29 JANUARY 1927, Page 14

Letters to the Editor


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—I should regret it as much as you do if the practice of purchasing newspaper editorial space were introduced into this country and, incidentally, such a practice would quickly reduce circulations. But the League of Nations publicity stands alone. Surely one swallow—and such a swallow !—does not make a summer ? Are we not all (or nearly all) agreed that the need is desperate ? For a unique case, unique measures.

I do not advocate the paid communiqué, as that word is generally understood. In the first place it is, more often than not, unreadable ; and when it is readable, it has a habit of wearing its character on its face.

Your correspondent, Mr. N. E. Roberts, puts admirably

what I have in mind—" a news service which by its acquaint- ance with local problems and League activities can link up many of the Geneva ideals with their application "—in the respective countries. Mr. Roberts would do this from outside the newspaper offices, which would seem to get us back towards the communiqué, though in its best form. I would do it from inside the newspaper office through the medium

of a League news editor, who, in telegraphic communication with the League authorities at Geneva, would be regularly engaged in keeping the League's work before his newspaper's readers. Above all, since the modern newspaper craves news above everything, the League's news editor would be topical. Every day, I am certain, amongst the thousands of news items pouring into a daily paper office are some which, properly presented, could advance the cause of the League. It would be this news editor's business to see that these facts were so presented.

The extraordinary psychological value of actuality of using the news of the actual moment as the basis, or test for, an advertisement for your own particular goods has not yet, I think, been properly grasped by the ordinary advertiser (largely, maybe, because few advertising experts have inside practical experience of a daily newspaper office on its news side). here the League of Nations is at an immense advantage, Its net is so wide, its interests so catholic, that every daily newspaper must receive nightly a very considerable amount of ordinary news items, capable of being made, with proper selection and treatment, real propaganda for the League, while not losing anything of their interest as ordinary news items. With good will, tact, and—newspapers being com- mercial propositions—finance, behind it, I believe the thing could be done.-1 am, Sir, &c.,