History of Newspapers in Beckley, West Virginia

Much of the early information for this page was taken from an article in Beckley USA, volume I, and a similar article published in the Sunday Register in 1930. Please send corrections or additional information for this page to Jeff Miller. This page was last revised on Jan. 3, 2012.

Images of some historic front pages of Beckley newspapers are here.


RALEIGH COUNTY INDEX/RALEIGH REGISTER

Beckley's first newspaper, the Raleigh County Index, was founded during a period when the town had been renamed Raleigh Court House. The exact date of the first issue, vol. I, no. 1, is not clear. One side of the four-page sheet is dated June 15, 1880, and the other, the "homeprint" side, is dated June 22, 1880. It is believed that the outside, or front and back pages, were probably printed in Cincinnati and shipped to the publisher for the date on which he expected to get out his first issue. Then perhaps the delivery of his equipment was delayed somewhat and he was not ready on that date. Rather than lose the shipment of paper for his first number, or perhaps because the second shipment did not arrive on time, that of the earlier date was used and the actual date of the issue was printed on the "home print" side of the paper.

The first publisher was Edwin Prince (1822-1891), a pioneer merchant and business man of the area. He had long felt the community was under a severe handicap without a medium to disseminate information and opinion. Prince operated the Index for a number of years as an independent newspaper, devoted wholly to the interests of Raleigh county and the nation: "whatever will contribute to the general prosperity of the country will be earnestly advocated, and whatever is inimical to her interests will be as earnestly opposed." During the years that Prince owned the pioneer publication, several well-known newspaper men of that period served as editors. It was replete with small town and countryside gossip, and furnished amusement and entertainment at a time when there was little color in the life of the community.

The Index dated Jan. 4, 1881, which is vol. 1, no. 30, shows the proprietor of the newspaper was Ash Mulligan Prince, who was the fourth son of the founder. The editor is shown as P. P. Garland.

The Index dated Apr. 23, 1885, shows Ash. M. Prince as editor.

Mike P. Beasley was editor in April 1889. W. J. Woodyard was editor in 1890.

Apparently in the late 1880s a group of Democratic politicians acquired the Index. They operated with only indifferent success.

In 1893 Robert A. Spencer (b. 1867) acquired the newspaper, which he renamed the Raleigh Register. Spencer added to the equipment the first cylinder press in Raleigh County, although it was still powered by human strength. "On publication days it was necessary to bring in a husky negro to turn the cylinder and run off the edition. Prior to this time the newspaper had been printed on a Washington hand press, or lever press." [1930 article]

In 1896, with a presidential election campaign in the offing, Republicans wanted to try their hands at influencing public opinion. So Spencer sold the paper to a partnership composed of George W. Cook and E. Edwin Tucker. They converted it into an advocate of the gold standard of coinage and the candidacy of William McKinley for President of the United States.

In October 1896 Charles C. Tucker came to Beckley to become an apprentice printer for the Raleigh Register. According to a 1975 article, Tucker was 12 years old at the time, although the same article reports he was born in Mason City, Iowa, in 1879. He died on March 2, 1967. He later owned Tucker Printing Co., which he sold to Biggs Withrow Co.

In 1899 the paper was sold to John Price Beckley and E. L. Ellison, who returned its political affiliation to the Democratic party. Under the firm name of Ellison & Smith, the paper was conducted with marked success until the fall of 1901, when Ellison chose to retire and enter a dental college, to go into the profession of his father, M. A. Ellison.

About three months after acquiring an interest in the paper, Mr. Beckley leased his share in the business to Joe L. Smith (1880-1962), then 19, who had been employed on the paper for about six years as a printer. Smith also acquired Ellison's interest in the paper within a few months after Ellison's retirement, and he became the sole owner.

The Register was enlarged from a seven-column folio sheet to a six-column quarto, all home print. To make this change a new cylinder press, together with a folding machine and other equipment, were purchased. A one-cylinder gasoline engine with a maze of shafting and belts drove the press, the folder, and a job printing press.

