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The E.W. Scripps Company

The E.W. Scripps Company

312 Walnut Street, 28th Floor
2800 Scripps Center
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
U.S.A.
Telephone: (513) 977-3000
Fax: (513) 977-3721
Web site: http://www.scripps.com

Public Company
Incorporated: 1890 as Scripps-McRae League
Employees: 7,800
Sales: $1.87 billion (2003)
Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: SSP
NAIC: 511110 Newspaper Publishers; 511140 Database & Directory Publishers; 515120 Television Broadcasters; 515210 Cable and Other Subscription Programming; 551112 Offices of Other Holding Companies

The E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse U.S. media company with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, national television networks, and interactive media. Scripps operates 21 daily newspapers, 15 broadcast TV stations, four cable and satellite television programming networks, and a television retailing network. Scripps's media businesses provide Internet content and advertising services. Network television brands of Scripps include: Home and Garden Television (HGTV), Food Network, Do It Yourself Network (DIY), and Fine Living. Eighty-five million U.S. households are reached by HGTV; and Food Network reaches 84 million households. Scripps network web sites include FoodNetwork.com, HGTV.com, DIYnetwork.com, and fineliving.com. Network programming from Scripps is available in 86 countries across the globe. Scripps's Shop at Home Network (a television retailing subsidiary) reaches almost 48 million full-time equivalent U.S. households. Five million of these households are reached via Shop At Home affiliated broadcast stations, which are owned by Scripps. The Shop At Home Network markets an expanding range of consumer items to television viewers and to customers on the Internet at shopathometv.com. Scripps operates Scripps Howard News Service and United Media. United Media is a worldwide licensing home and syndicator of newspaper features and comics, including "Peanuts," "Dilbert," and more than 150 other comics and features.

"Penny Press" Origins

The E.W. Scripps Company began life in 1878 as Scripps and Sweeney Co. when 24-year-old Edward Willis Scripps, with his cousin John Sweeney and other family members, founded his first newspaper, the Cleveland Penny Press. Scripps had $10,000 in capital and owned 20 percent of the paper. The rest was owned by his half-brothers George Henry and James Edmund Scrippseach of whom received 30 percent stakes in the companyand other partners.

E.W. Scripps was a populist who thought that most newspapers were geared towards the rich. He wanted his newspaper to keep the poor informed through short, simple stories that could be understood by those without extensive education. He got many of these ideas from James E. Scripps, an English immigrant who started the Detroit Evening News in 1873. E.W. also added his interest in personal stories to the mix, later giving a raise to an editor who published the fact that he had been fined $10 for riding a horse while intoxicated.

At the time the Cleveland Penny Press was founded, most newspapers had a party affiliation. They also sold for more than a penny, and many contemporaries were skeptical that the Press would succeed. E.W. Scripps' formula proved successful, however, and within weeks the Cleveland Penny Press had a circulation of approximately 10,000. It was not a profitable operation, however, until James E. Scripps ordered E.W. to run the paper for $400 a week.

As soon as the Penny Press was making money, E.W. persuaded his brothers to buy the St. Louis Chronicle. He then spent a year in St. Louis managing the paper. E.W. bought a 55 percent interest in the Penny Post part of which was already owned by James E.went to Cincinnati to manage it, and changed the paper's name to the Cincinnati Post. He subsequently began taking on political corruption and winning circulation.

From 1887 to 1889 James E. Scripps was in Europe receiving medical treatment while E.W. managed the Detroit News. Although E.W. expanded advertising and circulation, James E. was angry with the changes his brother made; upon his return, James E. removed E.W. from every position he could. In 1890 E.W. started his own paper, the Kentucky Post, in Covington, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

Also in 1890 E.W. Scripps entered into a partnership with his business manager, Milton McRae; the two called their newspaper company the Scripps-McRae League. McRae handled day-to-day management of the papers and received one-third of the profits, while Scripps set editorial guidelines and long-term policy. In 1890, with his business running smoothly, Scripps began building a ranch outside of San Diego, California.

In 1894 George Scripps joined Scripps-McRae. This gave the group a controlling interest in the Cleveland Press. Later in the 1890s the group started the Akron Press and Kansas City World. As his chain expanded, E.W. Scripps chose young, growing towns to start new newspapers. He invested as little in machinery or plants as possible, usually buying old presses and renting run-down buildings. He would then hire young ambitious editors who were given a minority stake in their paper; many of them became rich if their newspapers succeeded. With E.W. Scripps spending most of his time in California, McRae often exceeded his authority and put editorial pressure on newspaper editors. Scripps would periodically venture out of California, discover what McRae was doing, and reverse it.

Scripps next began a series of West Coast newspapers unassociated with the Scripps-McRae League group. They included papers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, Berkeley, and Oakland, California, as well as Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, Washington. In 1900 George Scripps died, leaving his stock to E.W. James E. Scripps contested the will, however, and James E. and E.W. settled out of court. E.W. was forced to give all of his stock in the Detroit newspapers to James E., who in return gave E.W. all of his stock in newspapers outside Detroit.

In 1902 Scripps started the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), a service for exchanging and distributing illustrations, cartoons, editorials, and articles on such specialized subjects as sports and fashion. Newspapers in the Scripps chain paid a monthly fee and received information and illustrations none of them could have afforded individually. Although the NEA was originally only for Scripps papers, demand for its services was so great that it soon became available to any newspaper.

In 1906 Scripps entered another period of expansion, buying or starting papers in Denver and Pueblo, Colorado; Evansville and Terre Haute, Indiana; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; and Oklahoma.

Wire Service in the Early 1900s

In 1907 Scripps combined the NEA, the Scripps McRae Press Association, and Publishers Press into the United Press Association wire service in order to provide 12,000 words of copy a day by telegraph to 369 subscribers in the United States. A similar service, the Associated Press (AP), already existed and was far larger and better financed. Scripps viewed AP as monopolistic and too close to the establishment and deliberately set out to oppose it. AP was also geared toward morning newspapers, while most of Scripps's were evening newspapers. Scripps therefore had each of his papers send out stories from their area during the day and combined them with information gathered at offices set up in important news producing cities such as Washington, D.C., and other world capitals.

In 1908 E.W. Scripps retired from active management, appointing his son James G. Scripps chairman of the board. During World War I, E.W. was a passionate advocate of U.S. intervention on the side of the Allies and moved to Washington, D.C., to push his cause. Shortly thereafter, a family crisis erupted, during which Scripps's son James detached the five West Coast newspapers and the Dallas Dispatch from the chain. In 1918 United Press caused a storm of controversy when it reported the end of World War I four days before it actually ended. E.W. Scripps's health started declining during the war, and by its end he was largely living on his yacht. In 1920 he gave direct control of the chain to his son Robert and Roy W. Howard and in 1922 incorporated all of his stock, news services, and newspapers into the E.W. Scripps Company, based in Cincinnati. The profits went to the Scripps Trust, set up for his heirs.

Despite his semiretirement, Scripps had the energy to direct a last burst of expansion in the 1920s. He made Roy Howard chairman and business director in 1921. Howard had played an important role in building the United Press. By 1924, he was placed in full charge of both business and editorial by E.W.'s son Robert. The newspaper chain was renamed the Scripps Howard League. Beginning in 1921, newspapers were bought or started in Birmingham, Alabama; Indianapolis, Indiana; Baltimore, Maryland; and Pittsburgh. Sales for 1925 came to about $28 million. In 1926 the Denver-based Rocky Mountain News and Times were bought.

Company Perspectives:

Scripps aims at excellence in the products and services we produce and responsible service to the communities in which we operate. Our purpose is to continue to engage in successful, growing enterprises in the fields of information and entertainment. The company intends to expand, to develop and acquire new products and services, and to pursue new market opportunities. Our focus shall be long-term growth for the benefit of shareholders and employees. Scripps Company is guided by the motto, "Give light and the people will find their own way."

At the time of E.W. Scripps's death in 1926, the Scripps Howard League was the second largest newspaper chain in the United States, after William Randolph Hearst's. E.W. Scripps was one the most successful newspaper owners of the era of the so-called Press Barons. Because of his reclusive personality, though, he was one of the least known. He stood up for the working class but in many ways despised them. In addition, he encouraged his newspapers to crusade for female suffrage but considered women inferior to men.

In all, Scripps started 32 newspapers. Some of them did not stay in business long; some were unsophisticated but remained fiercely independent. Their emphasis on human interest stories was welcomed by new immigrants who had lost their former communities.

Roy Howard's stock holding in the company was small, but with his strong personality he influenced the Scripps heirs and took working control of the company, managing it as if it were his own and bringing his own family into the company hierarchy. In 1927, Scripps Howard bought the New York Telegram. Four years later, it purchased the New York World and merged the two newspapers into the World-Telegram. In 1936 Howard gave up his position as chairman of the chain and became president.

In the 1930s United Press built a network of bureaus in South and Central America and in the Far East, though its coverage was weaker in Europe, and it remained smaller than AP. Also that decade the newspaper chain began to shrink as less-profitable papers were sold or consolidated and six-day evening papers began to lose their appeal. During World War II Ernie Pyle came to fame as a Scripps Howard columnist reporting from the European battle theater, before losing his life on a Pacific battlefield.

Postwar Growth

After World War II Scripps Howard's sales grew dramatically, from nearly $50 million in 1940 to more than $100 million in 1948 and $140 million in 1952. Profits, however, were not increasing. Due to the rising cost of labor, newsprint, and printing machinery, profits were hovering around $10 million, according to Forbes magazine. In 1953 E.W. Scripps's grandson Charles E. Scripps became company chairman at the age of 33, and Roy Howard's son Jack R. became company president at the age of 42. By this time Scripps Howard had 19 newspapers with a total circulation of four million. The company was also expanding into broadcasting and owned radio and television stations in Cleveland and Cincinnati as well as in Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee. The Scripps family trust still owned nearly 75 percent of the company. Management was decentralized with general operations conducted in New York, editorial policy in Washington, and finances in Cincinnati.

