Cover image for E.W. Scripps and the business of newspapers
Title:
E.W. Scripps and the business of newspapers
Author:
Baldasty, Gerald J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xii, 217 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
The struggle for control -- Expansion -- Controlling costs -- Management -- Avoiding competition -- Advertising is the enemy -- An advocate of the working class -- Is it interesting? -- The legacy of E.W. Scripps.
ISBN:
9780252022555

9780252067501
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PN4874.S37 B35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Scripps's innovations included the creation of a telegraphic news service and an illustrated news features syndicate and the application of modern business practices to his chain of more than forty newspapers. His newspapers, aimed at working-class readers, were intended to be advocates for the common people and crusaded for lower streetcar fares, free textbooks for public school children, municipal ownership of utilities, pure food legislation, and many other causes.


Summary

Edward Willis Scripps revolutionized the newspaper industry by applying modern business practices to his chain of more than forty newspapers and creating a telegraphic news service and illustrated news features syndicate. This title presents a portrait of this entrepreneurial giant, drawing on Scripps' business correspondence.


Reviews 8

Booklist Review

Scripps lacked the wealth and renown of the other founders of major U.S. newspaper empires (e.g., William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer). But Baldasty credits Scripps with elevating the business side of operating a newspaper, which has left a lasting impression. Like Hearst and Pulitzer, Scripps adopted the changes in newspaper content and design that were the precursors of modern newspapers, but his focus on long-range planning and performance led to a chain of 40 papers in midsized cities that were relatively independent of advertising revenues. His newspaper chain (the first national chain) included the Cleveland Press. Scripps also founded a telegraphic news service (United Press Association) and a news feature service (Newspaper Enterprise Association). He used the business concepts of low cost, market segmentation, and vertical integration to build his chain. Scripps came from a family of newspaper owners. Baldasty recounts behind-the-scenes family intrigues and conflicts over ownership in this detailed, well-researched book. --Vanessa Bush


Publisher's Weekly Review

"Do not be afraid to be called a skin flint or miser. You can acquire no more valuable reputation," Edward Willis Scripps told the business manager of his San Francisco Daily News. He never tolerated "frills" for his staffers, which in his mind included toilet paper, ice in the summertime and even pencils. But his formula worked. From 1870 to 1908, Scripps built an empire of small, cheaply run newspapers that shared Scripps-based wire copy (an innovation in its time), aimed at a working-class readership and shut down in an instant when their market faltered. The effort was a struggle from the first. Scripps had to force himself on his newspaper-executive brothers to get a shot at the businessÄand then he outdid them at their own game. He fought off efforts by such rival publishers as William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, who had just as much moxie as he did. And he strived to buildÄof all thingsÄnewspapers that were not beholden to advertisers. None of it was easy, and despite the newly available resource of Scripps's business correspondence, it isn't any easier getting a sense of Scripps as a flesh-and-blood print mogul here. Baldasty paints readers a nice profile of his subject at the book's start; later chapters, however, are all thesis and supporting point, with little in the way of punchy anecdote. Still, the E.W. Scripps Co. thrives today, and is currently involved in a real down-and-dirty newspaper war in Colorado. If Baldasty too baldly lays out the nuts-and-bolts business plan that got the company there, Scripps for one would appreciate his economy. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Today, the daily newspaper that most Americans read is owned by a corporate chain. Since World War II, the shift has been from 80 percent independently owned to 80 percent corporately controlled. E.W. Scripps is credited with establishing the first national newspaper chain at the turn of the century, and his business practices transformed the newspaper industry. Baldasty, a professor of communications at the University of Washington and author of The Commercialization of the News (Univ. of Wisconsin, 1992), draws upon Scripps's business correspondence to detail the development of his newspaper chain. Scripps targeted working-class readers and developed a centralized system of distributing news and managing individual papers. This book offers a specialized examination of Scripps's business practices and assumes a basic background in newspaper history. A welcome addition to academic journalism collections.‘Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ., Takoma Park, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Baldasty (Univ. of Washington) details the business practices and editorial philosophy of the man who built the US's largest newspaper chain at the turn of the century. Few scholars have provided extensive treatments of Scripps or the early internal practices of the news company that preceded Scripps-Howard; as Baldasty explains, Scripps shunned publicity and his personal and business papers were closed for examination until the 1990s. The author looks at how Scripps instituted business innovations such as vertical integration of management and market analysis before opening a newspaper, because he believed advertising dependency compromised a newspaper's editorial integrity; he details how Scripps insisted his newspapers represent working-class interests. The author provides an innovative content analysis that corroborates how Scripps's business and editorial practices were transferred into the company's newspapers. Charts and graphs illustrate the extent to which Scripps's publications (in contrast to other newspapers) covered the labor movement and how he cut costs by using Scripps-owned services such as the Newspaper Enterprise Association wire service. The narrative is tightly written with an exemplary notes section. This title fills a gap in the history of newspaper business and demonstrates the value of using quantitative methods and original records in historical research. Highly recommended for journalism history collections at all levels. R. A. Logan; University of Missouri--Columbia


