All the News That's Fit to Print

On February 10, 1897 -- 113 years ago today -- the New York Times adopted its slogan, "All the News That's Fit to Print". That was after the paper ran a contest for a slogan, and here are the rejections.

And this isn't really a joke, per se -- these are real! Most of them could make you ill.

The four finalists, as announced by the paper:

(You get the idea of how slimy newspapers were in that era?!)

The contest was run by the Times and Adolph Ochs, its new owner, in the fall of 1896. Ochs had actually started to use the slogan "All the News That's Fit to Print" in early October, but invited readers to submit slogans "more expressive of the Times' policy."

It was a publicity stunt, and it worked: thousands of suggestions came in. Ochs had no intention of replacing the slogan he had chosen.

"The Times justified this change of heart by saying no phrase entered in the contest was more apt and expressive than 'All the News That's Fit to Print'," wrote W. Joseph Campbell in his journalism history book, The Year That Defined American Journalism: 1897 and the Clash of Paradigms (which should have been submitted to readers, who probably could have come up with a better title!) "The $100 prize would be awarded, to the person adjudged to have submitted the best entry. But the motto would not be changed."

(Source: Media Myth Alert)

Posted February 10, 2010

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