In 1958 United Press merged with the Hearst Corporation's troubled International News Service to become United Press International (UPI). Hearst gained five percent ownership of UPI, but most former International News Service employees were laid off. Also that year Scripps bought the Cincinnati Times-Star and merged it into the Post, giving the company control of all of Cincinnati's daily newspapers. The Cincinnati Enquirer which had been acquired in 1956was carefully kept separate from the other papers to diminish possible charges of a monopoly. In 1964, however, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Scripps Howard of owning a monopoly and ordered it to sell the Enquirer. The Enquirer was far stronger financially, but the trust's lawyers advised the firm that it would be better off selling it, rather than trying to sell the Post.

In the meantime, Scripps continued building its broadcast division, buying WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida, for $2 million in 1961. In 1963 the broadcast properties were taken public under the name Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company. The initial offering quickly sold out, leaving the E.W. Scripps Company with two-thirds ownership.

Roy Howard died in 1964. One of the problems Jack Howardwho had succeed Roy Howard as president in 1953faced was that the company was still run for the beneficiaries of the E.W. Scripps trust, and the trustees' lawyers sometimes had a large role in significant corporate decisions. More importantly, with the rise of television after World War II, evening newspapers across the United States found their circulations declining: people read the newspaper in the morning and watched the news on television in the evening. In addition, management of Scripps had become so conservative that critics charged it had no long-range plans and did little beyond preserve its assets. More and more Scripps newspapers took advantage of a law that allowed newspapers in danger of failing to partially merge with stronger rivals, keeping only editorial departments separate. By 1980, 8 of the 16 remaining Scripps dailies were in such arrangements, a higher percentage than any other major chain.

In 1976 Jack Howard retired as president of E.W. Scripps but remained a director of E.W. Scripps and chairman of Scripps Howard Broadcasting. Edward Estlow became E.W. Scripps's first CEO who was not from the Scripps or Howard families; he had been the chain's general business manager.

Scripps slowly began to change in the 1970s. In 1977 the company bought for $29 million the 90 percent of Media Investment Co. that it did not already own. Media Investment had holdings in some of Scripps's newspapers and radio and television stations. The purpose of acquiring the investment company was to permit employees to own shares in the diversified E.W. Scripps Company.

Key Dates:

1878:
Edwin Willis Scripps establishes the Cleveland Penny Press.
1890:
Scripps-McRae is created to oversee Scripps's newspaper holdings.
1907:
United Press wire service established.
1922:
Company changes name to E.W. Scripps Co.; the E.W. Scripps Trust is created.
1935:
Scripps enters the radio broadcast industry.
1940:
Scripps takes over the National Spelling Bee from a Louisville, Kentucky, newspaper.
1962:
The Scripps Foundation is incorporated.
1982:
Company sells UPI wire service to Media News Corporation.
1988:
Company goes public.
1994:
Home and Garden (HGTV) cable network launched.
2002:
Fine Living cable network launched.

Refocusing and Going Public in the 1980s

UPI losses were continuing to increase$24 million between 1975 and 1980. In addition some of Scripps's newspapers were operating in the red, including the flagship Cleveland Press. In 1980 Scripps sold the Press for an undisclosed amount to Cleveland retailer Joseph E. Cole. The chain then had 16 daily newspapers, making it the seventh largest in the United States. Scripps continued a policy of not reporting financial data, but the Wall Street Journal cited its sales at approximately $550 million.

In 1981 the E.W. Scripps Company began looking for a buyer for UPI. Estlow said that part of the reason was the possibility that the beneficiaries of the Scripps trust fund might bring legal action forcing the closing or selling of the wire service. In 1982 the firm found a buyer for UPI: Media News Corporation, a private firm started for the purpose of buying UPI, which had 224 bureaus and 2,000 employees. The purchase price was not disclosed, but industry analysts felt it could not have been much more than the value of UPI's assets, which the New York Times estimated were worth about $20 million.

In the early 1980s Scripps began funneling money into its chain of weekly business journals. The publications were losing readership and advertising revenue, and some criticized them as lacking hard news. In 1985 Lawrence A. Leser became president of Scripps and quickly began making changes. He sold many of the weeklies, as well as a videotape publishing business, and concentrated on building the cable, broadcast, and daily newspaper operations, particularly in the rapidly growing South and West.

In 1986 the company bought two television stations from Capital Cities Communications and the American Broadcasting Co. Scripps paid an estimated $246 million for WXYZ in Detroit and WFTS in Tampa. The company was also building a string of cable television systems. In 1986 Scripps merged with the John P. Scripps newspaper chain, which was comprised of six California newspapers and one Washington newspaper.

These purchases, along with a cable system being built in Sacramento, left the company with millions of dollars in debt. Partly in an effort to pay off this debt, the Scripps family members who controlled the Scripps trust fund decided to take the company public. In 1987, as a prelude to its stock offering, the firm officially released financial data for the first time, reporting operating income of $150 million on sales of $1.15 billion. It owned 20 daily newspapers and nine television stations and cable systems in ten states. The 1988 stock offering left the Scripps trust with approximately 75 percent ownership of the company.

In December 1988 the E.W. Scripps Company formed Scripps Howard Productions to produce and market television programs. In February 1989 it sold the six-day Florida Sun-Tattler for an undisclosed amount and bought Cable USA's system in Carroll County, Georgia. Profits for 1989 were $89.3 million on sales of $1.27 billion.

In 1990 Scripps began the SportSouth Network to provide regional sports programming on cable television in six southern states. Most of the firm's revenue continued to come from newspapers, but it believed that future growth would come from cable television. As of the early 1990s, the firm had 672,000 cable subscribers, making it one of the 20 largest cable system operators in the United States.

The E.W. Scripps Company also negotiated to buy WMAR-TV in Baltimore from Gillett Holdings for $154.7 million. Scripps backed out of the deal at the last minute and was sued by Gillett. The firms settled out of court, and Scripps bought the station for $125 million in cash. In late 1991 the company announced a modernization of the Pittsburgh Press delivery systems. The modernization, which would cause hundreds of layoffs, resulted in a crippling strike that lasted well into 1992; the newspaper was sold on December 31, 1992.

Increased Emphasis on Television in the 1990s

In 1993 the E.W. Scripps Company sold its Pharos Books and World Almanac Education units to K-III Communications and also sold its four radio stations, its television station in Memphis, Tennessee, and newspapers in Tulare, California, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. These moves occurred at the same time that the company was shifting to an increased emphasis on television and specifically on television contentas opposed to simply broadcasting. In March 1994 the E.W. Scripps Company purchased Cinetel Productions, a leading independent producer of cable-television programming. Ownership of Cinetel helped the company launch a new cable network, Home & Garden Television (HGTV), in late 1994. HGTV, which was available in 48.4 million cable homes by early 1999, marked the beginning of the company's cable narrowcasting strategywhat it called "category television." The aim was to become the predominant player in particular cable television categories. HGTV's category was that of home decorating, improvement, and maintenance; landscaping; and gardening.

In 1994 Charles E. Scripps retired as company chairman, having served in that position since 1953, and was succeeded by Lawrence A. Leser. Two years later, William R. Burleigh was named president and CEO. Meantime, the E.W. Scripps Company continued to deemphasize its broadcasting side when it sold its cable systems to Comcast Corporation in November 1995 for $1.58 billion. On the newspaper side, the company divested its Watsonville, California, daily in 1995 and spent $120 million in 1996 to acquire the Vero Beach Press Journal, a daily. In August 1997 the E.W. Scripps Company traded its daily newspapers in Monterey and San Luis Obispo, California, to Knight-Ridder, Inc. for the Daily Camera, a newspaper in Boulder, Colorado. In October of that same year the company paid $775 million in cashthe firm's largest acquisition in historyfor the media assets of Harte-Hanks Communications Inc., which included five daily newspapers in Texas and one in South Carolina, a group of community newspapers in Texas, and a television and radio station in San Antonio.

This purchase immediately led to the company's acquisition of a second cable category network as the television and radio station were traded for a 56 percent controlling interest in the Food Network, a cable network featuring programming on food and nutrition. In early 1999 the E.W. Scripps Company sold the community newspapers it gained via Harte-Hanks to Lionheart Holdings LLC, a community newspaper group based in Fort Worth, Texas.

In May 1998 the company sold Scripps Howard Productions, and later that year Cinetel Productions changed its name to Scripps Productions. E.W. Scripps Company launched its third cable category network, Do-It-Yourself, in 1999. The company's category television unit was its fastest-growing operation, with revenues reaching $148.6 million in 1998, an increase of 76.5 percent over the previous year.

2000 and Beyond

As it entered the 21st century, the company's ten broadcast television stations (six ABC, three NBC, and one independent) reached an estimated 10 percent of all American homes. Scripps was one of the largest U.S. independent operators of ABC affiliates, and the company's cable television networks experienced fast and continuous growth as well. HGTV climbed to more than 78 million subscribers in the early 2000s, while the Food Network had more than 75 million subscribers.

During this time, E.W. Scripps named a new leader. Ken Lowe first became president and then CEO of the company. Lowe had joined E.W. Scripps in the 1980s, working in the radio broadcast department. He moved on to the cable operations in the 1990s and there conceived and implemented his idea for the Home and Garden network HGTV. Scripps revenues in 2001 reached $1.4 billion, with the majority (51 percent) generated from the newspaper business. Nineteen percent of 2001 revenues came from broadcast television, 24 percent from category television, and the remaining six percent from licensing and other media. Scripps' subsidiary, Shop At Home Network, LLC (acquired in whole in 2002), launched a web site during this time, allowing program viewers and Internet surfers to shop electronically. Shop at Home Network programming also continued to be transmitted via satellite to cable television systems, direct broadcast satellite systems, and television stations. Sales for Shop At Home Network in 2002 were $195.8 million.

