‘Always remember, your work is not important. It is merely interesting.’

OKBA scale of basic values for an individual, or for a newspaper, in [O.K.] Bovard’s thinking, started with the concept of man as primarily an economic animal, whose life being was shaped to a great extent by his search for the necessities. But, while food, clothing, and shelter as basic needs of man provided the skeleton of his news philosophy, it was large enough to include such factors as the right to work, the right to know and learn, and medical care for the sick. Until a bed existed in every hospital for every sick and needy person, or until a desk was provided in every schoolroom for every child, Bovard felt that the question of a symphony orchestra for St. Louis should remain relatively unimportant. Thomas B. Sherman, the paper’s music and book critic, might argue that music should be classified as a necessity, but Bovard would not have agreed. This concept of news values explains in part Bovard’s desire to minimize the entertainment features of the paper and his eagerness to replace them with more solid stuff. He told Marguerite Martyn, who wrote about fashions and women’s activities, “Always remember, your work is not important. It is merely interesting.” When men were unemployed and starving, he grew impatient with the “fluff” and trivia that filled great quantities of newspaper space.” – James W. Markham, “Bovard of the Post-Dispatch (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1954) pp. 137-138

Business conditions and changing competition had no terrors for Pulitzer. He believed and proved that editorial success was followed by business success as certainly as the wake follows the ship. Indeed, he once said he neither needed nor had a business manager; all he required in the counting room was a good bookkeeper. – Oliver Kirby Bovard, unpublished letter, Feb. 28, 1931

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One Response to ‘Always remember, your work is not important. It is merely interesting.’

  1. Pingback: ‘Never be satisfied with the surface of the news.’ | Roland Klose

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