In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section E. W. Scripps

  • Introduction
  • Essays
  • Scholarly Theses and Dissertations
  • Collections
  • Contextual Studies
  • Politics and News Coverage

Communication E. W. Scripps
Gerald J. Baldasty, Robert C. Richards
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 October 2012
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0096


Edward Willis Scripps (b. 1854–d. 1926) was one of the leading newspaper publishers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and, along with William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, is often seen as one of the key pioneers of 20th-century American journalism. Scripps’s chief long-term contribution was establishing the modern newspaper as a business. As the prototype of the modern publisher, Scripps concentrated on long-range planning, performance goals, budgets, circulation methods, revenue sources, and a broad range of other business concerns. His career and legacy were shaped by creating a centrally managed and economically efficient chain of newspapers tailored to working-class readers. Scripps established nearly forty newspapers, a telegraph news service (United Press Associations), a news features syndicate (Newspaper Enterprise Association), and a science news service (Science Service). Scripps provided news coverage and advocacy designed to improve the lives of ordinary people in the United States. As such, his newspapers embraced a broad Progressive political agenda, supporting the rights of workers and a host of social and political reforms (including pure food and drug laws, an end to child labor, and direct election of US senators). Scripps was a complex individual, creative and very skillful in work but often cantankerous in personal interactions; the latter left many fissures in the extended Scripps family. He was also an active thinker and writer who penned hundreds of essays on journalism and American life and politics.


This section is grouped into two parts: Early Biographies and Later Biographies. The early biographies, written by people who knew him and who worked for him, provide a “great man” focus, noting his many achievements and capturing well his big personality. The later biographies are more research oriented and provide a somewhat more balanced view of his accomplishments.

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