By 2002 Scripps newspapers were serving 20 markets in the United States, spanning Washington State to Florida. Readership totaled 1.4 million daily and 1.7 million on Sunday, making Scripps the ninth largest publisher of newspapers in the United States. Two hundred fifty of Scripps newspapers sponsored the annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, a tradition since the 1940s, in which by the early 2000s some ten million children participated annually.

Also during this time, the company launched the Fine Living Network, dedicated, in the words of a company spokesperson, "to the pursuit of personal passions and the art of getting the most from every moment in life." Programs ranged in subject matter from travel and financial planning to yoga instruction and party planning. In 2004, due largely to its cable programming operations, and the advertising dollars it generated, Scripps announced higher than predicted profits, prompting a two-for-one stock split for its shareholders.

Principal Operating Units

Newspapers; Broadcast; Scripps Networks; Retail Television; Licensing and Other Media.

Principal Competitors

Gannett Company Inc.; The Hearst Corporation.

Further Reading

Abrams, Bill, "Capital Cities, ABC to Sell 2 TV Outlets to Scripps Howard," Wall Street Journal, July 29, 1985.

Astor, David, "Scripps Decides to Keep United Media," Editor and Publisher, August 21, 1993, pp. 3435.

Baldasty, Gerald J., E.W. Scripps and the Business of Newspapers, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999, 217 p.

Brendon, Piers, The Life and Death of the Press Barons, New York: Atheneum, 1983, 288 p.

Casserly, Jack, Scripps: The Divided Dynasty, New York: Donald I. Fine, 1993, 236 p.

Cauley, Leslie, "Scripps Quickly Proves an Outsider Can Start a Cable-TV Network," Wall Street Journal, November 13, 1998, pp. A1+.

Cochran, Negley D., E.W. Scripps, New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1933.

Downey, Kevin, "Pursuing a Passion for Media," Broadcasting & Cable, January 19, 2004.

"E.W. Scripps Co.," Mediaweek, May 17, 2004, p. 17.

Garneua, George, "Scripps Buys Six Dailies," Editor and Publisher, May 24, 1997, pp. 67, 29.

Fass, Allison, "Extra, Extra," Forbes, September 6, 2004, p. 200.

Gilbert, Nick, "E.W. Scripps: Purring Without Garfield," Financial World, May 24, 1994, pp. 14+.

Jessell, Harry A., "E.W. Scripps: Building, Growing with HGTV," Broadcasting and Cable, March 2, 1998, pp. 1822.

Katz, Richard, "Scripps Tills Lush Niche Cable Garden," Variety, August 24, 1998, p. 18.

King, Michael J., "Weakened Chain," Wall Street Journal, November 28, 1980.

Lillo, Andrea, "Merger Gives Scripps 100 Percent of TV Shopping Network," Home Textiles Today, January 5, 2004, p. 17.

Lipin, Steven, "Scripps to Acquire Harte-Hanks's Media Assets," Wall Street Journal, May 19, 1997, pp. A3, A4.

Pace, Eric, "U.P.I. Sold to New Company," New York Times, June 3, 1982.

Phillips, Stephen, and David Lieberman, "Extra! Extra! Get Yer Share of Scripps," Business Week, July 11, 1988.

Robichaux, Mark, "Comcast to Buy E.W. Scripps's Cable Systems," Wall Street Journal, October 30, 1995, p. A3.

"Roy W. Howard, Publisher, Dead," New York Times, November 21, 1964.

"Scripps Acquires all of Shop At Home," Mediaweek, January 5, 2004, p. 21.

"Scripps and Howard," Forbes, October 1953.

Sherman, Jay, "Campaign Ads Brighten Profits," TelevisionWeek, July 19, 2004, p. 18.

Trimble, Vance H., The Astonishing Mr. Scripps: The Turbulent Life of America's Penny Press Lord, Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1992, 547 p.

, ed., Scripps-Howard Handbook, 3rd ed., Cincinnati: E.W. Scripps, 1981, 400 p.

Scott M. Lewis

updates: David E. Salamie;

Catherine Holm

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Lewis, Scott; Salamie, David; Holm, Catherine. "The E.W. Scripps Company." International Directory of Company Histories. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Lewis, Scott; Salamie, David; Holm, Catherine. "The E.W. Scripps Company." International Directory of Company Histories. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. (June 29, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3429300033.html

Lewis, Scott; Salamie, David; Holm, Catherine. "The E.W. Scripps Company." International Directory of Company Histories. 2005. Retrieved June 29, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3429300033.html

The E.W. Scripps Company

The E.W. Scripps Company

312 Walnut Street, 28th Floor
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
U.S.A.
(513) 977-3825
Fax: (513) 977-3721
Web site: http://www.scripps.com

Public Company
Incorporated
: 1878 as Scripps and Sweeney Co.
Employees : 8,100
Sales : $1.44 billion (1998)
Stock Exchanges : New York
Ticker Symbol : SSP
NAIC : 51111 Newspaper Publishers; 51312 Television Broadcasting; 51321 Cable Networks; 51411 News Syndicates; 51211 Motion Picture & Video Production; 51114 Database & Directory Publishers

The E.W. Scripps Company is one of the largest media companies in the United States, with 19 daily newspapers, the Scripps Howard news service, nine television stations, and several cable-television interests, including full ownership of the Home & Garden Television network and the production company Scripps Productions and a majority interest in the Food Network. Through its United Media affiliate, it is also a worldwide syndicator of newspaper features and comics, including Peanuts, Dilbert, Nancy, and For Better and for Worse. E.W. Scripps also publishes independent Yellow Pages directories. Sixty percent of the company is owned by the Edward W. Scripps family trust.

Penny Press Origins

The E.W. Scripps Company began life in 1878 as Scripps and Sweeney Co. when 24-year-old Edward Willis Scripps, with his cousin John Sweeney and other family members, founded his first newspaper, the Cleveland Penny Press. Scripps had $10,000 in capital and owned 20 percent of the paper. The rest was owned by his half-brothers George Henry and James Edmund Scrippseach of whom received 30 percent stakes in the companyand other partners.

E. W. Scripps was a populist who thought that most newspapers were geared towards the rich. He wanted his newspaper to keep the poor informed through short, simple stories that could be understood by those without extensive education. He got many of these ideas from James E. Scripps, an English immigrant who started the Detroit Evening News in 1873. E.W. also added his interest in personal stories to the mix, later giving a raise to an editor who published the fact that he had been fined $10 for riding a horse while intoxicated.

At the time the Cleveland Penny Press was founded, most newspapers had a party affiliation. They also sold for more than a penny, and many contemporaries were skeptical that the Press would succeed. E.W. Scripps formula proved successful, however, and within weeks the Cleveland Penny Press had a circulation of approximately 10,000. It was not a profitable operation, however, until James E. Scripps ordered E.W. to run the paper for $400 a week.

As soon as the Penny Press was making money, E.W. persuaded his brothers to buy the St. Louis Chronicle. He then spent a year in St. Louis managing the paper. E.W. bought a 55 percent interest in the Penny Post part of which was already owned by James E.went to Cincinnati to manage it, and changed the papers name to the Cincinnati Post. He subsequently began taking on political corruption and winning circulation.

From 1887 to 1889 James E. Scripps was in Europe receiving medical treatment while E.W. managed the Detroit News. Although E.W. expanded advertising and circulation, James E. was angry with the changes his brother made; upon his return, James E. removed E.W. from every position he could. In 1890 E.W. started his own paper, the Kentucky Post, in Covington, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

Also in 1890 E.W. Scripps entered into a partnership with his business manager, Milton McRae; the two called their newspaper company the Scripps-McRae League. McRae handled day-to-day management of the papers and received one-third of the profits, while Scripps set editorial guidelines and long-term policy. In 1890, with his business running smoothly, Scripps began building a ranch outside of San Diego, California.

In 1894 George Scripps joined Scripps-McRae. This gave the group a controlling interest in the Cleveland Press. Later in the 1890s the group started the Akron Press and Kansas City World. As his chain expanded, E.W. Scripps chose young, growing towns to start new newspapers. He invested as little in machinery or plants as possible, usually buying old presses and renting run-down buildings. He would then hire young ambitious editors who were given a minority stake in their paper; many of them became rich if their newspapers succeeded. With E.W. Scripps spending most of his time in California, McRae often exceeded his authority and put editorial pressure on newspaper editors. Scripps would periodically venture out of California, discover what McRae was doing, and reverse it.

Scripps next began a series of West Coast newspapers unas-sociated with the Scripps-McRae League group. They included papers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, Berkeley, and Oakland, California, as well as Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, Washington. In 1900 George Scripps died, leaving his stock to E.W. James E. Scripps contested the will, however, and James E. and E.W. settled out of court. E.W. was forced to give all of his stock in the Detroit newspapers to James E., who in return gave E.W. all of his stock in newspapers outside Detroit.

In 1902 Scripps started the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), a service for exchanging and distributing illustrations, cartoons, editorials, and articles on such specialized subjects as sports and fashion. Newspapers in the Scripps chain paid a monthly fee and received information and illustrations none of them could have afforded individually. Although the NEA was originally only for Scripps papers, demand for its services was so great that it soon became available to any newspaper.

In 1906 Scripps entered another period of expansion, buying or starting papers in Denver and Pueblo, Colorado; Evansville and Terre Haute, Indiana; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; and Oklahoma.

United Press Association Wire Service Formed in 1907

In 1907 Scripps combined the NEA, the Scripps McRae Press Association, and Publishers Press into the United Press Association wire service in order to provide 12,000 words of copy a day by telegraph to 369 subscribers in the United States. A similar service, the Associated Press (AP), already existed and was far larger and better financed. Scripps viewed AP as monopolistic and too close to the establishment and deliberately set out to oppose it. AP was also geared toward morning newspapers, while most of Scrippss were evening newspapers. Scripps therefore had each of his papers send out stories from their area during the day and combined them with information gathered at offices set up in important news producing cities such as Washington, D.C., and other world capitals.

