Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

and it is only through the presentation of facts that the level of intelligence on any subject can be raised. Real lack of funds and the latent criticism of subscribers accounts for the necessity of keeping down the cost of agencies' bulletins, even at the sacrifice of effectiveness. I am in sympathy with the spirit that is offended by any unnecessary extravagance, and my suggestions are therefore tempered by an understanding that ineffective publicity is more often due to lack of money than lack of intelligence. Nevertheless, intelligence and ingenuity will often accomplish a great deal without any large expenditure.

My first plea is for good copy, good writing. I am glad to say that all the agencies seem to have discovered that a satisfactory bulletin cannot be edited by a committee. It is a one-man job. I prefer a small four-page bulletin, crowded with facts and human interest, to a fat, dreary magazine where the editor's chief problem obviously has been to dig up enough material to fill the pages.

Are these bulletins, these house organs, read? is a question that is always asked? I publish a large group of house organs for commercial houses and that is the question that is asked me by my customers. After two or three issues have been sent out most of my customers find it difficult to resist the temptation to inclose a postcard and demand an expression of interest as the price of continued receipt of the publication. Such questionnaires are sometimes flattering; often they are depressing. I do not favor questionnaires about publications any more than I favor questionnaires about salesmen. A business man would not think of asking his customers and prospects to tell him whether he should continue to have his salesmen call. A money raising agency would not think of asking its contributors to indicate whether they wished a solicitor to call. I assume that a house organ contains essential information that contributors should have. It should be sent to them, if the executive committee thinks the procedure is wise, without seeking an expression of interest.

Federation house organs fall into two general groups. One type is published for the information of contributors and volunteer solicitors. The circulation of such house organs ranges from 4,000 to 30,000. The other is an internal house organ, published for the purpose of supplying information to agency workers and directors. Its purpose is to supply a calendar of meetings, to promote morale,

etc.

In the publications of the federations there is a wide range in size, in typography, and in editorial style. In typography the common failing is the use of too small type. Because the publications are small, the assumption seems to have been that the type must be small. My thought is that no type face less than 9 or 10-point should be used, and that there should always be one point of spacing between lines. In other words, ask your printer to set 10-point type on 11-point body, or 11-point on 12-point body. Use the blue pencil generously in editing copy, save words, and make your publication easy to read.

It is needless to say that pictures are universally attractive. In appealing to all except paid workers, use all the cuts you can afford.

I am glad that among my samples are a few examples of mimeographed house organs. I recently discussed the printing of an internal house organ with one of the men in the Cleveland Welfare Federation, and I told him I did not think any house organ could be printed for much less than $30. His contemplated edition for an internal magazine was only 250. I suggested multigraphing, and my advice has been followed, with excellent results. For an internal house organ or a house organ with a circulation limited to 200 or 300 I strongly urge that you investigate the possibilities of the mimeograph.

One of the publications has undertaken to meet the cost of publication through the solicitation of paid advertising. This gives me an opportunity to warn you against setting up false hopes. You can sell paid advertising space yourself, or you can hire professional solicitors to sell space for a commission, but I do not favor such tactics. The space cannot be sold on its merits. The principal appeal is that the purchase of space is going to help out. The business houses that are selling supplies to the agencies can often be persuaded to buy space, and directors of organizations will often insert advertisements, but the buyer regards the purchase as a gift to charity, and when he makes his contribution to the fund he takes this into consideration. Professional solicitors usually take at least 25 per cent of the cost of the space, and even though the solicitation is made by a staff member, the cost of selling is no less, because the staff member must be paid for his time. I therefore urge you to keep away from paid advertising. If necessary, confine your bulletin to the back of a government post card, but avoid the complications of advertising.

To summarize, a house organ is a perfect form of year-round publicity, far superior to the occasional hit-or-miss mailing. One hundred dollars per issue is the approximate minimum for a circulation of 2,500.

VALUE OF THE PLATFORM ADDRESS AND WORTH OF
OPPORTUNITIES WHICH SOCIAL AGENCIES

HAVE FOR USING IT

Martin Bickham, United Charities, Chicago

Since this is the first occasion in the history of this National Conference that social workers have given time to a formal discussion of public address, it seems fitting to open this paper with the ever pertinent question of Goethe: "How shall we learn to sway the minds of men by eloquence? To rule them or persuade?" The poet has voiced a basic question for social work in our day. This same query pressed to the fore in the minds of the committee of this new division in planning its sectional program on educational publicity. I was instructed "to place before the delegates a vivid picture of the real values of public address in the upbuilding of public opinion."

[graphic]

May I start by asking you to think back for a moment over your own relations to social work. How many of you were aroused to your initial interest in social work by listening to a public address delivered by some prominent social worker, like E. T. Devine, Mary Richmond, Jane Addams, Graham Taylor, or scores of others who have greatly blessed their day and generation by sharing their social convictions with others through public address? How many of you have come into deeper understanding and fuller appreciation of social work by this same process? What is true of your experience is, I am sure, true of many thousands of other friends of social work in America. They have been won to this favorable attitude by public address. It seems fair to extend what is so true of so many of us, and of other friends of social work, to that vast number of residents in America who do not understand our social work program, methods, and aims. It is fair to expect that large numbers of these people, some indifferent, some with misunderstandings, some with adverse opinions, some even hostile toward social work, may be won to a friendly interest in, and cooperation with, our constructive plans for social work throughout America by judicious and adequate use of public address.

