NEWSPAPERS AND ADVERTISING
The word cartoon originally meant a full-sized working drawing for a painting or tapestry. But in 1841 the English satirical magazine Punch published its own entries for murals in the newly built House of Parliament in London. The magazine’s drawing, which caricatures the genuine entries, were labeled ‘Punch’s Cartoons’, and so the word came to be used first for pictorial jokes about politics and later for any comic drawing.
FLIGHT OF FACT
Reuter’s, now one of the world’s biggest news agencies, began in 1850- with pigeons. German bankers needed a fast service of Paris stock- exchange prices, but the French telegraph system went only to the Belgian capital, Brussels, and the German one only form Berlin to Aachen.
Paul Julius Reuter (1816- 99), a German bank clerk, organized a pigeon- post service to bridge the gap of 160km. (100 miles). His birds beat the fastest mail train, which took up to nine hours, by seven hours. In 1851, using new submarine cable between Dover and Calais, he extended his stock process service to London. He became a British citizen, and soon started supplying news as well as prices. Today, the network he founded flashed changing stock and commodity prices all over the world electronically within minutes or even seconds of the event.
The leading daily newspaper in the Soviet Union, Pravda, has a circulation of about 7 million. It is the official organ of the communist Party, and so has more influence than the Moscow paper Izvestia (news), although Izvestia’s circulation is about a million higher. Pravda is the Russian word for ‘truth’.
THE FIRST ADVERTISING AGENCY
The world’s first advertising agency was founded by a British businessman named William Tayler in London in 1786. The first American agency was established in Philadelphia 55 years later by an Englishman called Volney B. Palmer. One of Palmer’s more eccentric practices was to demand from newspapers a 25 per cent commission for any advertising placed by anyone who was- or had ever been in the past- client. Astonishingly, it seems that he got it.
More than 8000 daily and weekly newspapers are published around the world, about a quarter of them in the United States. But readership levels vary widely in different countries,. According to international statistics published in 1983, the country with the most eager readers was Bulgaria. Some 624 copies of its daily newspapers were sold each day for every 1000 people in the country.
In Britain, the daily figure for sales of newspapers was 410 copies per 1000 people; in Australia, it was 336, and in New Zealand 310. The US figure was 282. The countries with the lowest circulation figures- less than 2 copies per 1000 people- were Benin, Chad, Sudan and Upper Volta.
Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), the Hungarian- born American who established the Pultizer Prizes, originally had a burning ambition to be a soldier. He went to the United States in 1864 only because he had been rejected by the Austrian, French and British armies owing to his poor physique and weak eyesight. In America, however, his skill on horseback gained him a place as a cavalryman in the Union Army towards the end of the civil war. After the war he settled in the USA and became a journalist. By the 1880s he had made a fortune with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the New York World. In his will he left $2 million to Columbia University to set up a school of journalism, and part of the money went to establishing the Pulitzer Prizes. The prizes have been awarded annually since 1917 to outstanding UN journalists, literary writers and musical composers. There are 18 categories, each with a $1000 prize. Pulitzer prize-winners include playwright Tennessee Williams, and Carl Bernstein and Robert Woodward of the Washington Post for their reporting on the Watergate scandal.
BIRTH OF THE BAFFLERSThe first newspaper crossword puzzle was published in 1913, in a Sunday supplement to the New York World. Compiled by an Englishman, Arthur Wynne, it contained 32 clues, which were mainly simple word definitions. Since then, other types of crossword have been developed, among them the cryptic crossword, in which the solution is hidden in an obliquely worded clue. Three of the more baffling clues, whose authorship is unknown, are:
1 Gegs (9, 4).
3 HIJKLMNO (5).
The answers? 1 Scrambled eggs (‘gegs’ is an anagram). 2 Clueless. 3 Water (H to O, H2O).
THE TESTIMONIALS BUSINESS
The practice of playing celebrities to endorse products began in the late 1870s when the actress Lillie Langtry allowed her name to be used in soap advertisements. However, not all celebrities were regular users of the products they endorsed and some never used them at all. Fake testimonials were finally discredited in the 1950s by the film star Grace Kelly, who later became Princess Grace of Monaco. At the time, she was appearing in Lux soap commercials, and the advertisers attributed her delicate complexion to the use of their product. However, when she was asked by a Chicago reporter how any soap could achieve her dewy freshness, she replied briskly: ‘Soap of any kind, Lux or otherwise, never touches my face.’