In 1908 E.W. Scripps retired from active management, appointing his son James G. Scripps chairman of the board. During World War I, E.W. was a passionate advocate of U.S. intervention on the side of the Allies and moved to Washington, D.C., to push his cause. Shortly thereafter, a family crisis erupted, during which Scrippss son James detached the five West Coast newspapers and the Dallas Dispatch from the chain. In 1918 United Press caused a storm of controversy when it reported the end of World War I four days before it actually ended. E.W. Scrippss health started declining during the war, and by its end he was largely living on his yacht. In 1920 he gave direct control of the chain to his son Robert and Roy W. Howard and in 1922 incorporated all of his stock, news services, and newspapers into the E.W. Scripps Company, based in Cincinnati. The profits went to the Scripps Trust, set up for his heirs.

Despite his semiretirement, Scripps had the energy to direct a last burst of expansion in the 1920s. He made Roy Howard chairman and business director in 1921. Howard had played an important role in building the United Press. By 1924, he was placed in full charge of both business and editorial by E.W.s son Robert. The newspaper chain was renamed the Scripps Howard League. Beginning in 1921, newspapers were bought or started in Birmingham, Alabama; Indianapolis, Indiana; Baltimore, Maryland; and Pittsburgh. Sales for 1925 came to about $28 million. In 1926 the Denver-based Rocky Mountain News and Times were bought.

At the time of E.W. Scrippss death in 1926, the Scripps Howard League was the second largest newspaper chain in the United States, after William Randolph Hearsts. E.W. Scripps was one the most successful newspaper owners of the era of the so-called Press Barons. Because of his reclusive personality, though, he was one of the least known. He stood up for the working class but in many ways despised them. In addition, he encouraged his newspapers to crusade for female suffrage but considered women inferior to men.

In all, Scripps started 32 newspapers. Some of them did not stay in business long; some were unsophisticated but remained fiercely independent. Their emphasis on human interest stories was welcomed by new immigrants who had lost their former communities.

Company Perspectives

Scripps aims at excellence in the products and services we produce and responsible service to the communities in which we operate. Our purpose is to continue to engage in successful, growing enterprises in the fields of information and entertainment. The company intends to expand, to develop and acquire new products and services, and to pursue new market opportunities. Our focus shall be long-term growth for the benefit of shareholders and employees.

Roy Howards stock holding in the company was small, but with his strong personality he influenced the Scripps heirs and took working control of the company, managing it as if it were his own and bringing his own family into the company hierarchy. In 1927, Scripps Howard bought the New York Telegram. Four years later, it purchased the New York World and merged the two newspapers into the World-Telegram. In 1936 Howard gave up his position as chairman of the chain and became president.

In the 1930s United Press built a network of bureaus in South and Central America and in the Far East, though its coverage was weaker in Europe, and it remained smaller than AP. Also that decade the newspaper chain began to shrink as less-profitable papers were sold or consolidated and six-day evening papers began to lose their appeal. During World War II Ernie Pyle came to fame as a Scripps Howard columnist reporting from the European battle theater, before losing his life on a Pacific battlefield.

Postwar Growth

After World War II Scripps Howards sales grew dramatically, from nearly $50 million in 1940 to more than $100 million in 1948 and $140 million in 1952. Profits, however, were not increasing. Due to the rising cost of labor, newsprint, and printing machinery, profits were hovering around $10 million, according to Forbes magazine. In 1953 E.W. Scrippss grandson Charles E. Scripps became company chairman at the age of 33, and Roy Howards son Jack R. became company president at the age of 42. By this time Scripps Howard had 19 newspapers with a total circulation of four million. The company was also expanding into broadcasting and owned radio and television stations in Cleveland and Cincinnati as well as in Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee. The Scripps family trust still owned nearly 75 percent of the company. Management was decentralized with general operations conducted in New York, editorial policy in Washington, and finances in Cincinnati.

In 1958 United Press merged with the Hearst Corporations troubled International News Service to become United Press International (UPI). Hearst gained five percent ownership of UPI, but most former International News Service employees were laid off. Also that year Scripps bought the Cincinnati Times-Star and merged it into the Post, giving the company control of all of Cincinnatis daily newspapers. The Cincinnati Enquirer which had been acquired in 1956was carefully kept separate from the other papers to diminish possible charges of a monopoly. In 1964, however, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Scripps Howard of owning a monopoly and ordered it to sell the Enquirer. The Enquirer was far stronger financially, but the trusts lawyers advised the firm that it would be better off selling it, rather than trying to sell the Post.

In the meantime, Scripps continued building its broadcast division, buying WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida, for $2 million in 1961. In 1963 the broadcast properties were taken public under the name Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company. The initial offering quickly sold out, leaving the E.W. Scripps Company with two-thirds ownership.

Roy Howard died in 1964. One of the problems Jack Howardwho had succeed Roy Howard as president in 1953faced was that the company was still run for the beneficiaries of the E.W. Scripps trust, and the trusteess lawyers sometimes had a large role in significant corporate decisions. More importantly, with the rise of television after World War II, evening newspapers across the United States found their circulations declining: people read the newspaper in the morning and watched the news on television in the evening. In addition, management of Scripps had become so conservative that critics charged it had no long-range plans and did little beyond preserve its assets. More and more Scripps newspapers took advantage of a law that allowed newspapers in danger of failing to partially merge with stronger rivals, keeping only editorial departments separate. By 1980, 8 of the 16 remaining Scripps dailies were in such arrangements, a higher percentage than any other major chain.

In 1976 Jack Howard retired as president of E.W. Scripps but remained a director of E.W. Scripps and chairman of Scripps Howard Broadcasting. Edward Estlow became E.W. Scrippss first CEO who was not from the Scripps or Howard families; he had been the chains general business manager.

Scripps slowly began to change in the 1970s. In 1977 the company bought for $29 million the 90 percent of Media Investment Co. that it did not already own. Media Investment had holdings in some of Scrippss newspapers and radio and television stations. The purpose of acquiring the investment company was to permit employees to own shares in the diversified E.W. Scripps Company.

Sold Cleveland Press and UPI in the Early 1980s

UPI losses were continuing to increase$24 million between 1975 and 1980. In addition some of Scrippss newspapers were operating in the red, including the flagship Cleveland Press. In 1980 Scripps sold the Press for an undisclosed amount to Cleveland retailer Joseph E. Cole. The chain then had 16 daily newspapers, making it the seventh largest in the United States. Scripps continued a policy of not reporting financial data, but the Wall Street Journal cited its sales at approximately $550 million.

In 1981 the E.W. Scripps Company began looking for a buyer for UPI. Estlow said that part of the reason was the possibility that the beneficiaries of the Scripps trust fund might bring legal action forcing the closing or selling of the wire service. In 1982 the firm found a buyer for UPI: Media News Corporation, a private firm started for the purpose of buying UPI, which had 224 bureaus and 2,000 employees. The purchase price was not disclosed, but industry analysts felt it could not have been much more than the value of UPFs assets, which the New York Times estimated were worth about $20 million.

In the early 1980s Scripps began funneling money into its chain of weekly business journals. The publications were losing readership and advertising revenue, and some criticized them as lacking hard news. In 1985 Lawrence A. Leser became president of Scripps and quickly began making changes. He sold many of the weeklies, as well as a videotape publishing business, and concentrated on building the cable, broadcast, and daily newspaper operations, particularly in the rapidly growing South and West.

In 1986 the company bought two television stations from Capital Cities Communications and the American Broadcasting Co. Scripps paid an estimated $246 million for WXYZ in Detroit and WFTS in Tampa. The company was also building a string of cable television systems. In 1986 Scripps merged with the John P. Scripps newspaper chain, which was comprised of six California newspapers and one Washington newspaper.

Going Public in 1988

These purchases, along with a cable system being built in Sacramento, left the company with millions of dollars in debt. Partly in an effort to pay off this debt, the Scripps family members who controlled the Scripps trust fund decided to take the company public. In 1987, as a prelude to its stock offering, the firm officially released financial data for the first time, reporting operating income of $150 million on sales of $1.15 billion. It owned 20 daily newspapers and nine television stations and cable systems in ten states. The 1988 stock offering left the Scripps trust with approximately 75 percent ownership of the company.

In December 1988 the E.W. Scripps Company formed Scripps Howard Productions to produce and market television programs. In February 1989 it sold the six-day Florida Sun-Tattler for an undisclosed amount and bought Cable USAs system in Carroll County, Georgia. Profits for 1989 were $89.3 million on sales of $1.27 billion.

In 1990 Scripps began the SportSouth Network to provide regional sports programming on cable television in six southern states. Most of the firms revenue continued to come from newspapers, but it believed that future growth would come from cable television. As of the early 1990s, the firm had 672,000 cable subscribers, making it one of the 20 largest cable system operators in the United States.

The E.W. Scripps Company also negotiated to buy WMAR-TV in Baltimore from Gillett Holdings for $154.7 million. Scripps backed out of the deal at the last minute and was sued by Gillett. The firms settled out of court, and Scripps bought the station for $125 million in cash. In late 1991 the company announced a modernization of the Pittsburgh Press delivery systems. The modernization, which would cause hundreds of layoffs, resulted in a crippling strike that lasted well into 1992; the newspaper was sold on December 31, 1992.

Increased Emphasis on Television Content in the Mid-to-Late 1990s

In 1993 the E.W. Scripps Company sold its Pharos Books and World Almanac Education units to K-III Communications and also sold its four radio stations, its television station in Memphis, Tennessee, and newspapers in Tulare, California, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. These moves occurred at the same time that the company was shifting to an increased emphasis on television and specifically on television contentas opposed to simply broadcasting. In March 1994 the E.W. Scripps Company purchased Cinetel Productions, a leading independent producer of cable-television programming. Ownership of Cinetel helped the company launch a new cable network, Home & Garden Television (HGTV), in late 1994. HGTV, which was available in 48.4 million cable homes by early 1999, marked the beginning of the companys cable narrowcasting strategywhat it called category television. The aim was to become the predominant player in particular cable television categories. HGTVs category was that of home decorating, improvement, and maintenance; landscaping; and gardening.

