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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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Well, I wouldn't -- I certainly would have to answer “Yes, we are,” to your question; I am trying to do things to increase the readership of it but not by gimmicks. The map was simply one which happened to appear today for the first time I guess ever in the editorial page of the Times. I don't view it as a gimmick at all; I view the map and two more that we're going to print later this week as desirable aids to the subject, to an understanding of the subject that was under discussion. In fact, I don't think these editorials would have meant anything without the maps because they dealt with boundary lines of areas that no one knows the boundaries of, that is, Congressional Districts.

But my answer to your question is that I am trying to increase the readership but in a really different way, not by gimmicks, such as maps, at all. The maps I put in because I think they're useful and I hope to use them more when they're needed, when they're really relevant to the issue. But the method I've tried to use is to spend a great deal of time, thought and attention on subject matter, on sharpness of statement, on clarity, on vigor, on diversity, on what could best be summed up in a word “interest,” and pointed-ness. That is, I'm trying to sharpen, and generally I'm trying to keep relatively short, and to cover wide fields and generally have more punch in them. These things I do, really not in order to stimulate interest, but I do these things -- and this is what I'm spending lots of time and effort on -- because these are the things, I think, that make a good editorial page.

Now, obviously, if I'm right, this will increase readership. And as a matter of fact we have had quite a lot of comment that this is doing it. But the purpose is not just to get more readers. The purpose is to make the page a better page. And I may say this without any reflection, by the way, on anything that's gone on before, or anybody. But naturally

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