direct in
fluence, but the indirect influence is
even more deadly. The daily strug
gle of the great, majority of papers
is to get advertising. Business man
agers, advertising managers and so
licitors are at work every day, not
only trying to secure new advertisers
but also to get those already con
tracted with to increase their space.
Naturally the business office wants
to curry favor with advertisers, and
there is a persistent, never-ending
pressure in the ediorial department
by the business office to 'so shape
the paper's policy as to help secure
advertising. It takes an unusually
strong man as editor to resist this
pressure from the business office.
Few editors get a chance to resist it,
because the publisher wants his
profit and seldom will permit edi
torial and news policy to interfere
with it.
With publishers selling their paper
below cost and depending upon ad
vertising for profit, they are af the
mercy of a, few big advertisers. For
example, the State street stores
could ruin any newspaper in Chicago
by withdrawing their advertising. In
many big cities local advertisers have
an organization just as the State
street stores have. And in union
there is strength which is often
used to make newspapers "be good."
In any matter in which the big ad
vertisers are interested they can have
a powerful influence on just how the
moulders of public opinion do their
moulding.
The News is in position to be the
most independent newspaper in Chi
cago, and the Tribune comes next.
That is because each is the leader in
its field in circulation, and advertis
ers use these papers because they
make money by using them. The
Other papers caq't b g independent,
For advertisers could get along by
dropping any one of them. So the
Herald, Journal, Post, American and
Examiner have to be careful about
offending advertisers. The State
street combine could put any one of
them out of business by withdrawing
State street advertising.
That's what penny papers are do
ing to themselves and to American
journalism. There are editors and
newspaper writers on the other pa
pers who would go just as far as I go
in protecting the public if they dared.
They simply can't do it
But they never appreciated the im
portance .of the adless paper until
the white paper increase emphasized
their dependence upon advertisers. I
think thy begin to see The Day Book
as the pioneer in the new journalism,
and the possibility of The Day Book
surviving the white paper famine,
while many advertising papers will
go to the walL
I don't want to create the impres
sion that newspaper publishers
WANT lo be controlled by their ad
vertisers, for they don't. They fret
under that control They know
they are in a measure slaves. They
don't like it. They want to be free,
yet don't seem to know how to be
free. The courageous ones who have
a firm hold on their readers can be
free.
Cowards will go to the wall which
is all right. This country can stand a
clean-up of its journalism, which has
been made top-heavy by greed. It's
high time new standards were set.
The people begin to understand the
modern newspaper. Its editorial and
fluence has waned as its advertising
volume increased and its cash box
grew heavy with profit. Having lost
editorial influence, it is now in dan-
ger of losing its profit as well. Peo
ple would rather pay 2 cents for a
good egg than 1 cent for a rotten
one. Just as they are agitated now
on pure food for their stomachs they
will become agitated on pure food
for their minds and will demand, un

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