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Members would more easily be attracted to it. That's something that's
hard to measure, but by standards of sometimes the competition, you
can't be for -- no, but awards and reactions and some polls indicate
that. For example, Esther's writing class with a coupon gets hundreds
of people to volunteer. The benefit fund put in a coupon about that
camp program, they'll get five or six hundred people fill out the
application, that says so somebody must be reading it.
Well, let's stay with that subject a little bit, then. I don't think you
talked too much about that in the early oral history. In addition to the
readability, the accessibility visually, what are some other things about
a labor publication that you think are important?
Well, I think in addition to the visual, which is very, very
important, I think the writing --
Doing things exciting with color, good paper, not too much copy.
Right. Yes. It has to be written so that workers can read it. It
can't be philosophical. It's got to be simple, direct. Most of our
members traditionally are not readers, so you've got to grab their
attention. Usually when there are stories that affect them, they'll read
it. I think that that's been the experience at 1199 all the time. The
editors we've had have focused on that.
What about the tone with respect to members versus leaders and
their presence in the publication?
When I took over 1199 News, that was when I came to 1199 in
'54, I didn't know how to put up a -- but it's elsewhere in the oral
history. One thing I insisted on, that Davis' picture should appear with
his column and never, unless it's a sensational kind of event, anyplace
else. Jimmy Wechsler and I would always be on the phone. We would
get former National Meritorial Union President Joe Curran's newspaper,
The Pilot, and we would count the number of his pictures, and we
would call each other, and I would say, “I got seventeen.”
He said, “I think you're wrong. I got eighteen.” Some newspapers do
that all the time, and whenever I see that, I say, “This newspaper has
What do you think the member thinks when the member sees that
kind of a publication?
Well, I think the members has to be treated with respect. If he
or she sees that their president is not there every minute, it means
something. It certainly means that the president is not pushing this
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