Smith later served two terms on the Beckley City Council, three terms as Mayor, and was elected to the State Senate in 1908. He remained in sole control of the Register for ten years.

The Sept. 1, 1910, Raleigh Register shows Joe L. Smith as editor and owner. It says the newspaper is published every Thursday morning.

In 1911 Smith sold the Register to a group of prominent Beckley Democrats: M. J. Meadows, W. W. Hume, George W. Williams, I. C. Prince, W. H. McGinnis, C. C. Rose, George W. Thompson. The owners incorporated the business as The Raleigh Register, Inc., under a charter from the secretary of state dated Jan. 2, 1912. For fourteen months the paper floundered financially, as it was lacking capable business management. At this time it was edited by George W. Williams.

The Dec. 21, 1911, Raleigh Register lists George W. Williams as publisher and reports “sworn circulation 2,550.”

The July 25, 1912, Raleigh Register shows L(ouis) A. Fraser as editor.

In the latter part of 1912 Charles Hodel returned to Beckley to visit his future wife. He had spent the year in New Mexico, part of the time as managing editor of the Roswell Morning News. Hodel was offered jobs by both weekly newspapers, but accepted the job of editor of the Register along with management of the corporation owning it. Hodel, then 23, went to work on December 15, 1912.

Raleigh Register The office and plant were located in a frame structure on the site of the old Bank of Raleigh building. In another fifteen months the newspaper was asked to move, that the bank might build on the lot. But before the move could be completed, fire wiped out the old building and the printing plant on the night of April 1, 1914.

Publication was suspended for thirty days, until the second week in May 1914, when a new plant was assembled in temporary basement quarters on Heber Street. (A 1930 article has: "It was the only time, so far as this writer can ascertain, that The Register has missed a scheduled issue of the paper.")

The Oct. 22, 1914, Raleigh Register shows Charles Hodel as editor and manager.

In 1915 the bank moved into its new home and the newspaper plant was welcomed back to occupy the basement. On July 29, 1915, the Register reported, “Work on the removal of the printing plant of The Raleigh Register from the temporary quarters it has occupied under the Union Cash store for the past sixteen months will begin Thursday morning. The next issue of the Register will be prnted in its new home in the basement of the new Bank of Raleigh Building, corner Main and Fayette streets.”

In 1918 Hodel (by now a substantial holder of stock in The Raleigh Register. Inc.) and associates, made a deal to take over the "Davis Lot" on Main Street. On that lot stood two little log houses, occupied by Grandma Davis and daughter Alice. The little huts served as headquarters for a Federal force that occupied Beckley during the Civil War, with Majors William McKinley and Rutherford B. Hayes in command. In September 1920 the new quarters were occupied.

On Oct. 16, 1919, the image of Sir Walter Raleigh was inserted between the words Raleigh and Register in the front page title.

In the fall of 1921 the paper changed from weekly to semi-weekly publication. Hodel then relinquished the editorship, but continued as general manager of the corporation. Albert Sidney Johnston, Jr., the publisher of the Monroe Watchman in Union, was made news editor.

On June 6, 1923, a regular Sunday morning issue was added. An edition of 1,500 copies was printed the first Sunday; by mid-afternoon 1,350 had been sold, many by newsboys on the streets. The Sunday Register was well received and became a fixture at once. The Register then appeared on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sunday mornings.

The competitive situation of Beckley Printing Company was improved and gave some concern to Hodel and Johnston who had by now come into full stock control of The Raleigh Register, Inc. For another two years, however, they maintained their thrice-weekly pace. As advertising began finally to gravitate to the daily Post-Herald thrice-weekly publishers resolved to make a fight for first place. On June 6, 1928, the Register was made a daily also.


RALEIGH HERALD

In the presidential election year of 1900 Republicans of the county launched The Raleigh Herald. Its first editor was C. E. Shafer, a Methodist minister. Financial backers were T. K. Scott and J. A. Ewart. Prior to the printing of the first edition, the printer, Charles C. Tucker, rode through the county on horseback to sign up the first 400 subscribers. The first issue was printed on June 8, 1900, according to a 1950 account.

