The controlling motive and direct purpose of the average newspaper are financial profit. One is now and then founded, and conducted even at a loss, to serve party, social, religious or other ends, but where the primary intent is unselfish there remains hope for monetary gain.

The first newspapers never dreamed of teaching or influencing men, but were made to collect news and entertainment and deal in them as in any other commodity. But because this was the work of intelligence upon intelligence, and because of conditions inherent in this kind of business, it soon took higher form and service, and came into responsibilities of which, in its origin, it had taken no thought. Wingate's "Views and Interviews on Journalism" gives the opinions of the leading editors and publishers of fifteen years ago upon this point of newspaper motive and work. The first notable utterance was by Mr. Whitelaw Reid, who said the idea and object of the modern daily newspaper are to collect and give news, with the promptest and best elucidation and discussion thereof, that is, the selling of these in the open market; primarily a "merchant of news." Substantially and distinctly the same ideas were given by William Cullen Bryant, Henry Watterson, Samuel Bowles, Charles A. Dana, Henry J. Raymond, Horace White, David G. Croly, Murat Halstead, Frederick Hudson, George William Curtis, E.L. Godkin, Manton Marble, Parke Godwin, George W. Smalley, James Gordon Bennett and Horace Greeley. The book is fat with discussion by these and other eminent newspaper men, as to the motives, methods and ethics of their profession, disclosing high ideals and genuine seeking of good for all the world, but the whole of it at last rests upon primary motives and controlling principles in nowise different or better or worse than those of the Produce Exchange and the dry goods district, of Wall Street and Broadway, so that, taking publications in the lump, it is neither untrue nor ungenerous, nor, when fully considered, is it surprising, to say that the world's doing, fact and fancy are collected, reported, discussed, scandalized, condemned, commended, supported and turned back upon the world as the publisher's merchandise.

The force and reach of this controlling motive elude the reckoning of the closest observation and ripest experience, but as somewhat measuring its strength and pervasiveness hear, and for a moment think, of these facts and figures.

The American Newspaper Directory for 1890, accepted as the standard compiler and analyst of newspaper statistics, gives as the number of regularly issued publications in the United States and territories, 17,760. Then when we know that these have an aggregate circulation for each separate issue - not for each week, or month, or for a year, but for each separate issue of each individual publication, a total of 41,524,000 copies - many of them repeating themselves each day, some each alternate day, some each third day and the remainder each week, month or quarter, and that in a single year they produce 3,481,610,000 copies, knowing, though dimly realizing, this tremendous output, we have some faint impression of the numerical strength of this mighty force which holds close relation to and bears strong influence upon life, thought and work, and which, measured by its units, is as the June leaves on the trees - in its vast aggregate almost inconceivable; a force expansive, aggressive, pervasive; going everywhere; stopping nowhere; ceasing never.

I am to speak to you of "The Business End" of the American newspaper; that is of the work of the publisher's department - not the editor's. At the outset I am confronted with divisions and subdivisions of the subject so many and so far reaching that right regard for time compels the merest generalization; but, as best I can, and as briefly as I can, I shall speak upon the topic under three general divisions:


The personal and material forces which make the newspaper.


The sources of revenue from the joint working of these forces.


The direct office, bearing and influence of these forces.

It is but natural that the general public has limited idea of the personality and mechanism of the publication business, for much of its movement is at night, and there is separation and isolation of departments, as well as complicated relation of the several parts to the whole. Not many years ago a very few men and boys could edit, print and distribute the most important of newspapers, where now hundreds are necessary parts in a tremendous complexity. But even to-day, of the nearly 18,000 publications in the United States, more than 11,000 are of that class which, in all their departments, are operated by from two to four or five persons, and which furnish scant remuneration even for these. Among the thin populations and in the remote regions are thousands of weekly papers - and you may spell the weekly either with a double e or an ea - where there are two men and a boy, one of whom does a little writing and much scissoring, loafing among the corner groceries and worse, begging for subscribers, button-holing for advertisements, and occasionally and indiscriminatingly thrashing or being thrashed by the "esteemed contemporary" or the "outraged citizen;" the second of whom sets the type, reads the proofs, corrects them more or less, makes the rollers, works the old hand press, and curses the editor and the boy impartially; and the third of whom sweeps the office weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, inks the forms and sometimes pis them, carries the papers, and does generally the humble and diversified works of the "printer's devil," while between the three the whole thing periodically goes to the ---- level pretty sure to be reached now and then by papers of this class. Yet there are many of these country papers that Mr. Watterson once styled the "Rural Roosters" which are useful and honored, and which actively employ as editors and publishers men of fair culture and good common sense, with typographical and mechanical assistants who are worthy of their craft.