In 1994 Charles E. Scripps retired as company chairman, having served in that position since 1953, and was succeeded by Lawrence A. Leser. Two years later, William R. Burleigh was named president and CEO. Meantime, the E.W. Scripps Company continued to deemphasize its broadcasting side when it sold its cable systems to Comcast Corporation in November 1995 for $1.58 billion. On the newspaper side, the company divested its Watson ville, California, daily in 1995 and spent $120 million in 1996 to acquire the Vero Beach Press Journal a daily. In August 1997 the E.W. Scripps Company traded its daily newspapers in Monterey and San Luis Obispo, California, to Knight-Ridder, Inc. for the Daily Camera, a newspaper in Boulder, Colorado. In October of that same year the company paid $775 million in cashthe firms largest acquisition in historyfor the media assets of Harte-Hanks Communications Inc., which included five daily newspapers in Texas and one in South Carolina, a group of a community newspapers in Texas, and a television and radio station in San Antonio.

This purchase immediately led to the companys acquisition of a second cable category network as the television and radio station were traded for a 56 percent controlling interest in the Food Network, a cable network featuring programming on food and nutrition. In early 1999 the E.W. Scripps Company sold the community newspapers it gained via Harte-Hanks to Lionheart Holdings LLC, a community newspaper group based in Fort Worth, Texas.

In May 1998 the company sold Scripps Howard Productions, and later that year Cinetel Productions changed its name to Scripps Productions. E.W. Scripps Company launched its third cable category network, Do-It-Yourself, in 1999. The companys category television unit was its fastest-growing operation, with revenues reaching $148.6 million in 1998, an increase of 76.5 percent over the previous year. Although this unit continued to operate in the red, it was clearly considered a key to the companys future.

Principal Subsidiaries

BRV, Inc. (Boulder Daily Camera, Bremerton Sun, Redding Record Searchlight, Ventura County Newspapers); Birmingham Post Company (Birmingham Post Herald); Channel 7 of Detroit, Inc. (WXYZ); Collier County Publishing Company (The Naples Daily News); Denver Publishing Company (Denver Rocky Mountain News); Evans ville Courier Company, Inc. (91.5%); Force V Corporation (Destin Log); Independent Publishing Company (Anderson Independent Mail); Knox ville News-Sentinel Company; Memphis Publishing Company (The Commercial Appeal) (91.3%); New Mexico State Tribune Company (The Albuquerque Tribune); Scripps Acquisition L.P. (Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Abilene Reporter-News, Wichita Falls Times Record News, San Angelo Standard-Times); Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company (WMAR, Baltimore; WCPO, Cincinnati; WEWS, Cleveland; KSHB, Kansas City; KNXV, Phoenix; KJRH, Tulsa; WPTV, West Palm Beach, Home & Garden Television, Scripps Productions); Stuart News Company (Stuart News, Jupiter Courier, Vero Beach Press Journal); Tampa Bay Television (WFTS); The Television Food Network, G.P. (56%); United Feature Syndicate, Inc. (United Media, Newspaper Enterprise Association).

Principal Operating Units

Newspapers; Broadcast Television; Category Television; Licensing and Other Media.

Further Reading

Abrams, Bill, Capital Cities, ABC to Sell 2 TV Outlets to Scripps Howard, Wall Street Journal, July 29, 1985.

Astor, David, Scripps Decides to Keep United Media, Editor and Publisher, August 21, 1993, pp. 34-35.

Baldasty, Gerald J., E.W. Scripps and the Business of Newspapers, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999, 217 p.

Brendon, Piers, The Life and Death of the Press Barons, New York: Atheneum, 1983, 288 p.

Casserly, Jack, Scripps: The Divided Dynasty, New York: Donald I. Fine, 1993, 236 p.

Cauley, Leslie, cripps Quickly Proves an Outsider Can Start a Cable-TV Network, Wall Street Journal, November 13, 1998, pp. A1 +.

Cochran, Negley D., E.W. Scripps, New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1933.

Garneua, George, Scripps Buys Six Dailies, Editor and Publisher, May 24, 1997, pp. 6-7, 29.

Gilbert, Nick, E. W. Scripps: Purring Without Garfield, Financial World, May 24, 1994, pp. 14 +.

Jessell, Harry A., E. W. Scripps: Building, Growing with HGTV, Broadcasting and Cable, March 2, 1998, pp. 18-22.

Katz, Richard, Scripps Tills Lush Niche Cable Garden, Variety, August 24, 1998, p. 18.

King, Michael J., Weakened Chain, Wall Street Journal, November 28, 1980.

Lipin, Steven, Scripps to Acquire Harte-Hankss Media Assets, Wall Street Journal, May 19, 1997, pp. A3, A4.

Pace, Eric, U.P.I. Sold to New Company, New York Times, June 3, 1982.

Phillips, Stephen, and David Lieberman, Extra! Extra! Get Yer Share of Scripps, Business Week, July 11, 1988.

Robichaux, Mark, Comcast to Buy E.W. Scrippss Cable Systems, Wall Street Journal, October 30, 1995, p. A3.

Roy W. Howard, Publisher, Dead, New York Times, November 21, 1964.

Scripps and Howard, Forbes, October 1953.

Trimble, Vance H., The Astonishing Mr. Scripps: The Turbulent Life of Americas Penny Press Lard, Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1992, 547 p.

_____, ed., Scripps-Howard Handbook, 3rd ed., Cincinnati: E.W. Scripps, 1981, 400 p.

Scott M. Lewis

updated by David E. Salamie

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"The E.W. Scripps Company." International Directory of Company Histories. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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The E.W. Scripps Company

The E.W. Scripps Company

1100 Central Trust Tower
Cincinnati, Ohio 45201
U.S.A.
(513) 977-3000
Fax: (513) 977-3721

Public Company
Incorporated:
1922
Employees: 10,000
Sales: $1.30 billion
Stock Exchange: New York

The E.W. Scripps Company is a diversified media corporation known primarily for its newspapers, which form the ninth-largest newspaper chain, in terms of circulation, in the United States. The company also operates television and radio stations and cable television systems, and licenses cartoon characters. The E.W. Scripps Company was founded by Edward Willis (E.W.) Scripps, who in 1878 began building one of the first newspaper chains in the United States. In 1922 Scripps incorporated his news organizations and established a trust ensuring family control of his newspaper empire for as long as legally possible. The company diversified into radio station operations in 1935, television stations in 1947, and cable television in 1980. Following more than a century of private ownership, the organization made its first public stock offering in 1988 and since then has focused on updating existing newspaper operations while broadening its cable operations to ease dependency on advertising revenue. After the death of E.W. Scrippss four eldest grandchildren the Scripps trust will be terminated and the companys stock divided among 28 great-grandchildren.

Edward Willis Scripps began his newspaper career in the early 1870s while serving an apprenticeship at Michigans Detroit News, under his older half-brother James Scripps. In 1878 after working his way up the ladder in Detroit, the 24-year old E.W. Scripps secured the financial backing of his half-brothers James and George Scripps and his half-sister Ellen Scripps and founded his first newspaper, in Cleveland, Ohio, The Penny Press.

From this first paper, started during an intense period of industrial development, E.W. Scripps fashioned a personally controlled chain of low-priced, well-written newspapers to champion the welfare of the growing working class. That chain began to grow in 1883, when E.W. Scripps acquired controlling interest in the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Penny Post, later renamed The Cincinnati Post, from James Scripps. A business manager, Milton A. McRae, was hired to run the Post, and in 1890 he and E.W. Scripps agreed to establish the Scripps-McRae League to manage the Scripps newspapers.

Under a profit-pooling arrangement established by Scripps and McRae, Scripps received two-thirds of the earnings from the league and was allowed to follow his own interests, while McRae received one-third of the profits and was charged with managing the leagues newspapers. To expand the league, Scripps and McRae chose growing industrial cities where there was little competition. Then ambitious editors and business managers were hired to start newspapers there. If the paper were successful the editor and manager could earn up to 49% of the stock.

This formula was put in practice in 1890, when The Kentucky Post was established across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. That same year Scripps acquired some land near San Diego, California, to build a ranch, and while living there in semi-retirement he became interested in developing west coast newspapers. In 1892 he purchased two San Diego newspapers and merged them to form The San Diego Sun and begin a Pacific coast group of newspapers of which he was owner.

In 1894 George Scripps pooled his interest in the family newspapers with Scripps-McRae, giving the league a controlling interest in the Cleveland Press and in The Chronicle, a St. Louis-based newspaper, in addition to its newspapers in Cincinnati and Kentucky. The profit pool was redivided in 1895 to include two-fifths each for E.W. and George Scripps and one-fifth for McRae. At that time. E.W. Scripps was named to serve as president of each of the newspapers, which would be run as separate companies, and McRae was named to serve as secretary and business manager of each newspaper.

In 1895 E.W. Scripps started his first newly created west coast paper, the Los Angeles Record, which was added to his Pacific coast group. Four years later, the Washington-based Seattle Star was formed and it too joined the Pacific coast fold. Scripps-McRae acquired the Kansas City World in Missouri in 1896 and three years later founded the Akron Press in Ohio.

In 1897 seeking an alternative to the Associated Press wire service, which provided news primarily to morning papers, and to United Press, which was in trouble, E.W. Scripps founded a new wire service, the Scripps-McRae Press Association, for the leagues afternoon daily newspapers. Two years later, the Scripps News Association was formed as a wire service for non-Scripps newspapers.

By 1900 E.W. Scripps was operating nine daily newspapers, six through the league and three on the West Coast. After George Scrippss death in 1900 and a three-year court battle between E.W. and James Scripps, E.W. Scrips gained majority control of all the familys newspapers outside of Detroit.

In 1902 E.W. Scripps started the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), the first specialized news and feature service in the United States. It was initially designed to provide a complete line of feature columns and news stories for only the Scripps-McRae newspapers, but the NEA soon expanded its clientele to include other newspapers.

