A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“I need a six month vacation, twice a year” (4/29)
“Friday is my second favorite F word” (4/29)
“Work is for those who don’t know what fishing is!” (4/29)
“If the ocean was whiskey and i was a duck…” (4/29)
“On the internet you can be whoever you want. It’s strange that so many people choose to be stupid” (4/29)
More new entries...

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Entry from March 08, 2011
“If you don’t hit the reader between the eyes in your first sentence, there’s no need to write more”

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Arthur Brisbane
Arthur Brisbane (December 12, 1864 – December 25, 1936) was one of the best known American newspaper editors of the 20th century. Born in Buffalo, N. Y., he was educated in the United States and Europe. In 1882, he began work as a newspaper reporter and editor in New York City, first at the Sun and later Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. Hired away from Pulitzer by William Randolph Hearst, became editor of the New York Journal and Hearst’s close friend. His syndicated editorial column had an estimated daily readership of over 20 million, according to Time magazine. He remained occupied in journalism and the newspaper field until his death in 1936, but also was a successful real estate investor. He is buried in the Batavia Cemetery at Batavia, New York.

At his death, Hearst said, “I know that Arthur Brisbane was the greatest journalist of his day,” and Damon Runyon said “Journalism has lost its all-time No. 1 genius.” (Time: Death of Brisbane)

He was the son of Albert Brisbane. His grandson, Arthur S. Brisbane, was appointed Public Editor of The New York Times in June 2010.

In 1897, he accepted the editorship of the Evening Journal, flagship of the Hearst chain, and through it gained influence unmatched by any editor in the United States. His direct and forceful style influenced the form of American editorial and news writing. The saying, “If you don’t hit the reader between the eyes in your first sentence of your news column, there’s no need to write any more,” is attributed to him.

Google Books
Letters that land orders; or, How to make letters sell goods
By Horace Lytle
Detroit, MI: Business man’s Pub. Co.
1911
Pg. 15:
But wouldn’t your point strike home harder if you “hit him right between the eyes” in the first sentence with something like this:...

Google Books
June 1913, The Rotarian, “Publicity, How to Get It” by J. C. Burton, pg. 56, col. 2:
There is only one way to write a story for a newspaper. Give the facts. Tell your story in the first sentence, unless submitting it to an English editor. Don’t write a sustained “lead” and make the reader wade through three or four paragraphs before he finds out what you want to tell him. Write an interesting story, nota flowery one. Save the polysyllable word in your vocabulary for magazine articles. Be natural in your writing, not bombastic. Hit the reader right between the eyes with the first word if you can.

Google Books
Brisbane; a candid biography
By Oliver Carlson
New York, NY: Stackpole Sons
1937
Pg. 115:
“And never forget that if you don’t hit a newspaper reader between the eyes with your first sentence, there is no need of writing a second one.”

9 June 1957, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, “Toastmaster Sage Gives Tips on Public Speaking” by Gene Handsaker, pg. 32, col. 1:
SANTA ANA, Calif., June 8 (AP)—Hit ‘em between the eyes with your first sentence. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • (0) Comments • Tuesday, March 08, 2011 • Permalink