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E. W. Scripps and the Business of Newspapers by Gerald J. Baldasty

E. W. Scripps and the Business of Newspapers

Part of the History of Communication Series


E. W. Scripps and the Business of Newspapers by Gerald J. Baldasty

Edward Willis Scripps revolutionized the newspaper industry by applying modern business practices to his chain of more than forty newspapers and creating a telegraphic news service and illustrated news features syndicate. Convinced that big business was corrupting the American press, Scripps actively resisted supporting his newspapers through advertising. He also aimed them at the working class, an audience virtually ignored by most newspaper publishers of his era. Maintaining that the press should support the democratic endeavor by informing its largest constituency, Scripps succeeded in creating a string of small, cheap newspapers that were advocates for the common people: crusading for lower streetcar fares, free textbooks for public school children, municipal ownership of utilities, and pure food legislation, among many other causes. Gerald Baldasty's portrait of this long-neglected entrepreneurial giant is the first major academic study to draw on Scripps' business correspondence. The Theodore Psalter is one of the most valuable illuminated manuscripts to survive from the Byzantine Empire. One of only a few fixed points guiding the historian's understanding of Byzantine art and society, the Theodore Psalter's illumination is a uniquely rich source of insight into monastic organization, spirituality, book production, and a host of other aspects of Byzantine life. This facsimile CD-ROM version of the Psalter, produced from the original text held in the British Library Rare Books collection, offers unprecedented, virtual hands-on access to this precious volume. The innovative electronic format provides a complete display of all 416 pages, with magnified views of every illustration as well as a fully searchable text in the original Greek and in English translation. Complete with hyperlinked descriptions and full identifications of figures on every page, the facsimile is accompanied by three scholarly essays, by Charles Barber and by John Lowden of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Combining cutting-edge technology with first-rate scholarship, The Theodore Psalter (electronic facsimile) serves as an indispensable tool for art historians and affords a fascinating opportunity for other adventurous readers to interact with a rare treasure.


Baldasty recounts behind-the-scenes family intrigues and conflicts over ownership in this detailed, well-researched book. - Vanessa Bush, Booklist Baldasty has written the type of book we all like to cite as a good example to our students... This study of Edward Willis Scripps, an early press baron who was an advocate for the emerging working class after the Civil War, is based on manuscripts, newspapers, and other primary sources and integrates findings from the wide array of secondary sources about the turn-of-the-century years that also witnessed the early careers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Baldasty's book rewards the tendency for historians to read the footnotes. -- Donald L. Shaw, American Historical Review Offers a specialized examination of Scripps's business practices and assumes a basic background in newspaper history. A welcome addition to academic journalism collections. - Library Journal Tightly written with an exemplary notes section... Fills a gap in the history of newspaper business and demonstrates the value of using quantitative methods and original records in historical research. - Choice Written with exemplary clarity... A fascinating contribution to the history of newspaper publishing. - Christine Shaw, Business History An exciting, new offering ... Baldasty's analysis is crisp, well-thought and executed. He has made a tremendous contribution by his astute insights and thorough research... A significant contribution to the literature of journalism history. - Barbara Straus Reed, EH Net (H-Net Reviews) Highly readable at the same time that it is carefully based on the evidence. Baldasty is nearly invisible as an analyst and interpreter; yet the presentation of the evidence and organization of the book represent his behind-the-scenes analysis. The book is especially valuable for demonstrating how systematic business practices both succeeded and failed in Scripps's development of the first modern chain. It is an important example of a well done business history of the press that sticks to business. - Carolyn Stewart Dyer, Journalism History Fascinating... Baldasty successfully achieves his goal of 'raising
the low profile of E. W. Scripps.

- Louis Cain, Journal of Economic History This book's main strength is its rich data on newspaper content in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries... Well written and meticulously documented, and it generously offers prominent citations of the work of other, often younger, scholars. It is a most welcome addition to the literature. - William S. Solomon, The Journal of American History Baldasty has expertly woven Scripps
newly available business correspondence into an illuminating look at this major and contradictory figure in the development of today

's newspaper. -- Anne Hecker, Journal of the West ADVANCE PRAISE Scripps, with the manners of a buccaneer, defied the conventional wisdom about news in a market economy. Baldasty's vivid study of risk-taking will help anyone drawing up plans to keep newspapers central to a democratic society. - Thomas C. Leonard, author of News for All: America's Coming-of-Age with the Press An extraordinarily well-documented work. Baldasty has made a significant contribution to the literature by showing how Scripps's strategies had a coherent structure within the realm of business practices. - Barbara Cloud, author of The Business of Newspapers on the Western Frontier [This] first systematic study of the nation's first newspaper chain ... will greatly inform the history of journalism and much enliven contemporary arguments about the news media and group ownership. - James L. Baughman, author of The Republic of Mass Culture: Journalism, Filmmaking, and Broadcasting in America since 1941 One of the finest of the surviving Byzantine manuscripts... The digital version features full-color magnified views of all pages, searchable text in original Greek and in English translation, and scholarly essays. -- Theology Digest The very precise information about the text's provenance and attribution ... have made this psalter a central reference point in discussion of Byzantine illuminated manuscripts. Now reproduced in electronic form, this important text, containing 440 illustrations, becomes accessible at an extremely reasonable price to a much broader audience than customarily studies Byzantine manuscripts... A very encouraging attempt to produce a Byzantine manuscript in electronic form. -- Catherine Holmes, Ecclesiastical History'

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

1st January 1999


Gerald J. Baldasty

More books by Gerald J. Baldasty
Author 'Like for Like'


University of Illinois Press


232 pages


Press & journalism



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