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Founded in 1878 by entrepreneurial journalist E.W. Scripps, our company has a long and proud legacy of innovation and an unwavering commitment to journalism. Explore our history in more detail below.

1878 - 2019

1878
1890s
1907
1917
1920s
1923
1935
1941
1945
1947
1962
1980
1988
1994
2008
2011
2015
2018
2019
The first issue of The Penny Press

A Company Founded on the Mission of Journalism

Nov. 2, 1878

In 1878, company founder Edward W. Scripps borrows $10,000 to start his first newspaper, the Penny Press, in Cleveland. His mission was to give a voice to the working class. In 1883, E.W. acquires control of the Cincinnati Penny Post from his brother James, later renaming it the Cincinnati Post. In 1890, he starts The Kentucky Post, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

E.W. was strong in his belief that newspapers should remain politically agnostic, stating in the first issue of the Penny Press: “We simply intend to support good men and condemn bad ones, support good measures and condemn bad ones, no matter what party they belong to. … The newspaper should simply present all the facts the editor is capable of obtaining, concerning men and measures, before the bar of the public.”

Rapid expansion of the Scripps newspaper empire

Late 1890s

By the turn of the 19th century, E.W. Scripps eyes expansion opportunities out west and launches or acquires newspapers as far west as San Diego, where he begins printing the San Diego Sun in 1892. His growing newspaper enterprise also begins to serve the growing communities of Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, Dallas, Nashville and many more.

The newsroom of The Cleveland Press

Scripps creates competitor to the Associated Press

1907

As demand for newspaper wire services grows, E.W. refuses to join the Associated Press. He views it as an anti-competitive device by conservative capitalists who, if left unchallenged, would stifle a free and open press for their own profit. Instead, in 1907 he creates United Press, later known as United Press International or UPI, to serve anyone who could afford a printing press, including his own toughest competitors. United Press is credited with the first wire delivery of photos, the first wire designed for radio, the first use of computers, the first transmission of news over satellite and the first television news service. Scripps sells UPI in 1982.

Robert P. Scripps

On the front lines of war-time coverage

May 1917

E.W. Scripps goes to Washington, D.C., to set up a headquarters to direct World War I coverage and editorial treatment. He puts his son, Robert P. Scripps, in charge and appoints him editor-in-chief. This is the beginning of the Scripps Washington Bureau, which today is an award-winning newsroom focused on investigative reporting.

Growing footprint and innovation

1920s

Throughout the 1920s and ’30s, Scripps’ footprint expands as the company acquires more newspapers. This period of innovation also births new titles including the Rocky Mountain News and Knoxville News-Sentinel, formed from mergers of local newspapers. Scripps turns its syndication service into a commercial enterprise with United Feature Syndicate. The large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication group served the company’s own newspapers and 1,000 other client publishers. United Feature may be most remembered for its purchase of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” in 1950.

Lighting the way with journalism

1923

The expanding Scripps newspaper empire introduces its first logo and motto in the 1920s. The company motto “Give light and the people will find their own way” is first used in 1922 and adopted by the company in 1923. In May 1927, the company adds the lighthouse emblem to its logo. Both the lighthouse and the motto are core to the Scripps identity today.

Paul Dixon, a radio host for WCPO

Reaching audiences through audio

1935

Scripps establishes Continental Radio, later Scripps Broadcasting Company, in August 1935. The same month, it purchases a radio station in Cincinnati, renaming it WCPO. Later that year, Scripps purchases its second radio station, WNOX, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The 1941 Spelling Bee champion (center)

Scripps takes over Spelling Bee

May 27, 1941

The 17th National Spelling Bee marks the beginning of Scripps’ official stewardship of the program. The Bee’s purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. It reaches an estimated 11 million students globally each year, providing them with the words they need for success.

Ernie Pyle in Okinawa, Japan

Ernie Pyle: Roving war correspondent

1935-1945

Ernie Pyle is a famed roving correspondent for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain before and during World War II. Starting in 1935, his beloved syndicated columns – in the form of letters home – appear in as many as 300 newspapers nationwide. In the fall of 1940, Pyle travels to London to write about the Nazi bombing of the city and the air war known as the Battle of Britain. He travels with American forces in Africa and crafts his columns to reflect the daily life of ordinary soldiers in the drudgery and terror of war. Pyle endears himself not only to readers but to millions of soldiers, ultimately winning the Pulitzer Prize for his war reporting.

