This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Writing for the Press.
IN writing for the Press, while being explicit, the writer should make the statement as brief as possible. Though in ordinary conversation talk may be cheap, in the newspaper, words cost money. If sent by telegraph, they cost for transmission; time is consumed in their examination by the editor and proofreader; money is expended in putting them in type; ink and paper must be furnished on which they make their impress; and time is to be occupied by the reader in their perusal; therefore, each word should convey as much significance as possible.
1. If, unavoidably, a long article is written relating to a variety of subjects, it is well to break the sameness of the appearance by sub-heads, scattered through the article, relating to different subjects considered in the composition.
3. Use sheets of paper about six by nine inches in size, numbered in their order if more than one sheet be used. Very large sheets, on the compositor's case, make it inconvenient for the type setter.
4. Write on but one side of the sheet. Thus the paper containing your communication may be, if necessary, cut into parts, and distributed among several compositors who will place your composition in type.
5. As a rule, in short news articles, never use the pronouns I or you. A plain, succinct record of the news is all that is required. If necessary for the writer to refer to himself, it is better to say "Our reporter" or "The writer."
That kind of journalistic writing most easily taken up, and yet quite difficult to do well, is that of presenting in attractive form a judicious report of home news.
Much demand exists for more reportorial talent, especially on the country newspaper. Thousands of exciting incidents and events transpire, the details of which, written up for the press, would greatly edify the readers of the country journal, the editor of which, knowing nothing of the affair, is compelled to fill his paper with foreign news of less interest to his subscribers .
As a general rule, there is not sufficient local matter to be obtained, nor space to be filled, in the weekly country journal, to make it an object for the publisher to employ, at a weekly salary, a person whose exclusive business shall be collecting local news; and yet the editor is desirous of obtaining all the important home intelligence there is, and will willingly pay for such as he may publish, at the rate of from $1 to $5 per column, when an arrangement may be made for the correspondent to write regularly.
Of course no writer should expect compensation until it is clearly shown that his or her writings are of decided service to the paper in which they are published. When they become so, editors and publishers readily concede the fact, and are willing to pay what the articles are worth.