This arrangement lasted little more than a year. It gave way to the formation of the Herald Publishing Company, with Robert A. Spencer, one of the early editors of the Register, as editor and manager. But the company and change of management were both short-lived.

In less than a year Dr. J. A. Campbell bought the paper, and within just a few months, on March 20, 1903, sold to Thomas J. Honaker. The price was $1700, which Honaker raised through a loan at the Bank of Raleigh, endorsed by 19 fellow Republicans of the county. Honaker became editor, but was never able to pay the note which he gave for the purchase price.

The next year ownership passed to G. W. Richardson, with Honaker continuing as editor.

Raleigh Herald On July 5, 1906, George C. McIntosh of Fayetteville bought the Herald from Richardson, and put R. H. "Chisel Chin" Brown in charge as editor. At that time the masthead was changed to "The official organ of the Republican Party of Raleigh county."

The July 5, 1906, Raleigh Herald is vol. 8, no. 12, and shows G. C. McIntosh as publisher and R. H. Brown as editor. The newspaper was published every Thursday.

In February 1907, J. Jerome Haddox replaced Brown as editor.

Haddox was succeeded by Louis A. "Pap" Fraser. Fraser only stayed for a few months and was succeeded by E. S. Hatfield.

Fraser subsequently returned. In editorials, Fraser repeatedly demanded that pig sties be banned inside the corporate limits and he complained bitterly about the practice on the part of some individuals of putting bells on cows quartered on vacant lots in town because the clanging of the bells was keeping people awake at night.

Another editor after Fraser and Hatfield was Cal F. Young.

In 1909, Samuel Dixon (1855-1934), President of the New River Company, purchased the Herald. Dixon had previously acquired an interest in the Charleston Daily Mail and ownership of the Fayette Journal. T. G. Williams, an Oxford graduate previously employed as an auditor for the New River Company, was made editor.

On May 26, 1910, Charles Hodel met Dixon in Fayetteville, and an agreement was reached there for him to become editor and manager of the Herald. Hodel had not been paid by the Grafton paper, where he had worked, for the past four weeks.

Hodel's tenure continued for 18 months. In late November 1911, Miss E. Winifred Brown, sister of R. H. Brown, the earlier editor, bought the paper from Dixon. Hodel left, as he could not bear the thought of working for a woman, according to a 1975 article. Only a few weeks after taking over the paper from Dixon, Miss Brown died of "galloping consumption." Ownership of the paper reverted to Dixon and, in turn, was transferred to W. E. Deegans of Glen Jean, from whom it was soon acquired by E. L. Ellison.

During this period, Daniel P. Gadd moved over from Hinton and for a time edited the Herald.

On Nov. 7, 1921, the Raleigh Herald changed ownership. Dr. E. L. Ellison, who had owned and edited the paper for ten years, sold it to the Raleigh Herald, Inc., with Ralph G. Hess, formerly with the Raleigh Register, as the new editor and manager. [The preceding information is from a 1921 news account. A later history reported, “About 1918 the Herald was sold to the Winding Gulf Operators Association. Ralph G. Hess, who had come to Beckley from Washington Court House, Ohio, by way of Morgantown, was employed as editor and manager.”]

Hess was succeeded by Leonadas M. Dorsey. In 1922 Dorsey inaugurated semi-weekly publication, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Between the Register and Herald, Beckley was virtually enjoying daily newspaper service.


BECKLEY MESSENGER

In the fall of 1909, a third weekly newspaper, the Beckley Messenger, began publication. It set up a third newspaper printing plant in the town. Dr. William H. Sampson, a physician, was the prime mover in its establishment. L. A. Fraser was editor.

On May 17, 1910, the Messenger reported, “Our patrons are entitled to an explanation of the failure to issue The Messenger last Friday, and the delay of a day in the publication of this issue, which was due to the fact that we have been installing the new cylinder press illustrated above, which has a capacity for printing 2,000 copies per hour, and the purchase of which was rendered necessary by our growing circulation, which has reached a total of 4,250 copies each issue—and the first issue of The Messenger as a semi-weekly was published last January, with a circulation of less than 300 copies.”

