FREE AT LAST!
"/ never heard anyone call it a depression. People went around saying it was
simply hard times."
— recollections of a man who grew up
during the 30s from Studs Terkel's
When we were growing up, people called
it The Great Depression. Depression stories replaced fairy tales as folklore. Both
had the same ending: we would all live
happily ever after.
Those who lived through the 30s,
survivors like our parents, gave a false
sense of security to their children. We
grew up thankful to be born during World
War II and not a decade earlier. The war
came just in the nick of time. It brought
jobs and television. We could now see
how well off we were as a nation. Just as
modern medicine wiped out a virus or
two, we thought we had this depression
thing all but licked.
Of course, we're not in a depression,
Ronald Reagan notwithstanding. But
these tales from the 30s are hitting a
little closer to home.
Enterprises like this newspaper have
always been accustomed to hard times.
Rubberneckers by trade, we've watched a
lot of better-funded publications bite the
dust over the last five years. If we were in
it only for the money, we would have,
too. A 32-page paper with an average of
three pages of ads is a rare bird maybe,
but hardly the goose that lays gilt-edged
But it's an ill wind, et cetera, and one
positive, delightful result of our economic
setbacks has been that we are finally
going to do something that we should
have done a long time ago. Starting with
this issue, Breakthrough will be free at
newsstands and other distribution points.
We've ak/vays advocated free speech, so
here it is.
Instead of passing on our escalating
costs to our subscribers, we decided to
build our advertising revenue. The best
way to do that is to make the paper
as visible as possible. Advertisers always
ask how the paper is distributed. In the
past we've had to say, "Almost exclusively through the mail." This isn't New
York*City with a newsstand on every
corner, you know.
Those outlets that Would carry a
monthly paper were spread around the
city—both expensive and time-consuming
to service. Those who refused to carry it
did so mainly because they thought people would walk off with it. We hardly look
like the Green Sheet or other ad rags
sprouting like weeds around town, but
we were competing for counter space,
For the first few months, we will
circulate the paper in the areas of our
greatest subscription strength-the Mont-
rose-River Oaks, Heights and downtown
areas. As our advertising allows, we will
increase our print run and the areas of
We will continue the mailing service
for paid subscribers with no increase in
rates. In fact, we will continue to send
the paper to those of you who are currently paid subscribers for a year beyond
your expiration date. Any renewals received before November 30 will also
get the one-year bonus.
We have never had the resources to
give our circulation the attention it
deserves—we've always been too busy
trying to put out a quality paper. We
hope that now, with the potential for
a vastly increased circulation, we will
be able to bring you an even better
Pass the word. Breakthrough is free,
free at last.
We warmly welcome Morris Edelson as our
newest editor. (Now we are four). You
have been seeing his byline on many
Breakthrough stories, including three recent cover stories: "Sharon Itaya: Tough
on Toxics "(April ), "Richard Murray:
Wizard of Odds" (July/August) and this
month's series of stories on the economy.
He was on the faculty at the University
of Wisconsin and a Fulbright Scholar
and most recently retired from The New
York Times' Houston bureau. This month,
Dr. Edelson succumbs to his secret vice —
gossip — in his new Local Color column.
Dr. Edelson takes his inspiration from
Addison and Steele, with a nod to Juvenal
and Catullus, and he says, "Local color is
the ticker tape of society, history written
on a paper towel." His busy pencil running
back and forth across the city will reveal
an underlying pattern as intricate and appealing a a brass rubbing.
A welcome to Houston to Zippy who
debuts in this month's comix section (see
facing page). Zippy is a free spirit and
"tends not to stay on the subject," says
his creator, Bill Griffiths (Mother Jones,
Sept/Oct 1980). "He has the technique of
a TV commercial — he does one disconnecting thing after another." •
At the moment, Zippy is running for
President under the slogan, "Am I Elected
Thanks to Jane Collings who introduced us to Zippy. Jane was our Antioch
intern this summer and there was a good
bit of Zip in her, too. We will miss her.
She has to go back to school this fall, but
look for her byline next month on film,
her first love.
And, David Crossley - great photos and
lay out! For a still photographer, he's always in motion. Jane calls him Dashing
David because when he comes into the
production room, copy takes wings.
Things get done. And the staff perks up.
"He appreciates genius," says Jane. "He
laughs at my jokes.
That about zips it up . . .
- Janice Blue and Gabrielle Cosgriff
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