What’s In a Slogan?

By Brian Brennan

The New York Times has used the well-known slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” for over a century. The motto was coined originally to distinguish the paper from its tabloid competitors, which trafficked in yellow journalism. Today, the Times’s websites have cleverly reworked the popular slogan to “All the News That’s Fit to Click.”

The Times of London has adopted several slogans since it started publishing in 1785. Most have focussed on the editorial content of the paper. Perhaps the best known have been “Are You Missing What’s Important?” and “When The Times Speaks, the World Listens.”

Elsewhere around the world, newspapers proclaim their singularity by likewise emphasizing their editorial content. The Wall Street Journal is “The Daily Diary of the American Dream.” The Mail on Sunday bills itself as “A Newspaper, Not a Snooze Paper.” South Africa’s Cape Times advises readers, “There’s Nothing More Valuable Than Knowledge.” In Toronto, the Star is “Where You Live.”

In the Cariboo country of British Columbia, the tiny Bridge River-Lillooet News announces its presence with a tongue-in-cheek slogan coined in 1934 by its founding editor, Margaret “Ma” Murray: “Guaranteed a chuckle every week and a belly laugh once a month, or your money back.”

In Calgary, for more than five years, the daily Herald used the historically accurate but grammatically incorrect slogan, “Proudly Calgary Since 1883,” to acknowledge the paper’s enduring presence in the city since before it was incorporated as a town. Today, the Herald uses the cumbersome, “Outstanding Calgary and International Corporate Philanthropist 2012-13.” Why? Because in April 2013, the newspaper received an international award commending the paper for its annual Christmas fund-raising campaign in support of Calgary’s social agencies.

While the Herald certainly deserves praise for its charitable work, its decision to use this recognition for masthead branding serves only to distort the real mission of the paper. The Christmas campaign runs for just one month every year. News happens every day.

Copyright © 2013 Brian Brennan