Ohio State Journal



''The Columbus Citizen-Journal'' was a daily morning newspaper in
Columbus, Ohio Columbus () is the List of US state capitals, state capital and the List of cities in Ohio, most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio. With a 2020 United States census, 2020 census population of 905,748, it is the List of United States cities ...
published by the Scripps Howard company. It was formed in 1959 by the merger of ''The Columbus Citizen'' and ''The Ohio State Journal''. It shared printing facilities, as well as business, advertising, and circulation staff in a joint operating agreement with ''
The Columbus Dispatch ''The Columbus Dispatch'' is a daily newspaper based in Columbus, Ohio. Its first issue was published on July 1, 1871, and it has been the only mainstream daily newspaper in the city since '' The Columbus Citizen-Journal'' ceased publication in 1 ...
''. The last paper printed was on December 31, 1985.


The origins of ''The Columbus Citizen-Journal'' date back to 1809 when the first printing press in central Ohio was introduced in the town of Worthington by two men from
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces ...
. This led to the establishment of the ''Worthington Intelligencer'' newspaper two years later. The paper's operations were moved to nearby Columbus in 1814 after that city became the state's new capital. The newspaper was renamed ''The Ohio State Journal'', and it became the official mouthpiece of the then-new Republican Party in the late 1850s, guided by its editor and proprietor, James M. Comly. Following Comly's military service during the
American Civil War The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 26, 1865; also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States. It was fought between the Union (American Civil War), Union ("the North") and t ...
, he returned to Columbus and rapidly established the ''Journal'' as one of the leading newspapers in Ohio. Through his editorials, Comly is considered by many to have been instrumental in helping
Rutherford B. Hayes Rutherford Birchard Hayes (; October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 19th president of the United States from 1877 to 1881, after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and as govern ...
be elected Governor of Ohio and later President of the United States. Comly left the paper in 1872 when he was named to a diplomatic post in
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state in the Western United States, located in the Pacific Ocean about from the U.S. mainland. It is the only U.S. state outside North America, the only state that is an archipelago, and the only sta ...
, but his guidance had firmly established its importance in Ohio politics and news reporting. Shortly after the start of the 20th century, the paper was purchased by the Wolfe family. In 1950, they merged ''The Ohio State Journal'' with the Dispatch Printing Company. The rival ''Columbus Citizen'' had been founded in 1899 as an independent newspaper not affiliated with a political party. In 1959, it was merged by its owner, the E. W. Scripps Company, with ''The Ohio State Journal'' to form ''The Columbus Citizen-Journal''. The ''Citizen-Journal'', which was published by Scripps in the morning Monday through Saturday, operated under a "joint operating agreement" with its rival, the afternoon '' Columbus Dispatch''. The ''C-J'' was editorially separate, but shared the physical printing plant and the distribution and advertising staffs of the ''Dispatch''. After the ''Dispatch'' decided not to renew the joint operating agreement when it expired, Scripps sold the ''Citizen-Journal'' to a Bath Township (eastern Ohio) businessman, who stated he intended to publish it past January 1, 1986. However, on December 30, 1985, he gave the ''Journal'' back to Scripps, which closed the newspaper on December 31, 1985, when the joint operating agreement with Dispatch Printing Company expired. The Dispatch Printing Company moved the ''Dispatch'' from afternoon publication to morning publication on January 1, 1986.

Controversy regarding end of circulation

The Dispatch Printing Co. and Scripps-Howard, as the Scripps company was known in the mid-1980s, blamed each other for the demise of the ''Citizen-Journal''. Under the 26-year joint operating agreement that the two companies had signed in 1959, both papers were printed on the Dispatch Printing Co. printing presses. The Dispatch Printing Co. collected advertising and circulation revenue, and paid most operating expenses for both papers, while Scripps owned ''The Citizen-Journals circulation lists and independently operated that paper's editorial department. More than three years prior to the December 31, 1985 termination of the joint operating agreement, ''Dispatch'' executives informed Scripps that they did not wish to renew the contract.Columbus Citizen Journal, Dec. 31, 1985 Scripps-Howard, a publicly traded company, was at the time one of the largest media conglomerates in the country, and owned 14 newspapers, seven TV stations, nine cable-TV companies, seven radio stations and other media. Circulation at the ''Columbus Citizen-Journal'' had been on the rise in recent years, and Scripps reported that it was a profitable property for Scripps for most of the 26-year arrangement. Scripps, however, demonstrated a pattern of closing or selling off newspapers that were in difficult competitive positions, rather than invest in them; in the previous three years, Scripps had closed such daily newspapers in Memphis and Cleveland, and subsequently the company has done the same at several other newspapers, including the ''
Pittsburgh Press ''The Pittsburgh Press'' (formerly ''The Pittsburg Press'' and originally ''The Evening Penny Press'') was a major afternoon daily newspaper published in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1884 to 1992. At one time, the ''Press'' was the second larg ...
'' in 1992 following the expiration of its own JOA with the ''
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette The ''Pittsburgh Post-Gazette'', also known simply as the PG, is the largest newspaper serving metropolitan Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Descended from the ''Pittsburgh Gazette'', established in 1786 as the first newspaper published west of the Al ...
'' (Scripps subsequently sold the rights to the ''Press'' to ''Post-Gazette'' parent
Block Communications Block Communications Inc. (also known as Blade Communications) is an American privately held holding company of various assets, mainly in the print and broadcast media, based in Toledo, Ohio. The company was founded in 1900 in New York City when ...
) and the ''
Rocky Mountain News The ''Rocky Mountain News'' (nicknamed the ''Rocky'') was a daily newspaper published in Denver, Colorado, United States, from April 23, 1859, until February 27, 2009. It was owned by the E. W. Scripps Company from 1926 until its closing. As ...
'' of Denver in 2009. In Columbus, after ''Dispatch'' executives cut off talks in 1982, Scripps-Howard chose to not purchase or build its own presses or to develop its own business operations, and instead sought more talks in an attempt to renew or replace the expiring contract. The Dispatch Printing Co. declined, and even publicly announced, in June 1983, its intentions to sever all ties with Scripps. A late-1985 Scripps strategy to sell the newspaper to independent businessman Nyles V. Reinfeld changed nothing, and ''The Columbus Citizen-Journal'' was published for the last time on December 31, 1985. In an ironic twist, after ''The Columbus Dispatch'' newspaper and other print properties were purchased from the Dispatch Printing Co. by GateHouse Media in mid-2015, it announced that the newspaper's newsroom would relocate from the paper's former headquarters at 34 S. Third Street in Columbus to a building also purchased by GateHouse at 62 E. Broad Street – a building originally constructed in 1929 as the new home of ''The Ohio State Journal''. The move was completed in February 2016.

Notable personnel

* Managing Editor Jack Keller – 1932 Olympian who was thought to have won the Bronze Medal in the 110-meter hurdles until films showed otherwise.


External links

{{DEFAULTSORT:Columbus Citizen-Journal Citizen-Journal Defunct newspapers published in Ohio