After Scripps gained control of George Scrippss holdings in 1903, expansion efforts were stepped up. The leagues first moves were in Ohio, where two Toledo newspapers were purchased in 1903 and merged to form the Toledo News-Bee, and the Columbus Citizen was acquired a year later. While the league was growing in the Midwest, the Pacific coast group was also expanding, establishing the San Francisco News and the Tacoma Times in 1903, the Sacramento Star in 1904, and the Fresno Tribune in 1905. In 1905 E.W. Scripps also began setting aside stock for employees to purchase.

The year 1906 was bountiful for Scripps start-up ventures, which included the establishment of five newspapers by a newly created newspaper chain known as the Harper Group, after the attorney J.C. Harper. In 1906 the Harper Group established the Evansville Press and the Terre Haute Post in Indiana, the Pueblo Sun and the Denver Express in Colorado, and the Dallas Dispatch in Texas. That same year the Pacific coast group founded the Portland News in Oregon, while Scripps-McRae established the Oklahoma News, and the Nashville Times in Tennessee. The Harper Group added the Memphis Press in Tennessee in 1907.

In 1906 E.W. Scripps purchased the Publishers Press Association and a year later merged it with the Scripps-McRae Press Association and the Scripps News Association, to form United Press Association (UPA). The following year he also formed the Newspaper Supply Company to handle central accounting and national advertising.

In 1908 E.W. Scripps announced he would retire and hand over the chairmanship of all his news organizations to his 22-year-old son, James Scripps. That same year, two financially troubled Missouri newspapers, The Chronicle in St. Louis and the Kansas City World, were disposed of. The Chronicle was sold, and the World was simply discontinued. Scrippss greatest difficulties during the early 1900s, however, were encountered on the West Coast, where start-ups in Fresno, Berkeley, and Oakland, California, each lasted less than eight years.

By 1911 the Scripps-McRae League included 18 daily newspapers in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas; the Pacific coast group had 10 newspapers, mostly in California; and the Harper Group had 7 newspapers, including the Houston Press, which was founded that year.

E.W. Scripps emerged from retirement in 1911, and during the next two years established two newspapers without advertising. These two ad-less publications were the Chicago Daybook, established in 1911, with poet Carl Sandburg as chief reporter, and the Philadelphia News-Post, founded in 1912. The News-Post was discontinued after two years, but the Daybook grew to a circulation of 25,000 and was $500 a month away from breaking even when skyrocketing newsprint prices resulting from World War I forced its closure in 1917.

By 1918 the business disagreements between Scripps and his son James Scripps had become irreconcilable, and E.W. named another son, Robert Paine Scripps, chief executive and editor-in-chief of all news operations. In 1920 E.W. and James Scripps broke all ties, and Roy H. Howard, the UPA editor-in-chief, was named to run the business side of operations.

James Scripps died in 1921, and his wife withdrew five west coast papers and the Dallas Dispatch to form the Scripps-Canfield League. The Scripps-McRae League moved quickly to offset these losses and during the next three years established seven newspapers. During the same period the latter league acquired the Youngstown Telegram in Ohio, the Indianapolis Times in Indiana, the New Mexico State Tribune and the Pittsburgh Press in Pennsylvania.

Additional news services were established during the early 1920s, including the United Features Syndicate, a distributor of weekly comics and news columns; United Newspictures, a news-photography service and forerunner of Acme Newspictures; and the Science Service, an authoritative supplemental science news and feature syndicate.

In 1922 all of E.W. Scrippss newspaper groups and news operations were incorporated as The E.W. Scripps Company, with headquarters in Cleveland. Howard was named chairman and chief executive officer of the corporation, and Robert Scripps co-chairman with Howard of a two-man editorial board. That same year the newspaper chain adopted the name Scripps-Howard League. E.W. Scripps also established a trust in 1922, which at his death would leave control of all his news organizations to his son Robert. Provisions were also made for all family members, except the heirs of James Scripps.

Following incorporation, Scripps-Howard purchased competing newspapers in Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee; El Paso, Texas; Akron, Ohio; and Denver, Colorado and merged them with their existing publications in those cities. On the loss side during the 1920s, Scripps-Howard sold its Des Moines, Iowa, and Terre Haute, Indiana, newspapers and ceased publication of two others.

E.W. Scripps died in 1926, leaving the trust in the hands of Robert Scripps and the business management to Roy Howard, who remained chairman and chief executive officer. In 1927 Scripps-Howard acquired The New York Telegram, which became the New York World-Telegram four years later, after Howard negotiated the purchase of The World. The Buffalo Times of Buffalo, New York, was acquired in 1929.

By 1930 The E.W. Scripps Company owned 25 daily newspapers. During the next decade Roy Howard came to dominate editorial as well as business policies, and in the early 1930s he named William Waller Hawkins, who had been Howards successor as editor at UPA, chairman of the board.

Following the Great Depression the nations newspaper industry suffered from attrition, and between 1934 and 1939 Scripps-Howard sold newspapers to its competition in Baltimore, Maryland; Youngstown, Toledo, and Akron, Ohio; and San Diego, California; and ceased publication of its Oklahoma newspaper. During the same period the Scripps-Howard newspapers in Evansville, Indiana; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and El Paso, Texas, combined business operations with competitors to reduce overhead costs.

In 1935 The E.W. Scripps Company made its first diversification move and purchased a Cincinnati radio station, adopting the call letters WCPO. A subsidiary, Continental Radio, was established and changed its name to Scripps-Howard Radio, Inc. two years later. In 1936 the Memphis radio station WMC was acquired, and that same year Scripps-Howard bought out its one remaining competing daily newspaper in Memphis, The Commercial Appeal.

Robert Scripps died in 1938. Hawkins and George B. Parker, the editor-in-chief of the Scripps-Howard newspapers, became temporary trustees of the company along with Howard, pending the time when Robert Scrippss sons reached the age of 25. Under the new regime, the Scripps-Howard newspapers took on a more conservative tone. By the late 1930s Scripps-Howard newspapers had broken with the policies of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, leading to the departure of some of the chains more liberal columnists.

During World War II John H. Sorrells, executive editor of Scripps-Howard newspapers, and Nat R. Howard, the editor of the Cleveland News, headed up the office of press relations of the U.S. Office of Censorship. The well-known World War II reporter, Scripps-Howard columnist Ernie Pyle, won a national reputation and a Pulitzer Prize for his wartime writings. Pyle was killed in Okinawa in 1945, after being hit by a Japanese sniper.

After World War II Robert Scrippss sons, Robert Paine Scripps Jr., Charles E. Scripps, and Edward W. Scripps, became trustees of the trust. The company started diversification into television-station operation in 1947, establishing the ABC-affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland. In 1948 The E.W. Scripps Company expanded its Memphis media dominance by putting the NBC-affiliate WMC-TV on the air. In 1949 a new CBS affiliate started by Scripps, WCPO-TV, began operations in Cincinnati.

In 1950 Scripps-Howard purchased the Hearst Corporations New York Sun and merged it with the World-Telegram to form the New York World Telegram & Sun. The same year Charles M. Schultz began to write and draw the Peanuts comic strip, which was syndicated through United Features.

Hawkins and Howard retired as chairman and president, respectively, in 1952. The following year Charles E. Scripps was named chairman, and Roy Howards son, Jack R. Howard, was named president and chief executive officer. Roy Howard remained head of the New York World Telegram & Sun until his death in 1964.

Beginning in 1956 The E.W. Scripps Company began acquiring stock and building up majority control of the Cincinnati Enquirer, which competed with its Cincinnati Post. The company also bought another Cincinnati newspaper, the Cincinnati Times-Star, in 1958 and merged it into the Post.

In 1958 UPA absorbed International News Service and became known as United Press International (UPI). The following year the Scripps-Howard and Hearst chains combined their evening San Francisco newspapers into the jointly owned San Francisco News-Call Bulletin. Three years later, Hearst acquired complete control of the newspaper.

In 1960 Scripps-Howard purchased the Cleveland News and merged it into the Cleveland Press. The following year the E.W. Scripps company entered the growing Florida market and acquired the NBC-affiliate WPTV in West Palm Beach. Scripps-Howard Radio was renamed Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Company in 1961, and two years later went public. Two Florida newspapers, the Stuart News and the Hollywood Sun-Tattler, that were acquired in 1965.

The Houston Press, struggling against two competitors was sold in 1964, and the following year the 78-year-old Indianapolis Times also bowed out to two competitors. Both had been formed under E.W. Scrippss reign.

In 1966 Scripps-Howard, the Hearst Corporation, and Whitney Communications Corporation formed a joint venture company, the World Journal Tribune Inc., to keep their respective New York news operations alive. Under the agreement, Whitneys Herald Tribune. continued publishing in the morning, while Scripps-Howard and Hearst newspapers published a combined afternoon newspaper, the New York Journal-American. All three companies combined to publish a Sunday newspaper, the New York World Journal & Tribune. After numerous setbacks, the joint venture was suspended in 1967, and the newspapers all folded.

The 1970s brought both arrivals and departures for E.W. Scripps. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, television station KTEW, an NBC affiliate renamed KJRH, and the San Juan Star, a California-based, English-language daily newspaper for Puerto Ricans, were acquired in 1970. Three years later another California newspaper, the Fullerton Daily News Tribune, was acquired.

Acting under a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust suit ruling, Scripps-Howard in 1971 divested itself of its interests in the Cincinnati Enquirer. One year later the 51-year-old Washington Daily News was sold to a competitor, and in 1975 competition forced the closure of the Fort Worth Press.

Jack Howard retired in 1976 and Edward W. Estlow was named his successor, becoming the companys first president and chief executive officer chosen from outside the Scripps and Howard families. The following year the E.W. Scripps corporate headquarters was moved from Cleveland to Cincinnati, and soon afterwards the financially troubled Cincinnati Post struck a deal with the competing Enquirer to combine business, advertising, and production operations while keeping editorial matters separate.