The newspaper's plant was destroyed in the great fire of April 1912, which leveled much of the town's business district. After the fire, editor E. L. Ellison placed a notice in the Register saying that the Messenger expected to resume publishing within 30 days. He said the subscriber list was lost in the fire, and asked subscribers of the paper to contact him. The Messenger was subsequently printed from the plant of the Herald, until Jan. 1, 1918. According to a history of Beckley newspapers, E. Winifred Brown, owner of the Herald, took over ownership of the Messenger after the fire.

On April 28, 1914, the Messenger reported on the Eccles mine disaster, mentioning that among the victims was E. O. Ellison, brother of E. L. Ellison, editor of the Messenger.

The final issue of the Messenger was dated Jan. 1, 1918. On that date the newspaper stated, “The Beckley Messenger after more than nine years publication, as a newspaper, will be discontinued with this publication and no further issues will appear. The principal reason for discontinuing its publication is due to other business interests in which its owner and editor are engaged which require, and have required for the past twelve months, practically his entire time.”

The microfilm of the Beckley Messenger has issues from March 18, 1910, to January 1, 1918.


EVENING POST

Beckley Evening Post The Evening Post began operations on Feb. 12, 1924. It was Beckley's first daily newspaper. According to a Beckley USA article, Francis T. Hunter, national tennis figure and then also head of the Westchester County (N. Y.) chain of newspapers, was the prime mover. Associated with him was Edgar H. Adsit of Norfolk. According to a 1975 article, stock in the venture was owned by many prosperous citizens of Raleigh County, most of them Republicans. They took over the Beckley Printing company plant of Charles C. Tucker, which had been doing commercial printing only. Newspaper printing equipment was added to that of the Tucker plant, and publication of the 6-day evening daily was under way.

The masthead of the Evening Post of Thursday, May 29, 1924, shows Francis T. Hunter, editor; E. H. Adsit, Business Manager; and C. C. Tucker, Superintendent. It has "Published every business day by Beckley Printing Co., Inc." The paper is volume I, no. 91, and consists of eight pages. A notice on the front page advises that the paper will not be published tomorrow in observance of Memorial Day.

The photograph taken in front of the Evening Post shows McCartney, C. C. Tucker, superintendent; Williams, foreman; Francis T. Hunter, President; R. G. Hess, editor; H. E. Adsit, solicitor.


POST-HERALD

In early 1926 the backers of the Post bought the Herald and combined the two under the name of The Post-Herald. The Post-Herald was published with the same format as the Evening Post. The circulation of the first issue of the Post-Herald was 6131.

The newspaper of May 31, 1929, is titled The Post-Herald. It is volume 6, no. 94, and includes under the title, “A Consolidation of the Evening Post and the Raleigh Herald.” It also has the slogan, “Raleigh County's Pioneer Daily Newspaper ... In More Homes Every Day.”


BECKLEY POST-HERALD AND RALEIGH REGISTER

Beginning in June 1928 there were two competing daily newspapers in Beckley. Both sides spent money pretty freely for circulation and to attract advertising revenue. In twelve months it became obvious that the field was simply not large enough for competing daily newspapers, operated in separate plants, to survive. In the late spring of 1929 merger talks began. A deal was worked out by which Hodel took over all assets of Beckley Printing Company as of September 1, 1929. At once the Beckley Newspapers Corporation was organized under a West Virginia charter, and the assets of both the earlier corporations were assigned to it, and both were dissolved.

Hodel became president and general manager of the new corporation and publisher of both the Post-Herald and Raleigh Register. Robert Moss French was made first vice president; Dr. Robert Wriston, second vice president; A. S. Johnston, secretary; C. Marshall Johnston, treasurer.

The first editor of the Post-Herald under the new corporation was Edward Sergeant from the Mullens Advocate.

