The E.W. Scripps Company marks its 134th anniversary

134 years ago today, a young and determined man started what would become a long tradition of journalistic excellence. 

E.W. Scripps launched his first newspaper, The Penny Press, in Cleveland on Nov. 2, 1878.

He was only 24 years old, but after founding and working at The Detroit Press with his brothers and sister, he had formed his own idea about what a newspaper should be. The Penny Press, later to become The Cleveland Press, was a clearly written newspaper targeted toward blue-collar readers and designed to reach the greatest possible number of people. It was inexpensive and popular in appeal.

As his newspaper business grew, Scripps added more papers and founded United Press, an international news service to compete with the Associated Press; Newspaper Enterprise Association, a newspaper syndication service and forerunner of United Media; and numerous public buildings and projects that had been funded by Scripps’ charitable giving.

3d lighthouseNow, in 2012, Scripps has a renewed focus on its core business – journalism – as it moves into a new digital age.

Scripps is driven to develop and expand its digital strategies including social gaming, while embracing its rich history in delivering community-changing journalism and creating valuable marketing environments.

It serves communities through television stations, newspapers and Scripps Howard News Service, and enriches the lives and vocabularies of students through the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Creative, talented and energetic employees are leading the way at 19 television stations in major cities such as Denver, San Diego, Detroit, Phoenix, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Tampa.

They are serving communities with impactful story-telling, relevant investigations and interactive outreach through newspapers in 13 markets.

The Scripps digital group is growing and gaining momentum with new product offerings, enhancements, and technology that gives customers more options than ever before to find the information and entertainment they crave.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program administered on a not-for-profit basis. It helps to develop correct English usage that participants retain for life.

ew scripps portraitE.W. Scripps lived to be 71, and had six children.

He strove to provide careers, not charity. He believed self-reliance created self-respect.

Men looking for soft and easy journalistic careers rarely sought service with E.W. Scripps. It was hard, tough work. 

But for men of a particular breed, there was a quid pro quo - men who considered journalism an exciting adventure, or who had instincts for social reform, or who liked to deflate pomposity and pretense. Scripps papers stood in awe of no person or institution. Scripps men worked in an atmosphere of journalistic and creative freedom.

The tradition of journalistic and creative freedom and an entrepreneurial culture lives on in 2012.