The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, January 27, 1918, SECTION FIVE, Page 8, Image 68

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Trained Writers All Over the Nation Volunteer in America's Publicity Battalion and Render Indispensable Service
It a cr
la W
In the i
I . . . limrix cms! I " JL 3L
J taai tMg
IHa f VT '1 'P"5a I V
rN a crowded little mifrgfnrjf offlcs
hlngton from half-past
morning till far Into the night
Terr often sits an- American author
who before the war had a reputation
for his careful work and painstaking
The conscientious five hundred words
that he wrote In a morning was then
considered by him a satisfactory out
put. Today a mornlnrn work may
easily run to several thousand words,
for he keeps two secretaries busy with
At home all his surroundings had
to be harmonious before he could
write. In Washington his cluttered
little office, a third floor, bark room
In an old residence, looking out onto
an alley fall of cats and cans, la nolsjr
with the din of the typewriter and the
bustle of visitors coming and going.
Mad he been told a year ago that It
would be necessary for him to write
under such conditions the feat would
hare looked Impossible. But today he
glories in his work and la rendering
Indispensable service to one of the
Oovernment department aa a publicity
man. -
There are many soldiers of the
printed word In Washington these
days, both men and women. They were
among the first volunteers to mobilise,
harrying to the capital while the dec
laration of war waa pending, because
they knew that the national crisis
would make Washington a center of
news and affairs, and also because they
foresaw the part that publicity must
play in arousing the American people
to the big Issues of war.
And Washington waa waiting for
One woman writer arrived filled with
the spirit of service, willing to do any
thing, aa she expressed It. even If It
were, onlr'to carry a chair. Within
a week ah was given a chair aa
chairman of on publicity committee
and a worker on two others.
Correspondents, who came to cover
the news for dally papers and maga-
slnee, found themselves lending a hand
with the problems of this department
and that bureau, problems of expla
nation which called for the trained
writer's knack at presenting facta in
Interesting ways, problems of expla
nation beyond the abilities of the staid
technical and scientific workers In
Oovernment service.
Wards. Ts, Aasaaesseata.
The soldier of the printed word was
among the first volunteers, and he will
not demobilise until the war la over,
for every printed word la as much a
part of modern war equipment as air
craft, tanks, heavy icuna or subma
rine. Of all the war measures passed by
Congress during Its Summer session
that providing finances for the air
craft programme went through In
quickest time and with least opposi
tion. There was hardly any debate In
the Senate or House of Representa
tives, and the Nation's sentiment was
solidly behind the measure.
And the aircraft bill was a typical
achievement of the volunteer publicity
man. Realising the urgent need for
molding public opinion those In charge
ef the technical details of the aircraft
programme called upon the soldier of
the printed word, and the Utters
trained news Instinct enabled blm to
put the aircraft story before the Amer
ican people quickly and dramatically.
Accustomed to presenting facta from
the angle of his readers' personal In
terests, he saw that aircraft, besides
the hold they already had upon the
imagination of the public as a result
of the blrdmen's achievements on the
western front, also offered an appar
ently aaay way to win the war. Trust
ing to the experts' judgment In tech
nical matters, the soldiers of the print
ed word laid aircraft before the Amer
ican people from thla standpoint and
col the popular support that the tech
nical laen desperately needed.
They got such overwhelming sup
port that other technical men pleaded
for publicity.
"We can't fight this war entirely
with airplane. " protested the ordnance
men. "Guns are needed, too: big pun
and plenty of them: hundreds of mil'
lion of dollars' worth of heavy artil
lery. bU'.lons of dollars worth.
He's air a Velaateer.
Thereupon the soldier of the printed
word enlisted In the artillery and pub
lic oplnloa was lined up behind this
feramh f the service In a few weeks.
