Press: Bottom Lines

Troubled second newspapers

When the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain threatened two years ago to fold its longtime flagship Cleveland Press, at which E.W. Scripps launched his empire in 1878, Joseph E. Cole, 67, a Democratic Party activist and millionaire merchant, stepped in. Cole insisted that a local owner could better compete with the Newhouse-owned rival Plain Dealer to keep Cleveland from becoming a one-newspaper town. With the same confidence that had lifted him from poverty as the youngest of a peddler's eight children, Cole spent $1 million acquiring the Press and an estimated $18 million to $20 million sustaining and transforming it, launching...

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