Picture is worth a thousand words
This well-known expression needs no explanation of its meaning but its origin is very interesting. The earliest citation for it is in an address to the Syracuse Advertising Club made by Arthur Brisbane, the editor of the New York Evening Journal, in 1911. Brisbane, who has gone down in history as one of the greatest journalists of all time, advised his audience, “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Thereafter, the expression was widely used whenever the context demanded. American advertising executive Fred R. Barnard wrote the headline ‘One Look is Worth a Thousand Words’ for an advertisement in Printer’s Ink, on 8 December 1921, and is wrongly credited by some sources for coining the expression. Printer’s Ink, launched in 1888, was the first trade journal in the world devoted to advertising. In another advertisement in Printer’s Ink, on 10 March 1927, Barnard used a slightly different headline, ‘One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words’ but this time, it was a accompanied by a spurious story, fabricated by Barnard, that his headline was an ancient, anonymous, Chinese saying. Barnard believed this would give his headline more credibility. People in the know in New York at that time, knew that Arthur Brisbane had come up with the original concept long before Barnard had plagiarised it and perhaps this was why Barnard invented the Chinese story. Brisbane was at the height of his journalistic career at that time but curiously never claimed that he had coined the expression he used in his address to the Syracuse Advertising Club. This has led some sources to believe he may not have coined the expression. However, until more evidence comes to light, Arthur Brisbane remains the strongest candidate for the source. See also Actions speak louder than words.