Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 15, PAGE 11c-12

Mechanics Of The Bulletin

R. L. (Bob) Craig

By mechanics, I mean its general appearance and make-up. What kind of margin; how much white space; headings; etc. By mechanics I do not mean the smears, the smudges, the lack of ink, we have already discussed. Many of those who are now able to use the offset process instead of stencils, are losing their effectiveness because of poor make -up, arrangement, (mechanics), etc.

Bear in mind that all these bulletin discussions are strictly a matter of opinion, in fact, one man's opinion. But, remember also, that these opinions are based on years of practice and inquiry into what people read and why they read it. The women learned, long ago, that you can take the prettiest one and dress her in a tow-sack and not one will notice her. But, take a homely lass and dress her up a bit, and she becomes the center of attraction. So, your article material may be excellent, top quality, but if people will not read it, you have wasted all your effort. Never become so carried away with your own ego to think that people will read what YOU write, because it's you or because of your good material. The top writer among us can, and has, lost his readers by violating just a few of the basic rudiments. So, let's consider:

Headings Or Titles

Spend a little time on a title. Call it what you will, but a catchy title (if you can think of one) may bait someone into reading an otherwise mediocre article. One of my pet peeves is the series of articles titled by number; "Baptism, No 1;" "Baptism, No. 2;" "Baptism No. 3;" etc. (I hope Yater reads this.) Ask nearly anyone; ask yourself. By about No.3, you just sigh, shrug your shoulders, and pass it by. If you have time, perhaps you will go back later on and read No. 3---perhaps. Robert Turner, in Plain Talk, is a fine example of pithy titles.

White Space

Advertising is a big field and one in which I have spent at least an apprenticeship. One of the first rules of newspaper advertising is---use some white space ---use lots of white space. Advertisers, like writers, are anxious to use all the space available, but, just as surely as you do, you are going to cut off a few more readers. Have quite a lot of space around the title; leave a good margin; skip some space between paragraphs. You don't want to waste all the space, you say? All right, use it, and lose some readers, and your article is wasted anyhow.


Unless an article, in the newspaper, magazines, or your bulletin, is extremely interesting, many more readers are lost when they must hunt up a continuation of an article. For years, when I printed the Guardian, I wanted to run articles straight on through, without any continuations. I am sure that through nothing I said, that is now being done in the G. G. with a few exceptions, and I hope that even the exceptions will be eliminated soon. I get many bulletins with just a line or two continued to another page. Many times these lines are run at the close of another article in such manner that there is little to distinguish between the two, hence, a person cannot find the continuation, so he gives up in disgust and another fine article from your pen is lost. And one of the most unforgiveable continuations I come in contact with, is the fellow who continues BACKWARDS. From page three to page two, etc. This is contrary to every rule of everything I can think of.

Justified Margins

By justified margins, I mean the right end being even like the left end. Like the column this article is running in. It takes some extra time, so, some don't have enough time---some are too lazy. Put me where you want to--- I don't, at this time, justify my right hand margins. But it improves the appearance of any bulletin at least 50%. Recently, the Austin American began running unjustified right hand margins on a lot of articles, especially on the editorial page. If it's handy, get one, and see how ugly and unreadable it has become. With a linotype it is just as easy to justify both margins as it is to not. But with typewritten matter, it does take more time and patience. Of necessity, one must make two copies. The first with irregular margins---the second skipping enough space between words to even or justify the right hand side.

Here's the way I do it: I, of course, set my typewriter marginal stops. When the bell rings, I check to see if I will have enough space for another word or a properly divided syllable. If so, I put in that word or syllable and then xxx out to the margin stop. If I do not have room for the word or syllable I xxx out all the way. On the second copy, the stencil copy, I can, almost at a glance, count the number of spaces I need to make up. It is best to stagger your double-spaced words. Don't do all your double-spacing at the left side or right side. Vary it. Use your extra spaces on the left side one line, the right side next line, and in the middle next line. That way it is hardly noticeable that you have double-spaced at all.

If you are doing this the first time, start early; it may take six copies instead of two. In the long-run, I believe you will agree that it is time well spent.

I have received several extra bulletins since I started this and some have asked for criticism. I appreciate your commendations of my articles and efforts and I certainly hope that interest can be quickened in all of us concerning this phase of our activity. If so, my time has been well spent.

-Box 1294 Crane, Texas