W.R. Hearst's Editorial Guidelines (1933)

1. Make a paper for the nicest kind of people for the great middle class. Don’t print a lot of dull stuff that people are supposed to like and don’t.

2. Omit things that will offend nice people. Avoid coarseness and a low tone. The most sensational news can be told if told properly.

3. Make your headlines clear and concise statements of interesting acts. They should answer the question: What is the news? Don’t allow copyreaders to write headlines that are too smart or clever to be intelligible.

4. The front page is your forum. Put important items and personal news about well-known people there. Sometimes condense a big story to go on the first page rather than run it longer inside the paper.

5. Nothing is more wearisome than mere words. Have our people tell stories briefly and pointedly. Let people get the facts easily. Don’t make them work at it.

6. Please instruct copyreaders to rewrite long sentences into several short ones. And please try to educate the reporters to write short sentences in the first place.

7. Photographs of interesting events with explanatory diagrams are valuable. Make every picture worth its space.

8. If you cannot show conclusively your own paper’s superiority, you may be sure the public will never discover it.


Source: Red Ink, White Lies: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles Newspapers 1920-1962
http://www.redinkwhitelies.com/book.htm, 18-Jan-2002

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