WCPO launched the popular children's show, "The Uncle Al Show," in 1950.

Scripps leads the way in TV

Dec. 17, 1947

Twelve years after its expansion into radio, Scripps launches its first television station, WEWS in Cleveland. The following year, WMC-TV goes on the air in Memphis, while WCPO-TV transmits its first broadcast in 1949. Scripps’ legacy in television continues today, with an expanding footprint of television stations serving local communities.

Bob Scripps

Company creates philanthropic arm, Scripps Howard Foundation

Aug. 15, 1962

Established by Charles E. Scripps, Jack R. Howard and Edward W. Scripps II to enrich the lives of others, the Scripps Howard Foundation has served more than 1.5 million people through the generosity of the Scripps and Howard families, The E.W. Scripps Company, Scripps employees and retirees, and others. The Foundation supports philanthropic causes important to the company and the communities it serves, with an emphasis on excellence in journalism and childhood literacy. It is well known in journalism education through its generous donations that led to the creation of the E.W. Scripps Hall at Ohio University (1984) and the naming of OU’s School of Communication through a $15 million donation (2006); Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University (2002); and the announcement of two Howard Centers for Investigative Journalism at Arizona State University and University of Maryland (2018). Bob Scripps, pictured here, helped the Foundation establish its Community Fund (now the Bob Scripps Community Fund) in 1998 with a generous gift.

The cover of an internal employee magazine touts Scripps' cable expansion.

Delivering news through newspapers, radio, TV... and cable

Dec. 1, 1980

As cable grows in popularity with consumers, Scripps and Tele-Communications Inc. work to acquire, operate and develop cable television. Five months later, the company begins distribution of news briefs on cable to 30,000 Evansville, Indiana, homes.

From left to right: Former Scripps CEO Larry Lesser, then-investor relations officer Rich Boehne (now chairman of the board) and former CFO Dan Castellini on an investor road show after the June 29, 1988, IPO.

Scripps makes its initial stock offering

June 29, 1988

After a decade of continued TV station acquisition, newspaper growth and innovation, Scripps makes its initial stock offering with Nasdaq, further fueling the company’s growth. Nasdaq is a nascent stock exchange, and Scripps moves to the New York Stock Exchange in 1991. (Scripps later moves back to Nasdaq in 2018.)

Scripps innovation creates new cable networks

Dec. 1, 1994

In 1994, Scripps begins delivering lifestyle content to a growing audience of consumers who are tuning in to cable. Conceived from Americans’ love of home and garden magazines, Ken Lowe and other Scripps executives envision bringing such content to television. The successful development and launch of HGTV to 6 million U.S. homes is the start of the company’s rapid growth in cable lifestyle networks. It later launches or acquires five more networks: Food Network (1997), DIY (1998), Fine Living (2002), Shop at Home (2002) and Great American Country (2004).

Scripps spins off its cable networks

June 30, 2008

After 14 years of continued growth, Scripps spins off its cable networks and online shopping services into a separate publicly traded company, Scripps Networks Interactive.

New focus on digital, mobile operations

Sept. 19, 2011

In 2011, Scripps consolidates its digital operations across its newspaper and broadcast operations into a single organization with a focus on capturing the digital audience and advertiser opportunity on web, mobile and other emerging platforms.

Scripps exits newspapers

April 1, 2015

Scripps merges its broadcast operations with those of Journal Communications, and the two companies spin off their respective newspapers to form a new public company, Journal Media Group. Through the transaction, Scripps nearly doubles its television station portfolio and re-enters radio, acquiring 34 radio stations. It also marks Scripps’ exit of the newspaper business after 137 years.

National news network Newsy's Chicago studios

A reorganized Scripps, with a renewed focus on the consumer

Jan. 1, 2018

Scripps reorganizes the company with a new focus on delivering a multiplatform, consumer-focused strategy. The new Local Media and National Media divisions better align with the way audiences and advertisers view the business. Local Media includes television and local digital operations, while National Media oversees a portfolio of growth businesses with national reach, including national news network Newsy (acquired 2014); podcast industry leaders Midroll Media and Stitcher (acquired 2015 and 2016); the Katz over-the-air broadcast networks (acquired 2017); and Triton (acquired late 2018), the global leader in digital audio services.

