Re: Reporter style writing versus technical writing

Subject: Re: Reporter style writing versus technical writing
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 11:25:50 -0400

On Mon, 24 Sep 2012 11:07:13 -0400, Rick Lippincott <rjl6955 -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

Building on Peterâs explanation of âblank spots,â thereâs another
reason besides a late-breaking big news story: the number of pages in
a newspaper has been historically determined by the amount of
advertising, not necessarily the amount of news. The ratio of ads to
news copy is something like 60/40 in favor of ads, if I recall
correctly.

Exactly! I do not know the current regulations, but at one time a weekly newspaper, in order to qualify for a "2nd class mailing permit" could exceed 60% ads only twice a year, and the break-even on profitability was usually 50%. So the number of pages was driven by the abilities of the ad sales force. The difficulty was when the car dealer brought in a full-page ad for this week's Wednesday issue on Tuesday afternoon. Can't turn him down. Can't add just one page and leave the other side blank.

Half a page can contain the paper's self-promotional ad, "3400 people read this paper but only 700 are subscribers. Why miss an issue? Subscribe now!" (Subscribers amount to proven circulation, and help sell ads.) Another quarter page can be the (unpaid) public-service ad for the American Cancer Society. A quarter-page will be those three passive-voice press releases from the Piano-Recycling Company, the Church of the Holy Blunder, and Senator Bulgebottom's local office with the picture of him kissing kids at the fair.

In broadcast journalism unused ad spots are taken up with what's called a PSA. A public service announcement. "This message on keeping your home fireproof was brought to you by the National Fire Protection Association and FEMA, in cooperation with this station." If you hear three PSAs in a row, the station is in deep financial yogurt, or at least had two positions open in its ad sales team.

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References:
Reporter style writing versus technical writing: From: Debbie Hemstreet
RE: Reporter style writing versus technical writing: From: Brian.Henderson
Re: Reporter style writing versus technical writing: From: Rick Lippincott

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