Front page: Publisher tells all about advertising in The Journal

By Dave Havir

BIG SANDY, Texas--Although some readers consider some of the advertisements in THE JOURNAL to be controversial, Dixon Cartwright, publisher and editor of this newspaper, credits the paper's advertisers with making possible THE JOURNAL's continued publication.

"The advertisers in THE JOURNAL have helped us to keep a low subscription price for our readers," said Mr. Cartwright. "Since our beginning, postage rates have risen four times. Yet we have had only one subscription-price increase during our history of almost seven years.

"I firmly believe THE JOURNAL could not have continued much past its first year without our advertisers."

According to Mr. Cartwright, some advertisers have learned they have a greater opportunity to have their material published as ads rather than as regular articles.

Further, the material can be published in its entirety if they are willing to pay for space in the paper.

Mr. Cartwright described the difference between the editing process for an article in THE JOURNAL and the editing process for an advertisement in CONNECTIONS.

"An article submitted to THE JOURNAL becomes ours, while a paid advertisement stays under the control of the writer," he said.

Following is an interview with Mr. Cartwright to help readers understand the role of advertising in this newspaper and to answer questions contributors may have about submitting advertisements to THE JOURNAL.

Question: In the center of THE JOURNAL is a section called CONNECTIONS. What is CONNECTIONS?

Answer: The full name is CONNECTIONS: MEMBER TO MEMBER. CONNECTIONS, as we call it, is the advertising section of THE JOURNAL. We did not run ads in the paper when we first published in February 1997. CONNECTIONS began a year later, in February 1998.

CONNECTIONS began as a separate section, published by Mark Farmer, a Church of God member from Niles, Mich. In our arrangement with Mark, he sold and billed for the ads, and we in Big Sandy typeset them, laid them out and printed them.

Sometime in 1999, I think it was, Mark sold CONNECTIONS to THE JOURNAL's publishers, who happen to be my wife and me.

Q: Who is involved in managing CONNECTIONS today?

A: Darlene Warren has been our advertising lady for about six years now. Not only does Darlene do a bang-up job of selling ads, she is also a talented writer. As many of our readers know, Darlene writes a monthly column on page 1 of each CONNECTIONS section. I've heard many people say her article is the first thing they read in the newspaper. So the first item those people read is a part of CONNECTIONS.

Q: What is the purpose of CONNECTIONS?

A: One reason we run ads is to broaden the forum that THE JOURNAL provides. Of course another purpose is to provide THE JOURNAL with another source of income. Income from subscriptions by itself will not pay for the production of THE JOURNAL.

Q: What is the journalism standard for the proportion of advertisements in a newspaper like THE JOURNAL? How closely does your newspaper adhere to a standard article-to-ad ratio?

A: Larger newspapers generally try to sell up to 70 percent of their space for advertising, which is also the maximum allowed by the U.S. Postal Service if a paper wants to keep its periodicals-class postage permit.

Seventy percent ads is not practical for a small paper like THE JOURNAL. We usually run between 40 and 55 percent ads. We have reached as high as about 60 percent, although those were 40-page issues, which contained more pages than we usually run.

Q: So, the size of CONNECTIONS can influence the size of THE JOURNAL?

A: Yes. When we have more pages of advertising, we often add more pages to THE JOURNAL. This enables us to use more of the fine articles that may not otherwise be printed because of space limitations.

Q: Do you have a criterion for topics that can appear in ads?

A: Yes. In general, we run ads from Sabbatarian Christians who are not promoting a belief in the invalidity of the Old or New Testament or the invalidity of the law of God or the invalidity of the identity of Jesus as Savior and Messiah.

There can be exceptions to our guidelines, however. For example, we have run ads from an Orthodox Jew who advertised the availability of some small trees that might interest Church of God members of a Hebrew-roots persuasion for use during the Feast of Tabernacles. Even though that ad was not from a Sabbatarian Christian, we decided it would be just fine to advertise the man's products.

Q: Since you ran an advertisement from an Orthodox Jew as long as he promoted his product, would you consider running an advertisement from a non-Sabbatarian who was promoting his product instead of his ideas about the day of worship?

A: Yes. If a Baptist wanted to advertise his motel for the Feast of Tabernacles, I would have no problem running his ad.

Q: Don't most advertisements in newspapers promote a product or service rather than buying space for a letter or article?

A: Yes, but so what? It is not uncommon for newspaper advertisers to buy space for a letter or article. For example, Herbert Armstrong in Reader's Digest advertised his magazine as a product, but in newspapers he bought space for letters, which could be considered short articles.

Q: Although you have declined to run certain advertisements, is it easier to place an article in CONNECTIONS than to have it in THE JOURNAL?

A: Quite a bit easier. THE JOURNAL receives many more articles than we have space available. CONNECTIONS can expand to accommodate interested advertisers because it pays its own way.

Q: Have some people submitted articles to THE JOURNAL that have ended up as advertisements in CONNECTIONS?

A: Yes. Some have submitted doctrinal discourses or other opinion articles that for various reasons we chose not to run as an article in the paper. So the writers decided to place their materials as ads.

Q: What are some reasons that articles are not printed in THE JOURNAL yet appear in CONNECTIONS?

A: Various factors can affect whether an article makes it into print in THE JOURNAL. Maybe the topic has recently been adequately covered. Maybe the article doesn't fit our editorial or technical style. We may decide an article is too long for the available space in a particular issue of THE JOURNAL. Or we may feel that the article is too long for the point the writer is making.

It is natural for a newspaper to freely edit any news story, editorial or essay for length, clarity and technical style. A 5,000-word article that someone submits could end up being, for example, 1,500 words when it's printed.

That's not the case with ads. An advertisement can be as many words as the advertiser wants.

Q: How much editing do you do to a submitted advertisement?

A: Most ads run virtually verbatim, although we look out for misspelled words or typographical errors. We also look for material that does not fit our broad guidelines for advertisements. For example, we do not want to participate in communication that could libel somebody.

In that case we either receive permission from the advertiser to edit out potentially libelous material, or we ask him to do such editing himself--or we simply decline to run the ad.

Q: Newspapers generally sell their advertisements on almost every page throughout their newspaper. Why do you group your paid advertisements into one section of the paper?

A: Part of the reason is simply that we've always done it that way. We had grown accustomed to having the ads in a separate section and we haven't felt a need to change that.

Q: For ads, do you charge by the word?

A: No, except for classified ads. For display ads--a display ad is an ad that is not a classified ad--we charge by space.

A full-page ad with 100 words will cost an advertiser the same as a full-page ad with 7,500 words.

Q: Why are some ads in color?

A: Because some advertisers realize they can make their ads more noticeable by printing them in color. We do have to make an extra charge for ads that are not just black and white.

Q: Why do some ads include drawings and other graphics, yet other ads do not?

A: Well, some advertisers like graphics, and some do not. Advertisers can supply their own artwork, or we can add it. We have a 750,000-image library of digital clip art available at no extra charge to advertisers.

Q: How can a person check on advertising rates in CONNECTIONS and submit an advertisement?

A: Just write Darlene Warren at or 2150 Catalpa Rd., Big Sandy, Texas 75755, U.S.A., or call her at (903) 636-4470.

This issue of The Journal includes many photos and several other graphics, besides the Connections advertising section. Don't forget to subscribe to the print version of The Journal to read all the news and features previewed here.

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