Booklist Review

Scripps lacked the wealth and renown of the other founders of major U.S. newspaper empires (e.g., William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer). But Baldasty credits Scripps with elevating the business side of operating a newspaper, which has left a lasting impression. Like Hearst and Pulitzer, Scripps adopted the changes in newspaper content and design that were the precursors of modern newspapers, but his focus on long-range planning and performance led to a chain of 40 papers in midsized cities that were relatively independent of advertising revenues. His newspaper chain (the first national chain) included the Cleveland Press. Scripps also founded a telegraphic news service (United Press Association) and a news feature service (Newspaper Enterprise Association). He used the business concepts of low cost, market segmentation, and vertical integration to build his chain. Scripps came from a family of newspaper owners. Baldasty recounts behind-the-scenes family intrigues and conflicts over ownership in this detailed, well-researched book. --Vanessa Bush


Publisher's Weekly Review

"Do not be afraid to be called a skin flint or miser. You can acquire no more valuable reputation," Edward Willis Scripps told the business manager of his San Francisco Daily News. He never tolerated "frills" for his staffers, which in his mind included toilet paper, ice in the summertime and even pencils. But his formula worked. From 1870 to 1908, Scripps built an empire of small, cheaply run newspapers that shared Scripps-based wire copy (an innovation in its time), aimed at a working-class readership and shut down in an instant when their market faltered. The effort was a struggle from the first. Scripps had to force himself on his newspaper-executive brothers to get a shot at the businessÄand then he outdid them at their own game. He fought off efforts by such rival publishers as William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, who had just as much moxie as he did. And he strived to buildÄof all thingsÄnewspapers that were not beholden to advertisers. None of it was easy, and despite the newly available resource of Scripps's business correspondence, it isn't any easier getting a sense of Scripps as a flesh-and-blood print mogul here. Baldasty paints readers a nice profile of his subject at the book's start; later chapters, however, are all thesis and supporting point, with little in the way of punchy anecdote. Still, the E.W. Scripps Co. thrives today, and is currently involved in a real down-and-dirty newspaper war in Colorado. If Baldasty too baldly lays out the nuts-and-bolts business plan that got the company there, Scripps for one would appreciate his economy. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Today, the daily newspaper that most Americans read is owned by a corporate chain. Since World War II, the shift has been from 80 percent independently owned to 80 percent corporately controlled. E.W. Scripps is credited with establishing the first national newspaper chain at the turn of the century, and his business practices transformed the newspaper industry. Baldasty, a professor of communications at the University of Washington and author of The Commercialization of the News (Univ. of Wisconsin, 1992), draws upon Scripps's business correspondence to detail the development of his newspaper chain. Scripps targeted working-class readers and developed a centralized system of distributing news and managing individual papers. This book offers a specialized examination of Scripps's business practices and assumes a basic background in newspaper history. A welcome addition to academic journalism collections.‘Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ., Takoma Park, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Baldasty (Univ. of Washington) details the business practices and editorial philosophy of the man who built the US's largest newspaper chain at the turn of the century. Few scholars have provided extensive treatments of Scripps or the early internal practices of the news company that preceded Scripps-Howard; as Baldasty explains, Scripps shunned publicity and his personal and business papers were closed for examination until the 1990s. The author looks at how Scripps instituted business innovations such as vertical integration of management and market analysis before opening a newspaper, because he believed advertising dependency compromised a newspaper's editorial integrity; he details how Scripps insisted his newspapers represent working-class interests. The author provides an innovative content analysis that corroborates how Scripps's business and editorial practices were transferred into the company's newspapers. Charts and graphs illustrate the extent to which Scripps's publications (in contrast to other newspapers) covered the labor movement and how he cut costs by using Scripps-owned services such as the Newspaper Enterprise Association wire service. The narrative is tightly written with an exemplary notes section. This title fills a gap in the history of newspaper business and demonstrates the value of using quantitative methods and original records in historical research. Highly recommended for journalism history collections at all levels. R. A. Logan; University of Missouri--Columbia


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