Abstract: Combating Economic Decline during the Great Depression: Newspaper Chain Scripps Howard's Steps to Financial Recovery

Ed Adams


Newspapers experienced a loss of revenue during the Great Depression. This paper examines one newspaper chain, Scripps Howard, to see how the chain weathered the financial downturn, and to assess the decisions and steps taken toward recovery. During the 1920s and 1930s Scripps Howard was the largest newspaper chain in the United States in terms of newspaper properties owned, and second only to the Hearst chain in total circulation. Several decisions contributed to the chain's ability to recover from the economic downturn. The chain changed the editorial-to-advertising ratio and implemented standardized formulas for all newspapers, allowed individual newspaper business managers to cut salaries, and created joint operating agreements with competing newspapers in money-losing markets. In sum, marketplace decreases and early decision making by executives kept the chain profitable.