Weekly Kansas Chief
Articles in database from Weekly Kansas Chief: 2
Some of the Kansas patent side newspaper publishers are kicking on the price they have to pay for their ready print paper, and are agitating the question of a co-operative, ready print establishment to supply the Kansas papers. We believe the leader in the movement is the publisher of the Sabetha Republican.
As we have never used patents, we cannot speak from experience. All our typesetting and press work are done in our office, except occasional columns of plate matter when we find anything special that we desire to use.
Ewing Herbert of the Hiawatha World says that the proposed co-operative establishment will not pay, because a large proportion of the small newspaper publishers, to whom it will have to look for patronage, are dead beats, and will not pay for what they get. He printed what he called Kansas Supplements, which he furnished to a number of papers, and says he lost money on them, from the fact that he could not get his pay from many of them.
...It is a fact patent to all that Kansas is very badly overdone in the way of newspapers. Very few counties in Kansas can afford more than two newspapers to make them profitable. In many, one would be sufficient, while in many others one is too many. Yet there is scarcely a county in the state but what has more than one -- a large number of counties have from six to a dozen.
The patent print houses are most largely responsible for this condition of things. A man with the trade not half learned has an ambition to be a publisher. By using ready-printed outsides, he can take a few fonts of second-hand type and a small press and set up in business in some little town. All the business he gets is so much taken from other papers that might be able to sustain themselves. These papers never fail to demand all the local patronage, and keep up a continual squeal about what they are entitled to. They are trying to build up the town, they say, and are spending their money there, and are entitled to the support of the town. Perhaps the citizens spend more than they can legitimately afford, in the way of advertising, and in a few months, when the paper collapses, the publisher is indebted to every one of them,...when he beats them out of.
These papers, in order to eke out an existence, inaugurate a competition which is damaging to all other papers. In order to get in a few dollars, they put the subscription price away down, and take job work at figures that scarcely pay for the white paper used. This creates the impression in the public mind that the other papers are charging too much. The consequence is, they are compelled to cut prices until no profit remains, or lose the patronage. As a result, the business everywhere is rendered unprofitable.
How many papers has Ewing Herbert started in this way,...furnishing a small outfit of worn-out type to parties for running papers, not in his own county, but in neighboring counties?
The last issue of the Sabetha Republican contains a letter from one of these small newspaper publishers, who says there is great need for the proposed co-operative establishment, and he is in favor of it, but just now he cannot let his name be published, from the fact that he owes a ready-print house a considerable sum of money that he is not able to pay.
...Is it any wonder that the newspaper business in Kansas is running to a low ebb, and that publishers are coming to be regarded as "beats?"
Kansas publishers have repeatedly attempted to organize associations for their mutual benefit, especially for the purpose of obtaining living prices for their papers and advertising. Surrounded by such competition, how can they maintain fair prices? Perhaps members of the association, after obtaining all the free bumming they can get on the strength of belonging to the organization, are the first to violate the agreement. In order to obtain a few dollars of ready money, they will dishonor their business and beat their patrons.
These patent side houses have had another damaging effect upon the newspaper business. They have taken away the profits of foreign advertising. They contract with advertising agencies, or with advertisers directly, to insert their advertisements in a large number of weekly papers. The amount for each one is small, but in the aggregate is a big thing for the publishing house. The same type, once set up, answers for all the papers, amounting up into the hundreds. These houses contract to furnish country publishers with patent sides at so much per quire, with the stipulations that they shall have the right to insert a given number of columns of advertising. They not only receive pay for their paper with one side printed, but get the benefit of the advertisements that the publishers ought to have. This has been the means of reducing the quantity and the price of foreign advertising to a very low figure. And yet these ready-print houses are everlastingly proclaiming what a blessing they are to country newspapers! They furnish very good reading matter, it is true, but they suck the life-blood of publishers.
The only remedy we can see is for newspaper publishers to resolve not to use ready prints at all, but to print their papers all at home, even if it is necessary to reduce the size and the amount of reading matter. Or they could buy the plates, and make up their forms at home, which would be a large saving in typesetting. Their white paper might cost slightly more than the patent papers could supply it for, and it would require the additional press work of one side of the paper. But no advertising could be run in, for which somebody else got the pay; and foreign advertisers and advertising agencies would be compelled to make their contracts with the publishers of the newspapers. As it now is, they allow somebody else to make their contracts and take their money. -- Sol Miller.
Without the accompaniment of sounding brass or tinkling cymbal, I come to the good people of Doniphan County to give my best endeavors to furnish them with a newspaper that will reflect credit upon the community, and yield a recompense for my labors. A lone trombone last week attempted to play a funeral dirge, but lost its note even before its first toot.... -- T. J. Schall.