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Session:         Page of 592

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.

Q:

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?

Foner:

Well, I think in addition to the visual, which is very, very important, I think the writing --

Q:

Doing things exciting with color, good paper, not too much copy.

Foner:

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.

Q:

What about the tone with respect to members versus leaders and their presence in the publication?

Foner:

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 no value.”

Q:

What do you think the member thinks when the member sees that kind of a publication?

Foner:

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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