Growing TV portfolio

Jan. 2, 2019

After exiting the radio business – having sold its 34 radio stations in 2018 – Scripps expands its TV portfolio with the acquisition of three ABC-affiliated television stations in Texas and Florida and 15 stations acquired from Cordillera Communications, bringing its station total to 52 in 36 markets.

A Company Founded on the Mission of Journalism

Nov. 2, 1878
The first issue of The Penny Press

In 1878, company founder Edward W. Scripps borrows $10,000 to start his first newspaper, the Penny Press, in Cleveland. His mission was to give a voice to the working class. In 1883, E.W. acquires control of the Cincinnati Penny Post from his brother James, later renaming it the Cincinnati Post. In 1890, he starts The Kentucky Post, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

E.W. was strong in his belief that newspapers should remain politically agnostic, stating in the first issue of the Penny Press: “We simply intend to support good men and condemn bad ones, support good measures and condemn bad ones, no matter what party they belong to. … The newspaper should simply present all the facts the editor is capable of obtaining, concerning men and measures, before the bar of the public.”

Rapid expansion of the Scripps newspaper empire

Late 1890s

By the turn of the 19th century, E.W. Scripps eyes expansion opportunities out west and launches or acquires newspapers as far west as San Diego, where he begins printing the San Diego Sun in 1892. His growing newspaper enterprise also begins to serve the growing communities of Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, Dallas, Nashville and many more.

Scripps creates competitor to the Associated Press

1907
The newsroom of The Cleveland Press

As demand for newspaper wire services grows, E.W. refuses to join the Associated Press. He views it as an anti-competitive device by conservative capitalists who, if left unchallenged, would stifle a free and open press for their own profit. Instead, in 1907 he creates United Press, later known as United Press International or UPI, to serve anyone who could afford a printing press, including his own toughest competitors. United Press is credited with the first wire delivery of photos, the first wire designed for radio, the first use of computers, the first transmission of news over satellite and the first television news service. Scripps sells UPI in 1982.

On the front lines of war-time coverage

May 1917
Robert P. Scripps

E.W. Scripps goes to Washington, D.C., to set up a headquarters to direct World War I coverage and editorial treatment. He puts his son, Robert P. Scripps, in charge and appoints him editor-in-chief. This is the beginning of the Scripps Washington Bureau, which today is an award-winning newsroom focused on investigative reporting.

Growing footprint and innovation

1920s

Throughout the 1920s and ’30s, Scripps’ footprint expands as the company acquires more newspapers. This period of innovation also births new titles including the Rocky Mountain News and Knoxville News-Sentinel, formed from mergers of local newspapers. Scripps turns its syndication service into a commercial enterprise with United Feature Syndicate. The large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication group served the company’s own newspapers and 1,000 other client publishers. United Feature may be most remembered for its purchase of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” in 1950.

Lighting the way with journalism

1923

The expanding Scripps newspaper empire introduces its first logo and motto in the 1920s. The company motto “Give light and the people will find their own way” is first used in 1922 and adopted by the company in 1923. In May 1927, the company adds the lighthouse emblem to its logo. Both the lighthouse and the motto are core to the Scripps identity today.

Reaching audiences through audio

1935
Paul Dixon, a radio host for WCPO

Scripps establishes Continental Radio, later Scripps Broadcasting Company, in August 1935. The same month, it purchases a radio station in Cincinnati, renaming it WCPO. Later that year, Scripps purchases its second radio station, WNOX, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Scripps takes over Spelling Bee

May 27, 1941
The 1941 Spelling Bee champion (center)

The 17th National Spelling Bee marks the beginning of Scripps’ official stewardship of the program. The Bee’s purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. It reaches an estimated 11 million students globally each year, providing them with the words they need for success.

Ernie Pyle: Roving war correspondent

1935-1945
Ernie Pyle in Okinawa, Japan

Ernie Pyle is a famed roving correspondent for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain before and during World War II. Starting in 1935, his beloved syndicated columns – in the form of letters home – appear in as many as 300 newspapers nationwide. In the fall of 1940, Pyle travels to London to write about the Nazi bombing of the city and the air war known as the Battle of Britain. He travels with American forces in Africa and crafts his columns to reflect the daily life of ordinary soldiers in the drudgery and terror of war. Pyle endears himself not only to readers but to millions of soldiers, ultimately winning the Pulitzer Prize for his war reporting.

Scripps leads the way in TV

Dec. 17, 1947
WCPO launched the popular children's show, "The Uncle Al Show," in 1950.

