Top 25 Movers and Shapers: E(and)P Selects 'Most Influential Newspaper People of the 20th Century'

By Mitchell, Greg; Yahn, Steve | Editor & Publisher, October 30, 1999 | Go to article overview

Top 25 Movers and Shapers: E(and)P Selects 'Most Influential Newspaper People of the 20th Century'


Mitchell, Greg, Yahn, Steve, Editor & Publisher


This commemorative issue is dedicated to all the newspaper people who collectively have told the tale of the 20th century, those who banged on typewriters, tallied the day's circulation count, and hawked papers on street corners - day by day, deadline by deadline, and, sometimes, drink by drink.

Editor (and) Publisher magazine, appearing weekly since 1884, was in the thick of things right from the start of the century, when newspapers reigned unchallenged in the media world. Radio came onto the scene, then television, cable TV, and now the Internet. But throughout the century, newspapers were not only the source for household words, but the champion of freedom of the press. The Fourth Estate usually did its duty as watchdog of government, from Walter Lippmann's powerful, elegant prose, which influenced every president from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson, to the potent Watergate investigative work of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Whatever the state of the industry, it's always been fertile soil for legends and firmly planted landmarks. This special issue features those judged by E (and) P to have been the 25 most influential people in the newspaper business in the 20th century. Our goal was to emphasize innovators, trendsetters, and trailblazers. Thus, Joseph Patterson is among the "Top 25" for skillfully building his tabloid New York Daily News into the nation's first daily with a circulation of more than 1 million. Louella Parsons takes her place as the first Broadway-to- Hollywood entertainment gossip columnist to draw a mass audience. And, out of Emporia, Kansas, there was William Allen White, a "country editor" with worldwide influence, especially when it came to defending First Amendment rights of the press. White, in one of his many memorable lines, wrote, "Nothing fails so rapidly as a cowardly paper, unless it is a paper that confuses courage with noise."

To settle on the "Top 25," E (and) P first checked in with historians, academicians, editors, and publishers around the country for their opinions. Then came the daunting task for the magazine's in-house panel. Our list of 25, in fact, contains 30 names. Woodward and Bernstein are paired on this list, just as they shared many bylines. E.W. Scripps and Roy Howard are joined, as they were in the organization that still bears their names. …

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