And the same with many other de
tails of the war programme. From the
whirlwind drive that raised f 100.000.000
for the Red Croea In a week to the
comparatively obscure little campaign
of publicity In the engineering Jour
rats which recently raised a regiment
of road, builder, the writer baa been
on the job ready to use the punted
word wherever and however It may be
needed. Back of blm throughout the
country stand the editors and publish
ers, not merely of the great dally
papers, but of the magazines and trade
Journals and religious and farm publi
cations and the humble country weekly
with its patent Insides. I
Muck of the publicity work of this I
wsr la being done en a volunteer basis.
rVore f writer are needed to handle
lh daily explanation problems of taa
Food Administration, the Fuel Admin
istration, the Council of National De
fense, the committee of public Informa
tion, the War. Navy and Treasury De
partments and auxiliary war organlxa
tions like the Red Cross, the T. M. C.
A., the Boys' Working Reserve, the Boy
and Girl Scouts. In somecaes work
ers are paid, but many are volunteers.
drawn from the ranks of authors. Jour
nalists, advertising men and publicity
experts of the country. And day by
day the professional explainer's Job
grows more definite and Important.
Uncle Sam himself had comprehen
slve publicity organizations in peace
times. Thousands of bulletins and
press stories went out from Oovern
ment departments, giving results of
technical Investigation In agriculture,
chemistry, mining and like activities
But much of this Government pub-
Icity has been dryly technical, carefully
phrased by the scientific expert, who
kept In mind first the sanctity of his
own professional standing and after
that the formalities of the official
tatement of fact. Human Interest
news value and succinctness were not
In his line.
War put upon the newspapers and
periodicals of the country an enormous
pressure. Statements, reports and dla-
patches from Washington piled up on
editors' desks to such an extent that
drastic condensation and elimination
were necessary to get them Into the
pare available. This situation not
only set up an Interesting competition
between the volunteer publicity man
and the departmental expert, but put
the best writers In Washington on their
mettle to secure space through their
Journalistic skill. Aa the dally releases
multiplied In number, and the differ
ent departments and bureaus set up
rivalries to see which could secure a
hearing through the Importance of the
stories they had to tell, and the manner
of telling them, the dry official state
ments, characteristic of Oovernment ac
tivities In peace times, were first re
shaped so that they had easy points
of contact with the average reader, and
were then Infused with direct news In
terest, and also sharply condensed.
Among the volunteers on the pub
licity organisations were many sober,
technical workers from the colleges
and schools. As the battalions of the
printed word were licked into shape,
these conservative investigators found
special deska In connection with the
preparation of material for college
nstructors, teachers and technical
workers In their own fields, while pub
licity for the general press was handed
over to trained Journalists and au
It is difficult to realize that hardly
en months ago public sentiment
throughout the United States was
solidly -against participation In the
war, and that our war President had
just been re-elected in recognition of
his ability in keeping us out of hos
tilities. Since then public opinion has
been turned right about face. During
the Summer, through the printed word,
the Nation has been enlisted solidly
behind the big war issues, giving not
only men, money and food, but making
sacrifice and changes In its daily work.
In the big war issues the publicity
worker has done his Job well. But
that Is only a beginning, for skillful
professional explanation is now needed
to smooth out difficulties in many
minor matters, and to solve knotty
little problems that are by-products of
the big war issues.
Talking to the Public.
It is amazing to sit In Washington,
for instance, and see how inarticulate
many of the business Interests of the
country have been, despite the fact
that this is the greatest reading Nation
in the world.
Kor years railroad men have pleaded 1
with the public for understanding and
co-operation. Millions of dollars were
spent to increase the capacity of the
freight car so that it would carry 50
and 60 tons instead of 30, and to
provide locomotives which would haul
longer trains,-and reduce grades,
and develop our transportation sys
tern along lines of larsje scale, low-cost
hauling. Technically, they succeeded
in building a transportation machine
capable of hauling a ton of freight
at a lower cost than' was possible in
any part of the world. Yet, while
the capacity of the freight car In
creased to 60, and 75, and even 100 tons,
the average load carried showed vir
tually no increase at all when the war
began it was less than 15 tons per car.
