One of New Jersey's great institutions, The Newark News, founded in 1873 by Wallace Scudder, and operated by the Scudder family for most of its life, died on August 31, 1972.
It had been for most of the 20th century until its demise, the newspaper of record in New Jersey and a highly respected news medium that wielded considerable political power and ranked with the country's best newspapers.
To many, myself included, the Newark News was "The New York Times of New Jersey" and a publishing institution that dominated the State's publishing scene.
Before I go into what the Newark News was about, I'd like to go into its death, because this era looms freshest in my memory.
The beginning of the end came as the 98-year old paper was already falling into a sharp decline, circulation wise, for the first time in its history being surpassed in both daily and Sunday circulation by the Newark Star-Ledger.
The 'clincher' was in February 1971 when the newsroom, which had never been (union) organized, voted to go out on strike. They walked out in May 1971.
It took until April 1972 for the strike to be settled, and for the News to resume publication.
But by then it was too late.
The paper's owners, Media General, which had bought the paper two years earlier from the founding Scudder family, had already sold the Sunday News, along with its presses, to the Star-Ledger.
The sale to Media General in 1970 had been made by Edward M. Scudder and Richard Scudder as co-owners. Edward was president. Richard was publisher.
During the lengthy strike, many of the Newark News top staffers had found jobs or were lured to jobs elsewhere. Longtime News readers had gotten used to the Star-Ledger for their daily news needs, and many large advertisers had opted for keeping their ads with what seemed like a more reliable Star-Ledger, which by now had a huge daily circulation of over 400,000.
|Howard Garis, reporter, who created the Uncle Wiggily character as
a News reporter. His Uncle Wiggily books later sold in the millions,
and the Wiggily character appeared daily in the News for nearly four
decades. He also wrote the first 32 volumes in the Tom Swift series,
which he wrote under the pen name of Victor Appleton.|
|Lillian McNamara (Garis). The first woman reporter on the
News, she met and married a fellow News reporter, Howard Garis. She
helped launch the Bobbsey Twins series and wrote some of the early volumes.|
|Richard Reeves, writer for the News from 1963 to 1965. Then
one year at the Herald Tribune and on to the New York Times as Chief
Political Correspondent. His best-selling books included
"President Kennedy: Profile of Power" (1993), and President Nixon:
Alone in the White House" (2001).|
|Arthur Sylvester, who headed the Newark News bureau in Washington,
D. C., who in 1960 joined the Kennedy administration as Assistant Secretary
of Defense for Public Affairs.|
|George Oslin, leading reporter, who later became Public Relations
head of Western Union, and in 1933 invented the Singing Telegram.|
|Lute Pease, News editorial cartoonist and winner of the 1949
Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. 6|
| John T. Cunningham 7,
reporter and feature writer for the Newark News, currently president of the
New Jersey Historical Society and widely recognized as the State
historian. He has written the definitive book on Newark's history
("Newark" 1966, N. J. Historical Society) and a score of books and
hundreds of articles on New Jersey.|
|Willie Ratner, nationally-acclaimed boxing writer for the News for
nearly 50 years. 8|
| Joseph Katz, ten years a reporter at the News, who left to become
press secretary to New Jersey Governor Richard Hughes from 1936 to
1971. He'd cut his newspaper-reporting teeth at the Dorf Feature
Service (of which I was a founding member in 1938) as a stringer for Kearny
Charley Bowers, editorial cartoonist in the 1930s. Before joining the Newark News, Bowers had done editorial cartoons for The Jersey Journal, The Chicago Star, and The
Chicago Tribune. In earlier careers, he had been a circus performer (at age 6), a jockey, had acted in silent films, toured vaudeville, and directed plays. He had also written, produced, and directed about 300 Mutt and Jeff animated cartoons between 1916 and 1926, released nationally.
The stately gray building at 215 Market Street, in which the news happenings of the city, county, state, and world were daily assembled and printed, is today again bustling with life as The Renaissance Towers, a Downtown Newark apartment and condominium complex, which was recently renovated.
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