Twelve years after its expansion into radio, Scripps launches its first television station, WEWS in Cleveland. The following year, WMC-TV goes on the air in Memphis, while WCPO-TV transmits its first broadcast in 1949. Scripps’ legacy in television continues today, with an expanding footprint of television stations serving local communities.

Company creates philanthropic arm, Scripps Howard Foundation

Aug. 15, 1962
Bob Scripps

Established by Charles E. Scripps, Jack R. Howard and Edward W. Scripps II to enrich the lives of others, the Scripps Howard Foundation has served more than 1.5 million people through the generosity of the Scripps and Howard families, The E.W. Scripps Company, Scripps employees and retirees, and others. The Foundation supports philanthropic causes important to the company and the communities it serves, with an emphasis on excellence in journalism and childhood literacy. It is well known in journalism education through its generous donations that led to the creation of the E.W. Scripps Hall at Ohio University (1984) and the naming of OU’s School of Communication through a $15 million donation (2006); Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University (2002); and the announcement of two Howard Centers for Investigative Journalism at Arizona State University and University of Maryland (2018). Bob Scripps, pictured here, helped the Foundation establish its Community Fund (now the Bob Scripps Community Fund) in 1998 with a generous gift.

Delivering news through newspapers, radio, TV... and cable

Dec. 1, 1980
The cover of an internal employee magazine touts Scripps' cable expansion.

As cable grows in popularity with consumers, Scripps and Tele-Communications Inc. work to acquire, operate and develop cable television. Five months later, the company begins distribution of news briefs on cable to 30,000 Evansville, Indiana, homes.

Scripps makes its initial stock offering

June 29, 1988
From left to right: Former Scripps CEO Larry Lesser, then-investor relations officer Rich Boehne (now chairman of the board) and former CFO Dan Castellini on an investor road show after the June 29, 1988, IPO.

After a decade of continued TV station acquisition, newspaper growth and innovation, Scripps makes its initial stock offering with Nasdaq, further fueling the company’s growth. Nasdaq is a nascent stock exchange, and Scripps moves to the New York Stock Exchange in 1991. (Scripps later moves back to Nasdaq in 2018.)

Scripps innovation creates new cable networks

Dec. 1, 1994

In 1994, Scripps begins delivering lifestyle content to a growing audience of consumers who are tuning in to cable. Conceived from Americans’ love of home and garden magazines, Ken Lowe and other Scripps executives envision bringing such content to television. The successful development and launch of HGTV to 6 million U.S. homes is the start of the company’s rapid growth in cable lifestyle networks. It later launches or acquires five more networks: Food Network (1997), DIY (1998), Fine Living (2002), Shop at Home (2002) and Great American Country (2004).

Scripps spins off its cable networks

June 30, 2008

After 14 years of continued growth, Scripps spins off its cable networks and online shopping services into a separate publicly traded company, Scripps Networks Interactive.

New focus on digital, mobile operations

Sept. 19, 2011

In 2011, Scripps consolidates its digital operations across its newspaper and broadcast operations into a single organization with a focus on capturing the digital audience and advertiser opportunity on web, mobile and other emerging platforms.

Scripps exits newspapers

April 1, 2015

Scripps merges its broadcast operations with those of Journal Communications, and the two companies spin off their respective newspapers to form a new public company, Journal Media Group. Through the transaction, Scripps nearly doubles its television station portfolio and re-enters radio, acquiring 34 radio stations. It also marks Scripps’ exit of the newspaper business after 137 years.

A reorganized Scripps, with a renewed focus on the consumer

Jan. 1, 2018
National news network Newsy's Chicago studios

Scripps reorganizes the company with a new focus on delivering a multiplatform, consumer-focused strategy. The new Local Media and National Media divisions better align with the way audiences and advertisers view the business. Local Media includes television and local digital operations, while National Media oversees a portfolio of growth businesses with national reach, including national news network Newsy (acquired 2014); podcast industry leaders Midroll Media and Stitcher (acquired 2015 and 2016); the Katz over-the-air broadcast networks (acquired 2017); and Triton (acquired late 2018), the global leader in digital audio services.

Growing TV portfolio

Jan. 2, 2019

After exiting the radio business – having sold its 34 radio stations in 2018 – Scripps expands its TV portfolio with the acquisition of three ABC-affiliated television stations in Texas and Florida and 15 stations acquired from Cordillera Communications, bringing its station total to 52 in 36 markets.