The Astonishing Mr. Scripps: The Turbulent Life of America's Penny Press Lord

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9780813806792: The Astonishing Mr. Scripps: The Turbulent Life of America's Penny Press Lord
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Book by Trimble, Vance H.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Rippingly effective life of the founder of the Scripps news empire, Edward Wyllis Scripps, by Pulitzer-winning journalist Trimble, author of 1990's inoffensive Sam Walton. Where Trimble's Sam Walton had little to offer dramatically, Scripps bursts with story. Born in Ohio in 1854, Scripps was the 13th child of a failed London bookseller who tried time and again to break loose from Ohio farm life and failed at that as well. Scripps's half-brother James went off to Detroit and by age 34 was editing a Detroit newspaper. Scripps, a redheaded weakling heckled by schoolmates, spent half his waking hours in books, becoming steeped in the Bible and Shakespeare. As a youth, he showed a massive head for entrepreneurial skills and evaded farm work by hiring dumber kids to work for him. Lusting to be a reporter and put his reading to work for him, he joined his brother in Detroit. James thought little of him at first, but Scripps quickly sprouted news routes and kids to work for him, moving up from gofer to paragraph writer and finally to assistant managing editor by age 19. Then he got James to back his idea of a penny tabloid that undersold Detroit's nickel papers. Success here led Scripps to start up another penny paper in Cleveland. His papers broke with the stodgy news style of the day and sizzled with racy items and short takes, appealing to the blue-collar workers he sought as his main audience. Scripps's first downfall, while still in his 20s, came when he tried to take on the wily Hungarian tycoon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Joseph Pulitzer, who bought out Scripps's newsboys and stole their routes. An alcoholic, Scripps later built a castle in California rattlesnake country and died in hiding aboard his yacht off Liberia. His heirs will come into $1 billion- plus when their living trust expires early next century. Swift, very big, and overflowing with color. (Illustrations.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Although one of the founders of a major American newspaper chain, Edward Scripps (1854-1926) hardly merits the adjective "astonishing." A bookish Ohio farm boy, he left for Detroit at age 18 to work for older brother James, who had dreams of publishing a four-page tabloid for a penny (in the era of five-cent broadsheet dailies) that would speak for the poor and the laboring class. In 1873 James launched the Detroit Evening News ; its triumph was followed by a Cleveland paper run on the same principles. After James died, Edward became the head of the growing chain; by the time of his death the Scripps-Howard group (having added the name of brilliant executive Roy Howard) had established 44 papers, of which only nine had folded. Edward's chief contributions were founding the first newspaper syndicate and a willingness to gamble with new press ventures. Politically he always spoke for the common man, but his stubborn tyrranizing destroyed his family life, and by his last years he had become a thorough-going misanthrope. A Scripps family friend and former Scripps-Howard employee, Trimble ( The Uncertain Miracle ) delivers a comprehensive but sycophantic chronicle. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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