In 1977 Scripps-Howard Broadcasting acquired KBMA, a Kansas City UHF television station which later became a Fox Broadcasting affiliate. The following year Scripps-Howard consolidated the NEA and the United Features Syndicate under the trade name United Media Enterprises, and the cartoon Garfield was added to its line.

During the late-1970s, with Estlow at the helm, E.W. Scripps turned its attention toward weekly newspapers. In 1977 Scripps-Howard acquired its first two weeklies, and the following year the chain started its first weekly newspaper. In 1978, in a leap into the California weekly market, 15 Los Angeles-area weekly and semi-weekly newspapers were acquired, and before the decade had ended five Kentucky weeklies, including four in the Louisville area, were added.

By 1979 Scripps-Howard had 23 weekly newspapers and 16 daily newspapers, with half of those dailies functioning under joint-operating agreements. With a decade of debt dragging it down, the Cleveland Press, Scripps 102-year-old flagship newspaper, was sold in 1980. At about the same time, the company announced that the financially troubled UPI was also on the block.

With financial uncertainty surrounding some of its larger news operations, E.W. Scripps increased its diversification in 1980 by acquiring Cordovan Corporation, publisher of business periodicals, trade magazines, and books. That same year Scripps-Howard Broadcasting entered the cable television business by acquiring systems in Michigan, Connecticut, and Florida.

UPI was sold for $75 million in 1982, the same year that E.W. Scripps sold its Louisville weekly newspapers and its Knoxville radio station. About the same time, Scripps-Howard Broadcasting purchased a Portland, Oregon, radio station and four Colorado cable television systems. In 1985 E.W. Scripps furthered its expansion into cable systems and the western-states market. The Phoenix, Arizona, television station, KNXV, a Fox affiliate, was acquired, and $135 million was committed to construction of a new cable system in Sacramento, California.

Lawrence A. Leser, a former executive vice president, was named president and chief executive in 1985, succeeding Estlow who remained on the board. A three-year restructuring process followed that emphasized three prime business areas: publishing, broadcasting, and cable television.

Between 1986 and 1987 the company committed $819 million to acquisitions in its three core areas. In 1986 it acquired ABCs affiliate television stations in Detroit and in Tampa, Florida, and enlarged its newspaper chains through the acquisition of the John P. Scripps newspaper group, a chain of seven small California dailies founded by one of the E.W. Scripps grandsons. That same year E.W. Scripps acquired Indianas Evansville Daily News and the Morning News of Naples, Florida. Seven small cable television systems in the southeastern states were also acquired in 1987.

During restructuring, the Columbus Citizen-Journal was discontinued after several failed attempts to sell the financially troubled Ohio paper. E.W. Scripps also sold some of its peripheral businesses, including more than half of its non-daily newspapers, its Connecticut joint-venture cable operations, and its videotape publishing business.

In 1987 the restructuring process was completed, and The E.W. Scripps Company was reorganized and incorporated in Delaware as a holding company, with most of its assets transferred to a new Ohio corporation, Scripps-Howard, Inc. The following year E.W. Scripps announced it would go public to reduce debt incurred through recent acquisitions, and a class of common stock, representing an 11% economic interest in the company with voting rights for one-third of the companys directors, was sold.

Following its public offering, E.W. Scripps began selling unprofitable operations, creating and acquiring new businesses not dependent on advertising revenues, and updating its existing newspaper operations. In 1988 the Sun-Tattler and some of the companys business journals were sold. The same year several cable television systems were acquired in western and southeastern states, and Scripps Howard Productions was formed to develop, produce, and market television programs. The company also announced it would spend $25 million to give the Evansville Courier a new production facility.

In 1988 E.W. Scripps also began looking for international markets for its cartoon-character licensing business. An Asian office was established in Tokyo in 1988 and a European office in Amsterdam in 1989. Also in 1989, E.W. Scripps sold its remaining interests in business journals and acquired Sundance Publishing, a supplemental-education-materials publisher. Newspaper-production-plant improvements continued that year with building projects in Florida and California.

E.W. Scripps Company entered the 1990s committed to continued expansion and improvement of its cable operations. Company plans also included rebuilding existing cable systems to expand channel offerings, and updating newspaper production facilities, as illustrated by a $135 million project announced in 1990 for Scrippss largest newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News. In 1991, Scripps bought WMAR-TV in Baltimore for $125 million.

Principal Subsidiaries

Birmingham Post Company; Channel 7 of Detroit, Inc. (80.4%); Collier County Publishing Company; Evansville Courier Company, Inc. (88.4%); Denver Publishing Company; EWS and LR Cable; Herald Post Publishing Company; John P. Scripps Newspapers, Inc.; Knoxville News Sentinel Company (97.3%); Memphis Publishing Company (90.5%); New Mexico State Tribune Company; Pittsburgh Press Company; San Juan Star Company; Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company (80.4%); Scripps Howard Cable Company (80.4%); Scripps Howard Cable Company of Sacramento (76.4%); Scripps Howard, Inc.; Stuart News Company; Tampa Bay Television Company (80.4%); United Features Syndicate, Inc.

Further Reading

Cochran, Negley D., E.W. Scripps, New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1933; Knight, Oliver, I Protest: Selected Disquisitions of E.W. Scripps, Madison, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1966.

Roger W. Rouland

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The E.W. Scripps Company

The E.W. Scripps Company

312 Walnut Street, 28th Floor
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
U.S.A.
(513) 977-3825
Fax: (513) 977-3721

Public Company
Incorporated: 1878 as Scripps and Sweeney Co.
Employees: 8,200
Sales: $1.3 billion
Stock Exchanges: New York
SICs: 2711 Newspapers; 4833 Television Broadcasting Stations; 4841 Cable & Other Pay Television Services; 4832 Radio Broadcasting Stations

The E. W. Scripps Company is one of the largest media companies in the United States, with 21 daily newspapers, 10 television stations, 5 radio stations, and cable television systems in 10 states. It is also a worldwide syndicator of newspaper features and comics.

The E. W. Scripps Company began life in 1878 as Scripps and Sweeney Co. when 24-year-old Edward Willis Scripps, with his cousin John Sweeney and other family members, founded his first newspaper, the Cleveland Penny Press. Scripps had $10,000 in capital and owned 20 percent of the paper. The rest was owned by his half-brothers George Henry and James Edmund Scrippseach of whom received 30 percent stakes in the companyand other partners.

E. W. Scripps was a populist who thought that most newspapers were geared towards the rich. He wanted his newspaper to keep the poor informed through short, simple stories that could be understood by those without extensive education. He got many of these ideas from James Scripps, an English immigrant who started the Detroit Evening News in 1873. E. W. also added his interest in personal stories to the mix, later giving a raise to an editor who published the fact that he had been fined $10 for riding a horse while intoxicated.

At the time the Cleveland Penny Press was founded, most newspapers had a party affiliation. They also sold for more than a penny, and many contemporaries were skeptical that the Press would succeed. E. W. Scrippss formula proved successful, however, and within weeks the Cleveland Penny Press had a circulation of approximately 10,000. It was not a profitable operation, however, until James Scripps ordered E. W. to run the paper for $400 a week.

As soon as the Penny Press was making money, E. W. persuaded his brothers to buy the St. Louis Chronicle. He then spent a year in St. Louis managing the paper. E. W. bought a 55 percent in the Penny Post part of which was already owned by Jameswent to Cincinnati to manage it, and changed the papers name to the Cincinnati Post. He subsequently began taking on political corruption and winning circulation.

From 1887 to 1889 James Scripps was in Europe receiving medical treatment while E. W. managed the Detroit News. Although E. W. expanded advertising and circulation, James was angry with the changes his brother made; upon his return, James removed E. W. from every position he could. In 1890 E. W. started his own paper, the Kentucky Post, in Covington, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

Also in 1890 E. W. Scripps entered into a partnership with his business manager, Milton McRae; the two called their newspaper company the Scripps-McRae League. McRae handled day-to-day management of the papers and received one-third of the profits, while Scripps set editorial guidelines and long-term policy. In 1890, with his business running smoothly, Scripps began building a ranch outside of San Diego, California.

In 1894 George Scripps joined Scripps-McRae. This gave the group a controlling interest in the Cleveland Press. Later in the 1890s the group started the Akron Press and Kansas City World. As his chain expanded, E. W. Scripps chose young, growing towns to start new newspapers. He invested as little in machinery or plants as possible, usually buying old presses and renting run-down buildings. He would then hire young ambitious editors who were given a minority stake in their paper; many of them became rich if their newspapers succeeded. With E. W. Scripps spending most of his time in California, McRae often exceeded his authority and put editorial pressure on newspaper editors. Scripps would periodically venture out of California, discover what McRae was doing, and reverse it.

Scripps next began a series of West Coast newspapers unassoci-ated with the Scripps-McRae League group. They included papers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, Berkeley, and Oakland, California, as well as Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, Washington. In 1900 George Scripps died, leaving his stock to E. W. James Scripps contested the will, however, and James and E. W. settled out of court. E. W. was forced to give all of his stock in the Detroit newspapers to James, who in return gave E. W. all of his stock in newspapers outside Detroit.

In 1902 Scripps started the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), a service for exchanging and distributing illustrations, cartoons, editorials, and articles on such specialized subjects as sports and fashion. Newspapers in the Scripps chain paid a monthly fee and received information and illustrations none of them could have afforded individually. Though the NEA was originally only for Scripps papers, demand for its services was so great that it soon became available to any newspaper.

In 1906 Scripps entered another period of expansion, buying or starting papers in Denver and Pueblo, Colorado; Evansville and Terre Haute, Indiana; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; and Oklahoma.

In 1907 Scripps combined the NEA, the Scripps McRae Press Association, and Publishers Press into the United Press Association wire service in order to provide 12,000 words of copy a day by telegraph to 369 subscribers in the United States. A similar service, the Associated Press (AP), already existed and was far larger and better financed. Scripps viewed AP as monopolistic and too close to the establishment and deliberately set out to oppose it. AP was also geared toward morning newspapers, while most of Scrippss were evening newspapers. Scripps therefore had each of his papers send out stories from their area during the day and combined them with information gathered at offices set up in important news-producing cities like Washington, D.C., and other world capitals.

