Wednesday, August 21, 2019

How the Invention of the Telegraph Changed the News, Part II & Surprise--A Giveaway!

By Kathleen Rouser

Edward Willis Scripps was the youngest and fifth child of James Mogg Scripps from England and Julia Osborn from New York. He was born in Rushville, Illinois on June 18, 1854. James Scripps already had seven children combined from his first two marriages. Because of the investments of his older half-brothers, George and James, and also of his half-sister, Ellen, along with hard work, E. W. became a success in the newspaper industry. 

E.W. Scripps, 1912, {PD}
When E.W.’s half-brother, James, started up The Detroit News in 1873, E.W. began his career as an office boy at the newspaper. Ellen also worked with James. Then, in 1878, with half-brothers George and James financing his efforts, E.W. founded The Penny Press in Cleveland, later called The Cleveland Press. The bristly, cigar-smoking entrepreneur went on to be instrumental in financing or founding 25 more newspapers across the Midwest with Ellen’s monetary support.

His method of acquiring newspapers consisted of lending money to enterprising young publishers so that he owned more than half of the paper. He then bought up the most successful ones, often grooming local editors, believing they would be best at ferreting out the local news. However, they also needed a way to receive news beyond local sources.

External of United Press International building in Washington D.C.,
2005, Creative Commons, Wikipedia.
In last month’s article I wrote that ten New York papers banded together, but in another it recorded six newspapers to form the Associated Press. The articles do concur that it was formed in 1848. The association sought to send news westward by telegraph, beyond Washington and New York in a consolidated fashion. Eventually they sent news only to their franchise papers. International news came across the Atlantic by steamship and they sent reporters to Nova Scotia to relay news by telegraph, all before the cables were laid across the ocean. 

The Associated Press wouldn’t sell news stories to E.W. Scripps chain of newspapers, but that didn’t stop Scripps. He sought to break up the AP’s monopoly by bringing together three smaller news syndicates in 1907, the Publishers Press Association, the Scripps-McRae Press Association, and the Scripps News Association which then formed the United Press Associations. The main headquarters were located in New York City. His goal was to sell news stories from distant geographic locations to any paper that wanted to buy them, even his competitors. 

United Press office, 1922, New York, {PD}

The United Press Associations at some point began training their reporters, expecting them to write an accurate story and to hopefully be the first one there to get the scoop. Scripps regarded his forming of the United Press Associations to be his greatest service to the people of the United States. The UP continued well beyond his death in 1926. The UP sold news stories to the up and coming medium of radio broadcast news before the AP, beginning in 1935. In 1958 the UP was joined with the International News Service, which had been founded by William Randolph Hearst in 1909. Together they formed the United Press International or UPI and still exist today. Interestingly, the UPI was bought by Sun Myung Moon in 2000, founder of the Unification Church cult.

By John Schanlaub from Lafayette,IN, USA - Wallace Study-Telegraph, CC BY 2.0,

The legacy E.W. Scripps news service to small town papers has reached beyond the age of news transmitted by telegraph. The last telegram in the United States was sent in 2006 and the last official telegram in the world was sent from India in 2013. Before newspaper owners and editors learned to harness the helpfulness of telegraphy, they saw the new technology as a disruptor, much as the internet is for them today. One thing is for sure, the telegraph made up-to-date news available to the masses unlike it had ever been before.

Please leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of Rumors and Promises (continental US entrants only, please) or a Kindle copy of Rumors and Promises (available to any entrant) by Friday, August 23, 2019, along with your email address where you can be reached. Thank you!

Kathleen Rouser is the multi-published author of the 2017 Bookvana Award winner, Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and its sequel, Secrets and Wishes. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers. Kathleen wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and continues on the elusive quest to brew the perfect cup of coffee to enjoy while she is writing. Connect with Kathleen on her website at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser.

Bookvana Awards Winner

Rumors and Promises

Sophie Biddle, an heiress on the run with a child in tow, considers herself abandoned by her family and God. Wary, self-reliant Sophie is caught off guard when meeting a kind, but meddling and handsome minister at the local mercantile.

In 1900, Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, Michigan, believing he has failed God and his former flock. He works harder than ever to forget his mistake, hoping to prove himself a most pleasing servant to his new congregation and once again to God.

While Sophie seeks acceptance for the child and a measure of respect for herself, the rumors swirl about her sordid past. Should Ian show concern for Sophie's plight, he could risk everything - including his position as pastor of Stone Creek.

Now the pair must choose to trust God and forgive those who slander and gossip, or run. Will the scandals of their pasts bind them together forever, or drive both deeper into despair?


  1. And now the internet is making it possible to get news even faster. Sad to say but not to long in the future newspapers will be the thing of the past too. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom

    1. I hear what you are saying, Kim. And even though news comes faster
      on the internet,I'm going to guess it isn't accurate.

  2. Interesting historical facts how news was received. News is at our fingertips immediately these days with the internest via all the electronics. I do not need to be included in the giveaway, since I have a copy of Rumors and Promises. Blessings, Kathleen.

  3. That is for sure, Marilyn. Thanks for stopping by and leaving
    a comment though you already read Rumors and Promises!
    Blessings to you. :)

  4. Incredible to think how far technology and communications have come. I did not realize that the last telegraph sent occurred in this century; in fact, I didn't know that the telegraph was not used at all anymore, anywhere in the world! litteraegaudium(at)aol(dot)com

    1. I agree, Sarah. And I didn't know that the last telegraph
      was sent this century until I read up on this. I wonder
      if there are any lines left and whether there are
      hobbyists or historians that dabble in telegraphy.
      For a time in the last century they tried to send
      Morse code over the "wireless," what we commonly
      know as radio. I do think it was used during at least
      WWI. However, it does seem that the internet and cell
      phones have easily put communication at everyone's
      fingertips and replaced any old-fashioned means.

  5. Very interesting! I wonder what Sun Myung Moon is going to try to do with what he bought. Does your research tell of anything he's done with it? Kind of scary. I do miss getting the news in print; our local papers have little content nowadays. Thanks for the post!

    1. I really didn't see much about what the cult leader was doing
      except using it as an investment. But I agree, kind of scary
      to think they might have control over the bent of the news.
      Thanks for stopping by, Connie.

  6. Kathleen, thank you for this fascinating post!


  7. Congratulations to Connie R. for winning a copy of Rumors and Promises! I will contact
    you by email shortly. Blessings!