Then suddenly there came the war
crisis and the new publicity backed
by public co-operative spirit: Within
a few months, through skillful printed
appeals and the movement for heavy
loading with new schedules govern
ing the shipment of small freight, the
big American freight car has been
loaded to something like its actual
capacitv, and many of the railroad
man's problems have been permanently
solved. - The soldier of the printed
word has shown him how to talk to
the public.
For years the hotel .man has found
the public solidly behind him as a
customer for everything costly and ex
travagant. The greater his ingenuity
in devising new forms of luxurious
service, the greater his patronage.
Then, suddenly, almost in a week, the
nuhlic goes in for food conservation
and economy and denounces the hotel
man for his extravagance, while he
hastening to bring his establishment
around on the new tack. His guests
see the waiters carrying out plates of
Dartlv eaten food and write to the news
papers to advertise him as a slacker.
Or. if they find portions reaucea or
the meatless days being observed, they
want to know why he does not reduce
his prices, as well as the portions. In
the midst of his problems, while trying
to meet this new demand lor economy
n the face of difficulties such as rising
costs and scarcity of help, the hotel
mai all at once realizes that Be De-
longs to the Inarticulate classes. He
has never learned how to explain his
business to the public. He is caught
between two crossfires of the war situ
ation, and needs the help of the soldier
And the latter is
1-EATII VALLEY stretched befora
I I him limlfless, . gray, menacing.
-i and shuddering In heat so fluid
and fiery that the horned toads ceased
their frolics to lean panting against
the dwarf cactua Ho was lost, lrre
deemably given to the desert, and he
lunged forward without hope withou
any sensation save a biasing thirst.
It twisted at his throat, and thrust hi
tongue forth in the grimace of
Tinkle! just like that. And, again.
tinkle! tinkle! tinkle!
Surely the bells of water, mountain
born. cold, clear, dropping in music on
chilL wet rock a The little lixards
raced before him as he sprang toward
the sound sprawled and fell into
choking darkness.
It was then that John Doe, venturer,
vagrant and votary of boose. awaVened,
His thirst remained, the desert had
vanished, and reality proclaimed his
habitat as a eel I. Up through air air
shaft and Into the corridor there
drifted the tinkle of breaking glass.
and something more. Its pungency as
sailed him. Sch was the Incense he
had offered before the Jesting "har
ness bull" had haled him to a corner
and called the black wagon.
John Doe groaned. abysmally.
Hunched on his bunk and powerless,
he sat while the sewer drank the
yellow vintage of rye and corn. In
the free somewhere, down below, the
police were smashing many a tidy pint,
many a promising quart, at the edict
of prohibition. The knell they rang
with nightsticks on bottle neck and
flask waa the dole of the good old
days the days that come no more.
"Talk about being gassed on the west
front r gaaped the Statistical Ser
itant. He smote lustily at a quart of
"seven-year-lid." and sent It In crash
ing ruin to the gutter grating.
"Nobody ever told you. I s'pose. that
we're spilling .n crop from the old
homestead?" This to his tolling assist
ant, a patrolman, wno dragged to the
front another trunk from Frisco.
"I've been to some pains to get the
figures, more or less correct, but not
fsr from the mark, take it from me.
When we've finished this morning's
Job a fair part of what the old farm
earned last year will be wandering
down to the Willamette.
- "Huh!" grunted the patrolman.
"It's a fact." bridled the fciatistica!