In 1908 Scripps retired from active management, appointing his son James G. Scripps chairman of the board. During World War I, Scripps was a passionate advocate of United States intervention on the side of the allies and moved to Washington, D.C., to push his cause. Shortly thereafter, a family crisis erupted, during which Scrippss son James detached the five West Coast newspapers and the Dallas Dispatch from the chain. In 1918 United Press caused a storm of controversy when it reported the end of World War I four days before it actually ended. Scrippss health started declining during the war, and by its end he was largely living on his yacht. In 1920 he gave direct control of the chain to his son Robert and Roy W. Howard and in 1922 incorporated all of his stock, news services, and newspapers into the E.W. Scripps Company, based in Cincinnati. The profits went to the Scripps Trust, set up for his heirs.

Despite his semiretirement, Scripps had the energy to direct a last burst of expansion in the 1920s. He made Roy Howard chairman and business director in 1921. Howard had played an important role in building the United Press. By 1924, he was placed in full charge of both business and editorial by E. W.s son Robert. The newspaper chain was renamed the Scripps Howard League. Beginning in 1921, newspapers were bought or started in Birmingham, Alabama; Indianapolis, Indiana; Baltimore, Maryland; and Pittsburgh. Sales for 1925 came to about $28 million. In 1926 the Denver-based Rocky Mountain News and Times were bought.

At the time of E. W. Scrippss death in 1926, the Scripps Howard League was the second-largest newspaper chain in the United States, after William Randolph Hearsts. E. W. Scripps was one the most successful newspaper owners of the era of the so-called Press Barons. Because of his reclusive personality, though, he was one of the least known. He stood up for the working class but in many ways despised them. And, he encouraged his newspapers to crusade for female suffrage but considered women inferior to men.

All in all, Scripps started 32 newspapers. Some of them did not stay in business long; some were unsophisticated but remained fiercely independent. Their emphasis on human interest stories was welcomed by new immigrants who had lost their former communities.

Roy Howards stock holding in the company was small, but with his strong personality he influenced the Scripps heirs and took working control of the company, managing it as if it were his own and bringing his own family into the company hierarchy. In 1927 Scripps Howard bought the New York Telegram. Four years later, it purchased the New York World and merged the two newspapers into the World-Telegram. In 1936 Howard gave up his position as chairman of the chain and became president.

In the 1930s United Press built a network of bureaus in South and Central America and in the Far East, though its coverage was weaker in Europe, and it remained smaller than AP. Also that decade the newspaper chain began to shrink as less-profitable papers were sold or consolidated and six-day evening papers began to lose their appeal.

After World War II Scripps Howards sales grew dramatically, from nearly $50 million in 1940 to more than $100 million in 1948 and $140 million in 1952. Profits, however, were not increasing. Due to the rising cost of labor, newsprint, and printing machinery, profits were hovering around $10 million, according to Forbes magazine. In 1953 E. W. Scrippss grandson Charles E. Scripps became company chairman at the age of 33, and Roy Howards son Jack R. became company president at the age of 42. By this time Scripps Howard had 19 newspapers with a total circulation of 4 million. The company was also expanding into broadcasting and owned radio and television stations in Cleveland and Cincinnati as well as in Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee. The Scripps family trust still owned nearly 75 percent of the company. Management was decentralized with general operations in New York, editorial policy centered in Washington, and finances handled in Cincinnati.

In 1958 United Press merged with the Hearst Corporations troubled International News Service to become United Press International (UPI). Hearst gained five percent ownership of UPI, but most former International News Service employees were laid off. Also that year Scripps bought the Cincinnati Times-Star and merged it into the Post, giving the company control of all of Cincinnatis daily newspapers. The Cincinnati Enquirer which had been acquired in 1956was carefully kept separate from the other papers to diminish possible charges of a monopoly. In 1964, however, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Scripps Howard of owning a monopoly and ordered it to sell the Enquirer. The Enquirer was far stronger financially, but the trusts lawyers advised the firm that it would be better off selling it, rather than trying to sell the Post.

In the meantime, Scripps continued building its broadcast division, buying WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida, for $2 million in 1961. In 1963 the broadcast properties were taken public under the name Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company. The initial offering quickly sold out, leaving the E.W. Scripps Company with two-thirds ownership.

Roy Howard died in 1964. One of the problems Jack Howardwho had succeed Roy Howard as president in 1953faced was that the company was still run for the beneficiaries of the E.W. Scripps trust, and the trustees lawyers sometimes had a large role in significant corporate decisions. More importantly, with the rise of television after World War II, evening newspapers across the United States found their circulations declining: people read the newspaper in the morning and watched the news on TV in the evening. In addition, management of Scripps had become so conservative that critics charged it had no long-range plans and did little beyond preserve its assets. More and more Scripps newspapers took advantage of a law that allowed newspapers in danger of failing to partially merge with stronger rivals, keeping only editorial departments separate. By 1980 eight of the 16 remaining Scripps dailies were in such arrangements, a higher percentage than any other major chain.

In 1976 Jack Howard retired as president of E.W. Scripps but remained a director of E.W. Scripps and chairman of Scripps Howard Broadcasting. Edward Estlow became E.W. Scrippss first chief executive officer who was not from the Scripps or Howard families; he had been the chains general business manager.

Scripps slowly began to change in the 1970s. In 1977 the company bought for $29 million the 90 percent of Media Investment Co. that it did not already own. Media Investment had holdings in some of Scrippss newspapers and radio and TV stations. The purpose of acquiring the investment company was to permit employees to own shares in the diversified E.W. Scripps Company.

UPI losses were continuing to increase$24 million between 1975 and 1980. In addition some of Scrippss newspapers were operating in the red, including the flagship Cleveland Press. In 1980 Scripps sold the Press for an undisclosed amount to Cleveland retailer Joseph E. Cole. The chain then had 16 daily newspapers, making it the seventh-largest in the United States. Scripps continued a policy of not reporting financial data, but the Wall Street Journal cited its sales at approximately $550 million.

In 1981 the E.W. Scripps Company began looking for a buyer for UPI. Estlow said that part of the reason was the possibility that the beneficiaries of the Scripps trust fund might bring legal action forcing the closing or selling of the wire service. In 1982 the firm found a buyer for UPI: Media News Corporation, a private firm started for the purpose of buying UPI, which had 224 bureaus and 2,000 employees. The purchase price was not disclosed, but industry analysts felt it could not have been much more than the value of UPIs assets, which the New York Times estimated were worth about $20 million.

In the early 1980s Scripps began funneling money into its chain of weekly business journals. The publications were losing readership and advertising revenue, and some criticized them as lacking hard news. In 1985 Lawrence A. Leser became president of Scripps and quickly began making changes. He sold many of the weeklies, as well as a videotape-publishing business, and concentrated on building the cable, broadcast, and daily newspaper operations, particularly in the rapidly growing South and West.

In 1986 the company bought two television stations from Capital Cities Communications and the American Broadcasting Co. Scripps paid an estimated $246 million for WXYZ in Detroit and WFTS in Tampa. The company was also building a string of cable TV systems. And in 1986 Scripps merged with the John P. Scripps newspaper chain, which was comprised of six California newspapers and one Washington newspaper.

These purchases, along with a cable system being built in Sacramento, left the company with millions of dollars in debt. Partly in an effort to pay off this debt, the Scripps family members who controlled the Scripps trust fund decided to take the company public. In 1987, as a prelude to its stock offering, the firm officially released financial data for the first time, reporting an operating income of $150 million on sales of $1.15 billion. It owned 20 daily newspapers and 9 TV stations and cable systems in 10 states. The 1988 stock offering left the Scripps Trust with approximately 75 percent ownership of the company.

In December of 1988 The E.W. Scripps Company formed Scripps Howard Productions to produce and market TV programs. In February of 1989 it sold the six-day Florida Sun-Tattler for an undisclosed amount and bought Cable USAs system in Carroll County, Georgia. Profits for 1989 were $89.3 million on sales of $1.27 billion.

In 1990 Scripps began the Sportsouth Network to provide regional sports programming on cable-TV in six southern states. Most of the firms revenue continued to come from newspapers, but it believed that future growth would come from cable-TV. As of the early 1990s, the firm had 672,000 cable subscribers, making it one of the 20 largest cable system operators in the United States.

The E.W. Scripps Company also negotiated to buy WMAR-TV in Baltimore from Gillett Holdings for $154.7 million. Scripps backed out of the deal at the last minute and was sued by Gillett. The firms settled out of court, and Scripps bought the station for $125 million in cash. In late 1991 the company announced a modernization of the Pittsburgh Press delivery systems. The modernization, which would cause hundreds of layoffs, resulted in a crippling strike that lasted well into 1992; the newspaper was sold on December 31, 1992.

In February of 1993 The E.W. Scripps Company sold its Pharos Books and World Almanac Education to K-III Communications. In March of that year, the company offered for sale its four radio stations in a continuing effort to focus its attention on television.

Principal Subsidiaries

Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company.

Further Reading

Cochran, Negley D., E. W. Scripps, New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1933; Scripps and Howard, Forbes, October 1953; Roy W. Howard, Publisher, Dead, New York Times, November 21, 1964; King, Michael J., Weakened Chain, Wall Street Journal, November 28, 1980; Pace, Eric, U.P.I. Sold to New Company, New York Times, June 3, 1982; Brendon, Piers, The Life and Death of the Press Barons, New York, Atheneum, 1983; Abrams, Bill, Capital Cities, ABC to Sell 2 TV Outlets To Scripps Howard, Wall Street Journal, July 29, 1985; Phillips, Stephen, and David Lieberman, Extra! Extra! Get Yer Share of Scripps, Business Week, July 11, 1988; The E.W. Scripps Company Annual Report, 1991; Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company Annual Report, 1991.; The E.W. Scripps Company news releases, December 31, 1992, February 16, 1993, and March 10, 1993.

Scott M. Lewis

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