On June 29, 1930, the Sunday Register reported that Sunday circulation "is now nearly 7,000." The newspaper reported the heads of departments at the time were: Charles Hodel, general manager; A. S. Johnston, Jr., managing editor; Dorsey E. Biggs, advertising manager; C. M. Johnston, manager of commercial printing department; B. F. Stout, circulation manager; R. L. Sadler, mechanical superintendent.

In the first issue of the Post-Herald under his direction Hodel, a Democrat, published a signed pledge that he would never at any time, under any circumstance, exercise any influence whatever on the time-honored Republican policies of the paper. "That pledge came to haunt me now and then," he now says, "but it was kept to the letter, and has long since become so firmly embedded as custom and practice that no question has ever arisen."

In 1930 Ted G. McDowell was brought to Beckley from the Louisville Courier-Journal to become editor of the Post-Herald. McDowell was one of the first editors in the area to fight Roosevelt and the New Deal in 1933. In 1930 McDowell began promoting a major project of the Post-Herald, Mac's Toy Fund, using the personal column, Top O' The Morning, to solicit funds.

Sidney Johnston continued as editor of the Register until his death in May 1936. He was succeeded by J. Raiford Watkins, who had previously served as chief of the Charleston Bureau of The Associated Press. Watkins in turn was succeeded in 1941 by W. Randolph Norton, who moved to the Charlotte Observer in December 1946. He was followed as editor by Thomas F. Stafford of Grafton, who moved to the Charleston Gazette in Charleston in December 1954. At that point C. J. ("Needy") McQuade became editor.

As Beckley and the nation began moving out of the economic depression in 1934, it became manifest that the Main Street quarters occupied since 1920 would soon be inadequate. As there was no possibility of enlarging them and maintaining reasonable efficiency of operation, Hodel began to cast about for another site.

Because circulations of both the Post-Herald and Register were now rapidly expanding, and paper consumption was mounting fast, it seemed necessary to secure a location so situated that sidetrack delivery of carloads of paper could be had, yet the plant must have convenient access to the retail business district of Beckley.

Beckley Newspapers Those requirements took the new plant to its present Prince Street location in 1936 (or 1934) -- two stories below street level, one above. The new home was also outgrown by 1950, and the operation was expanded to a second, somewhat larger one of five stories -- three below street level and two above -- in 1952.

The 1935 West Virginia Blue Book shows Ted McDowell as editor of the Post-Herald, with a circulation of 5000, and A. S. Johnson as editor of the Raleigh Register, with a circulation of 5,400. Sunday circulation of the combined newspapers is shown as 11,000. The Post-Herald is shown as Republican, and the Raleigh Register as Democratic.

Roy Lee Harmon (1900-1981) served as sports editor of the Beckley Post-Herald from 1937 until 1946 and worked for the Raleigh Register in later years. He held the post of state Poet Laureate for several periods between 1937 and 1979.

In 1946 Beckley Newspapers Corporation opened WCFC, the first FM radio station in West Virginia. Despite promotion of the station in the newspapers and high-quality programming, the station failed to attract a sizable audience, in part because FM radios were not widely in use during this period. On November 26, 1950, an AM station, limited to daytime broadcasting, was added. Both the AM and FM stations ceased broadcasting on June 30, 1951.

On December 27, 1949, McDowell, still the editor of the Post-Herald, died when he succumbed to a heart attack in a Charleston hotel, where he had gone for a brief rest. Eugene L. Scott succeeded McDowell.

On Aug. 26, 1950, The Beckley Post-Herald published its Centennial Edition, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the newspaper and the hundredth anniversary of the creation of Raleigh County. The outstanding edition, over 100 pages long, featured many historical articles.

The 1956 West Virginia Blue Book shows Eugene L. Scott as editor of the Post-Herald and C. J. McQuade as editor of the Raleigh Register.

In January 1957 Eugene L. Scott resigned as Post-Herald editor to join the staff of Sen. Chapman Revercomb, and Emile Jacob Hodel, son of Charles Hodel, succeeded him as editor.