Sergeant. "I wish I waa paying taxes
on such a farm aa 1 mean. She covers
'most a quarter section, valley land.
all fenced and with modern Improve
ment, ion had a notion that bqos
butted outa the ground somewhere,
like aa oil welL It bulges outa the
ground, all right that's what I mean, i
"Dou you know," aa continued, wav- i
" mi ..I ifi i1 1 i i i i , , I i i f .?, i-i-55rf yi,' H
n) 1MB si mmmmami
PI I'D -' iri.4 Sr-.U -Mf-t .1- "Si'M JLdt,-iTli9iiXiyAiXXt-ir I
1 'Ml & m tm;li
' at mm!MM!mmmr
- Kit M
ures to land, you'd get my drift. . I
d Set.
ng the bottle-scarred night stick, "that It sure do. If you was to set down nil i
i fellow told me It takes three pounds' the li'iuor that has been uruhlixil in I
-of graia to make a quA-t of hooch ? i this city the last year, set 11 down in I
figures, and then translate those fig
ures to land, you'd get my drift." ,
l'erhaps the Statistical Sergeant
knew what he was talking about. His
was the key to the vault where the
kegs and boxes, grips, suitcases, milk
cans and other ingenious miscellany
I of contraband were piled chin high.
He had seen the gutter gurgle with
many a flood when the order for booze
destruction was given.
During the year 1917 it Is conser
vatlvely estimated that 42.000 quarts of
whisky alone., seised by the city, state
and Federal officers, were destroyed.
or are now heldVin-part in the Court
house, City Jail and Federal evidence
rooms. The seizures ranged from jouu
quarts down to the humble half-pint
of the alley bootlegger from the
plethoric shipments of San Francisco
liquor rings to the casual bottle that
some colored porter brought in as a
side investment.
The combined average yield of rye.
corn and wheat for 10 years past, based
on the statistics of the Department of
Agriculture, was approximately IS
bushels per acre, and the average
weight of these grains is 57 pounds to
the bushels. Local chemists say that
approximately three pounds of grain
are required to produce one quart of
Pursuing the Statistical Sergeant's
lead, it becomes apparent that each of
these bushels produced 19 quarts of
whisky, and that the average whisky
yield per acre was 342 quarts. Thus,
if the combined seizures are 42,000
quarts, it bursts upon us that it re
quires a farm of 123 acres, and a trifle
over for pasture, to grow the grain
that trickled shyly into Portland as
booze during 1917.
The old homestead - of which the
Statistical Sergeant spoke, responding
to cultivation and clime, came to the
fore with its specified average yield
! of 18 bushels per acre, producing 2214
bushels as its crop, or approximately
126,198 pounds of grain to trundle to
the shipping point, thence to the dis
tillery, and thence by subterranean
routes to Oregon and seizure.
By the rule of millers, 264 pounds
of wheat are required to produce a
barrel of flour, weighing 196 pounds.
or two sacks, weighing 98 pounds each.
For obvious reasons and to spare fur
ther statistical meandering, wheat is
taken for the Illustrative grain in this
instance, although the general average
will hold good.
The crop of the old homestead thus
becomes converted, had It been spared
from the distillery, to 478 barrels of
flour, or 956 sacks of 98-pound weight.
Dr 93.688 ponnds of fine white flour.
Further translating the hypothetical
:rop it appears that 400 generous one-
pound loaves may be produced by the
baker from every barrel of flour, or
143,400 loaves. At 10 buns to the loaf.
f a far different variety than the
"buns" of the good old days, it would
furnish forth the accompaniment to
,434.000 cups of breakfast coffee.
John Doe. with the tinkle of the last
breaking bottle ringing In his ears,
irose and rattled thu bars to summon
lis jailer.
"Say, bo, gimme a drink' of ftvater."
said the penitent.
of the printed word,
ready to help him.
Professional Explainers.
