Last night was a production night for my school newspaper. Near the end of the night, we were talking about how we planned on filling the last issue, next week -- we're not going to have any stories from journalism students, and we normally print once every two weeks, so we won't have as long to pull content together. Our adviser reminded us that photos are good for filling space, and I wondered aloud if that might be the original meaning of "A picture is worth a thousand words" -- not that the picture tells the story better, but that it takes up space on a page that then doesn't have to be filled.
I have done some googling, and have so far not been able to determine whether that's true. The phrase does, apparently, come from a newspaper editor -- Arthur Brisbane -- in a talk he gave to other people who work in newspapers. Most of the sources I found didn't give any additional context, and none of them linked to the original work.
I don't intend to give up -- at least, in general. Right now, I have to go do other things. But if anyone knows where I can find a transcription of the talk Arthur Brisbane gave on the topic, or at least a scan of page 18 of the March 28, 1911 issue of the Syracuse Post Standard, I'd really appreciate it.