In April 1962, C. J. McQuade resigned as editor of the Register, and was replaced by John Charles Hodel, a son of Charles Hodel.

In 1965 George Warren Hodel became president of Beckley Newspapers Corporation.

On Feb. 5, 1965, Charles Hodel was incapacitated by a stroke.

In the 1960s and 1970s the Beckley Post-Herald had a conservative editorial policy and the Raleigh Register had a liberal editorial policy.

In October 1963 the progressive Raleigh Register recommended voters reject a bond issue for new schools, which it said would result in the construction of a new segregated high school. A local minister, asking voters to approve the levy, called editor John Hodel “atheistic” on a radio broadcast. City Editor Roy Lee Harmon wrote on Oct. 23, 1963, “Hatred had a field day in Beckley yesterday.”

In an editorial on Oct. 22, 1973, the Register called for the impeachment of Richard Nixon, saying, "Richard Nixon has finally made one thing crystal clear: The President of the United States is a mad man. And, if democracy is to survive in this nation, Richard Nixon must be removed from office, whatever the cost."

Charles Hodel was instrumental in obtaining for Beckley an airport and the outdoor drama Honey in the Rock. An editorial advocated changing the name of the state of West Virginia to Kanawha, because, it argued, many people in other states believed that West Virginia was a part of Virginia, rather than a separate state. During this period, the Post-Herald enjoyed a larger circulation than the Register, as was the case for the morning newspaper in most cities, although the Register claimed a larger circulation within the city of Beckley.

In 1967 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Beckley Newspapers Corporation, overturning a judgment in favor of a candidate for Clerk of the Criminal and Circuit Courts of Raleigh County, who claimed he had been libeled by the newspaper during the election campaign. The case, known as Beckley Newspapers Corp. vs Hanks, became an important expansion of First Amendment protection for newspapers.

On June 16, 1973, Charles Hodel died.

In July 1976 Beckley Newspapers Corporation was sold to Clay Communications of Charleston. In 1997, John Hodel explained, "After my father died, we offspring were unable to work together harmoniously, and decided to sell the newspapers, and go our separate ways." R. Sidney Crim was named general manager. Walter C. Massey was appointed editor of the Beckley Post-Herald and Bob Wills was named editor of the Raleigh Register.

In 1980, Crim resigned and was succeeded by Charles K. Connor Jr., executive editor of the Charleston Daily Mail.

In April 1981 Connor became president of Beckley Newspapers, Inc.

In May 1981, Wills retired as editor of the Raleigh Register and was succeeded by Jim Wood.

On June 4, 1982, Beckley Newspapers officially opened its new building on North Kanawha St. The April 19, 1982, Raleigh Register was the first edition to run in the new plant.


REGISTER-HERALD

On December 28, 1984, the Raleigh Register ceased publication, and on Monday, Dec. 31, 1984, the morning newspaper was renamed the Register/Herald (later the Register-Herald). In a column on Dec. 2, 1984, announcing the end of the Register, publisher Charles Connor wrote that the circulation of the Post-Herald was more than 24,000, that the Register circulation was 9500, and that Sunday circulation was more than 35,000.

In 1987 Connor retired and was succeeded by Samuel E. Hindman.

In 1987 Clay Communications sold its four newspapers, including the Register-Herald, to Lincoln Publishing Co. of Des Plaines, Iowa, an affiliate of Thomson Newspapers Inc. of Toronto.

In May 1990 Hindman was succeeded by Robert R. Hammond.

About 2000, Thomson Newspapers sold most of its newspapers, and the Register-Herald was acquired by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. of Birmingham.

In April 1997, publisher Hammond named Dawn A. Keys editor of the Register-Herald. She had served as interim editor since February 1997 and replaced Dan Page, who resigned after being appointed director of communications for Gov. Cecil Underwood.

Larry E. Martin was editor of the Register-Herald from the late 1990s until March 11, 2005.

He was succeeded temporarily by Dawn A. Dayton, who was also managing editor of the paper.