As social workers we have learned to move forward with more assurance along lines that our own experience has verified. Public address has proved for most of us an impressive interpreter of social work. Yet I am not sure that we are building largely on that firm foundation in our agency programs of publicity. I have an impression that social work is neither fairly understood nor adequately appreciated in many circles in America because social workers have not consistently pushed their constructive message to the attention of the people in public address. Social work has not persistently followed the conviction that there is no substitute for the public address in winning friends for social work. There are forms of publicity that supplement the spoken word, but they do not constitute an adequate substitute for it, either singly or in combination. I am not here to decry any form of productive publicity. I am convinced that in our present complex life in America social work needs to be brought to public attention by every conceivable and legitimate means available to us. It is because my own experience has driven me to a new realization of the value of public address in winning friends for social work that I welcome this opportunity to share that conviction with fellow social workers from over the nation.

For nearly four years it has fallen to my lot to specialize in making public addresses on social work to groups of people throughout the Chicago metropolitan region. On the basis of that experience I want to present for your consideration a working definition of public address. Reduced to its simplest aspects, public address is a form of personal communication between one person who is the speaker and a group of persons who constitute a "public." The length of the speech may be indeterminate, ranging from the informal three or four minute presentation to the formal lecture of an hour or more. The "public" may range in number from the small committee group of two or more to the vast audi

ences of several thousands. This "public" may be totally quiescent or participate by asking questions or entering into discussion. The essential condition is a communication by word of mouth, with accompaniment of gesture, personal magnetism, etc., from speaker to an audience that is for the moment quiescent and paying attention to this message and so constitutes a "public." That this conception runs true to human experience seems verified by its similarity to the experience of the Greeks and Romans, as revealed in the Dialogues of Plato, or the teachings and practices of Aristotle, or the orations of Cicero. That it is adaptable to contemporary social conditions in America will appear more clearly as this discussion proceeds.

But why does social work need to use public address in the sense thus determined? The answer is so obvious that some seem not even to have perceived it. Social work in America in the half-century since this National Conference has been meeting has developed so rapidly as to have run beyond public understanding of its methods and aims. There is a developing sense of this dilemma of social work among us. I take the development of this Division XII, on Educational Publicity, in this National Conference as an evidence of our dawning comprehension of this situation. There is heavy necessity laid upon us of interpreting social work to the American people. Social workers must consolidate the gains already made. The gap between our professional standards and practices in social work and the public comprehension of the necessity for the same needs to be bridged. Social work as a conscious movement in American life is faced with the necessity of building a public opinion favorable to its aims. Otherwise, we build our edifice of social work upon shifting sands. Some of these days it may crumble upon our heads.

To most of us it is a truism that social work advances upon favorable public opinion. Yet it was not until the fiftieth meeting of this National Conference, in Washington in 1923, that public opinion secured a major emphasis in the program. Indeed, it is difficult to find any extended discussion of publicity measures in the Proceedings before that date. I have not found anywhere a clear discussion of the relation of public address to public opinion. It may not be amiss, then, to deal briefly with some of the more obvious relations in this field.

Current discussions of public opinion seem to range around two rather dominant points of view, the monism of McDougall and the pluralism of Lippmann. If social work in America had to choose between the national mass, as postulated by the Harvard professor, and the pluralistic millions, given us by the New York publicist, the task of educational publicity would indeed be most difficult. Fortunately, social realism perceives the actual factors of American social organization despite the opposing theorists. To those basic factors in social organization in America our programs of educational publicity need to be addressed. Public opinion in America is increasingly a by-product of organized group life. These face-to-face primary groups, then, are of vast significance to any realistic pro

[graphic]

gram of social work publicity. Our publicity must address itself to these groups and assume forms calculated to win their attention and good will.

How, then, can social work develop a favorable public opinion among such groups? Social work attracts and holds public attention through its promise of a better life for all depressed persons and its vision of improvements in the contemporary social order. Social work is personal. It cuts deep into the life of the person. It involves familial relations. It affects economic standards. The public attention thus won may be favorable on the part of many by virtue of the implied promise of a better life for themselves or others for whom they are concerned. Some may be won to a favorable attitude by the promise of social changes involving justice for the poor and the "have not's" in general. But these promised adjustments within our contemporary social order may also stir up an inimical public opinion. Some will fear that the proposed changes will imperil their holdings and prerogatives; others will object to social work proposals because they appear to involve institutions or social procedures that seem best to them as they are. These attitudes have appeared clearly in recent discussions of child labor throughout the states. And so, by its very personal nature in dealing with the vital bases of personal life, health, housing, family life, development of personality, etc., social work stirs up the deeps of human life. Social work, by its very nature, demands a personal interpretation. It is my conviction that our programs for winning favorable public opinion for social work must take cognizance of this basic personal nature of the social work movement.

Graham Wallas, in his discussion of thought-organization in The Great Society, has given us a valuable insight that is applicable in this connection. He first makes the point that the newer types of thought-organization based on writing and printing are "impersonal." In contrast, he says:

The older "personal" forms of thought-organization in groups and committees and assemblies still, however, survive among us owing partly to traditional habit and partly to the more permanent fact that our psychological nature was evolved under conditions of personal intercourse and that impersonal intercourse leaves some of our powers unused and, therefore, some needs unsatisfied.

It is apparent that public address, as defined in this paper, is a form of personal intercourse within the meaning of Professor Wallas. Public address avails itself of the conditions under which our psychological natures were developed. This is a fact of tremendous significance for our programs of social work publicity. In shaping our publicity programs for our social work agencies, care needs to be taken to secure a proper balance between "impersonal" and "personal" types of approach to the American public. It seems to me, as I attempt to estimate the current tendencies in our publicity programs in social work, that there exists a very heavy overemphasis upon those forms of publicity that are clearly "impersonal" in nature.

Lippmann has done us a service in his new book, The Phantom Public, by Op. cit., I, 242 ff.

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »