Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


News releases compiled and distributed by an information service must appear in print if they are to convey the desired information to the public. This study was conducted to determine the influence of illustrative material on the use by South Dakota weekly newspapers of news releases of the Agricultural Extension Service at South Dakota State College. The research was designed to compare, on the basis of usage, releases accompanied by the three most common forms of illustrative material (glossy photographs, mats, and plastic engravings) with the same releases when unaccompanied by illustrative material. According to Lipscome: Pictures in the hometown paper are not necessarily “worth a thousand words”, and they can require considerable time and effort—yet their attention–getting and story-telling values are such that they deserve reasonable consideration as an important part of your newspaper plan. Marlow and Black state, “Whenever possible, if the story warrants it, photographs make stories more appealing”. Yet, in spite of the “attention-getting and story-telling values” of pictures, Bellman and Richardson found that from April 18 through May 9, 1959, the 134 non-competitive weekly newspaper in South Dakota devoted only 1.54 percent of their space to pictures. This is probably not due to a lack of interest in illustrative material, but more likely a lack of facilities, time, and capital to invest in equipment necessary for more extensive picture coverage. The desire for more illustrative material by South Dakota weekly newspaper editors is substantiated in a study conducted by Sudlow. Of 86 editors replying to a questionnaire, 85.7 percent expressed a desire to receive more illustrative material with Agricultural Extension Service news releases. This agrees with the statement by Baus that “… country editors who may disdain mimeographed handouts are relatively eager for food illustrative material.” One hypothesis tested in this study, then, was that an information service should obtain greater use of news releases by including illustrative material with the news release. Another general hypothesis was that including a plastic engraving with a news release would increase usage of that release, since in general it is easier and less expensive for most weekly newspapers to use plastic engravings than other forms of illustrative material. In Sudlow’s study, 61.5 percent of the editors expressed a preference for the plastic engravings while 32.5 percent listed mats and only 5.9 percent listed photographs. Yet, it is considerably more expensive to purchase plastic engravings for mass distribution than to purchase mats or photographs. This study was designed primarily to compare the costs of these three forms of illustrative material, and a story sent without illustrative material, on the basis of cost per insertion, cost per column inch printed, and cost per subscriber. These are the important considerations because, regardless of initial cost, the effort and money are used wisely only when the material reaches the public by appearing in print.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Newspapers -- Illustrations
Agricultural extension work


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University