Knlisted on the Food Administration,
both at Washington and in the Stato
Food Administration organizations, ho
steps in and ihows the hotel man
how to explain matters, wilh state
ments to the press. That food which
the public sees going to waste repre
sents its own carelessness in ordering
more than it could eat. and the criti
cism of menu prices for the reduced
food saving portions is probably un
just, because prices have actually been
reduced without the public realizing it.
or smaller meat portions have been
made up with vegetables Perhaps this
is actually done at a loss, for cost of
raw food is less than 20 per cent of
the cost of hotel service, the chief ex
pense being for cooking and attend
ance. The grocer, the butcher and the
baker have all come under the same
fire of public misunderstanding and
without the aid of the publicity man
would have found it impossible to
make the radical adjustments in their
business demanded by war and food
conservation. Old trade difficulties,
such as duplicate delivery service and
liberal granting of credit, have ham
pered them in working out more effi
cient wartime methods, while they
were trying to reduce their prices on
staple commodities to conform to ov
ernment policies. The public has. al
ways been willing to help by carrying
home some of its purchases and pay
ing cash and patronizing the new fish
or cheese department started by the
outcner or grocer to meet expenses in
the face of decreasing sales on meat,
wheat flour and other foods affected
by conservation. But the public must
understand, and this calls for skillful
explanation, and as the different trades
and industries hava been brought face
to face with their war problems they
have found that they, too, were in the
inarticulate class and that the aid of
the professional explainer was needed.
And the professional explainer has
been right on the job, enlisted already
in the organizations at Washington
which are directing these great busi
ness changes. He has anticipated dif
ficulties and overcome problems by
publicity in both the journal and the
trade press.
Change in Trade Periodicals.
There is no more interesting study
for the journalist than to compare the
grocery, or hotel, or baking trade pe
riodical of one year ago with that of
today. A year ago such publications
were wholly occupied with dry trade
matters, while today half their space
is given up to war Information sent
out from . Washington, showing how to
make new war adjustments and Inter
linking these adjustments with pub
licity in the general press and reflect
ing a fervent patriotism and anxiety
to serve In the trades and Industries
Last Summer, while the war-revenue
measure was being debated in Con
gress, the candy manufacturers sent
representatives to Washington to at
tend to their interests. When they
succeeded in securing equitable taxa
tion in that bill they went back home
satisfied that their chief war problem
had Been met. The grocers, bakers,
butchers and hotel men were an busy
swinging their business methods
around to conform to food-saving
measures, but candy men saw no cloud
on the horizon. The fact that Lnglixli
candy manufacturers had been com
pelled to modify their products on a
basis of 30 per cent sugar, substituting
other ingredients, hardly interested
the American manufacturers in this
line. Then overnight in November the
sugar famine was dumped onto the
candy men's doorstep, with rumors of
railroad embargoes on other ingredi
ents- and the possibilities of candy be
ing eliminated as a luxury during the
war. itt the same time the candy man
found public sentiment arrayed against
him. People lightly sassumed that
candy was a luxury. The young man
who had been in the habit of buying
assorted chocolates for his best girl
saw no hardship in cutting off her
supply as a war measure. Gratuitous
advice poured in on the candy man
through the public press. If he couldn't
get sugar, why not make candy out of
molasses, or maple syrup, or honey, or
fruit and other substitutes?
Oa Duty in Washington.
In this situation the service of the
professional explainer was sorely
needed, and the candy man took steps
to secure it by sending representatives
to work with the Food Administration
and set the public thinking straight
about their products. They explained.
first of alL that they were solidly De-
hind the country, ready to make any
adjustments in their business necessi
tated by wax. If the Goveramen
wanted them, to stop making candy
they would stop. But they also dem
onstrated that candy is a food and
that thousands of tons of it are con
sumed by the Army and Navy. They
corrected popular errors as to possi
bilities in making confectionery from
substitute materials. Maple syrup and
honey make delicious candies, true, but
such products are perishable and not
adapted to long-distance shipment for
National distribution and the thriving
export trade which we have built up
in that line. Chocolate and cocoa are
still plentiful and the candy man is
able not only to use fruit and marma
lades as substitute ingredients in his
goods, but if necessary could probably
divert some of his equipment to the
making of preserves and like stuff.
tConcludode on Page 8.)