On Aug. 21, 2005, the Register-Herald reported that Carl J. "Butch" Antolini was named executive editor of Beckley Newspapers Inc. At this time, Frank Wood was publisher and general manager. Circulation of the Register-Herald was reported as 28,694 weekdays and 30,071 Sundays.

In 2005, Beckley Newspapers also published the Register-Herald, Fayette Tribune, Montgomery Herald, Post Report, and the Wyoming County Report.

In November 2013 the Register-Herald instituted a pay wall for its web site register-herald.com.

The web site of the Register-Herald is at www.register-herald.com.


INDEPENDENT OBSERVER

From 1933 to 1942, the Independent Observer, a pro-labor Democratic newspaper, published weekly from offices on McCreery Street. W. A. Stanley was editor and owner. Norman Stoken was editor in 1938.


BECKLEY DAILY NEWS

In 1946 and 1947, the Beckley Daily News was published by Biggs-Johnston-Withrow, Inc. Editors included F. D. Walton and Harold Riffe. (Riffe was a popular Raleigh Register columnist, founder of the "Bug Dust" column.)

The Dec. 8, 1946, Beckley Sunday News is vol. I, no. 330. The front page has "The fastest growing newspaper in the state. It represents the people of the State of West Virginia." Articles from the United Press are included. The publisher and editor is Lynnewood Celdon. Managing editor is F. D. Walton. City Editor is Nolan E. Isom. Advertising Manager is Roy O. Wray. Classified Manager is Carlos Harmon.


DAILY NEWS-DIGEST

Nigel Maxey contributed information to this section.

In December 1950 composing room employees of Beckley Newspapers Corp. went on a lengthy strike, seeking recognition of the International Typographical Union. The ITU sponsored competing newspapers in Beckley, Charleston, and Huntington.

The Beckley newspaper, the Daily News-Digest, was a tabloid published mornings, Monday through Friday. The first issue was April 9, 1952. Charles R. Houston was editor.

The July 11, 1952, issue is Vol. I, No. 68. It is a 16-page tabloid with the motto, "Your News - Brief, Lively, and Complete." It shows A. M. Barr as publisher. The newspaper is published by the New Newspaper Publishing Co., 315 Prince St., Beckley. A classified ad says, "Want boys to deliver the Daily News-Digest. New independent routes are being started every week. See Mr. Harmon, Circulation Manager."

Dave Clower recalls this about the Daily News-Digest:

The newspaper office was located on Prince Street, on the same side as the state liquor store and in the same block, just a few storefronts away. The office staff included the editor, a few writers (maybe only 3 or 4), advertising sales staff, circulation department and some clerical workers. Possibly 15-20 total employees. The newspaper was printed in Charleston and shipped to Beckley for further distribution to carriers (that is where I came in, I was a District Manager. An impressive sounding title, but I merely dropped off bundles of newspapers to carriers for their routes).

The editor and writers were diligent in providing good local reporting and in many instances, beat the BNC papers to some stories. I believe the Daily News Digest broke the story that Robert Byrd had been a member of the KKK. In any event, I know for sure it was a front page story at the Daily News Digest. In my opinion the Daily News Digest did not cause a dent in the BNC newspapers, circulation was thin and newspaper boys were not interested in covering a big territory with only a few customers. Advertising was sparse and I am sure the ITU had to provide significant financial support for the operation.

Sometime in the late 1952 ITU moved the printing to Indianapolis, IN and from there it was put on the train and shipped to WV then trucked to Beckley. I could sense to feeling of defeat at the Daily News Digest and left in December 1952. It helped with some college expense and gave me some insight into the workings of a newspaper.

Clower believes the Daily News-Digest folded in 1954.

The Fall 1954 Journalism Quarterly has: "Altogether, I. T. U. since 1951 has lunched nine new dailies in cities where members of the union have been on strike against existing papers. One, the national Labor's Daily, is not included here because of its specialized field. Another, the Beckley, W. Va. News-Digest, has suspended."

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