Post-Standard celebrates 100 years
At the time of its origination, there were about a half-dozen competing newspapers.

By John Doherty

One hundred years ago, on Jan. 1, 1899, Syracusans woke up and found a new newspaper on their doorsteps - the first issue of The Post-Standard.

Formed by the merger of the Syracuse Standard and the Syracuse Post, The Post-Standard was the latest entry into a crowded field of about a half-dozen newspapers that battled to dominate news coverage and shape public opinion in Syracuse at the end of the 19th century.

The combined newspaper also would be one of only two Syracuse dailies to survive the feverish competition that devoured many of its journalistic rivals.

In the final decades of the 19th century, Syracuse had no fewer than five daily newspapers: the Standard, the county's oldest daily newspaper, and the Courier in the morning; and the Evening Herald, the Journal and the Star in the afternoon. The city also was served by numerous weekly, biweekly, semiweekly and monthly newspapers.

Most of the newspapers were aligned with various political parties and factions that fought for control of city and state government. A former liberal newspaper that opposed slavery and strongly supported abolitionist causes, the Standard had evolved into the city's leading Republican newspaper.

However, the Standard didn't have the right Republican tone for Frank W. Palmer, a former congressman and Washington, D.C., printer.

Palmer, a strong supporter of former President Benjamin Harrison, was named the Post's first editor, and the newspaper made its debut on July 10, 1894.

A few weeks later, the Post bought the Syracuse Weekly Express.

The Post offered fresh viewpoints that appealed to many of Syracuse's wealthier and more influential residents who invested in the new newspaper.

At the end of 1894, Palmer left the Post, and the editorship was turned over to William A. Jones. In 1898, Walter E. Gardner arrived in Syracuse, bought a one-third interest in the Post, and became its editor and publisher.

By 1898, the Courier had stopped publishing in the morning and became an afternoon newspaper. That left the ideologically allied Post and Standard - the two remaining morning newspapers - competing for the same readers. Realizing that together they could produce a better and more profitable paper, the owners of the Standard and the Post began merger negotiations.

The talks ended with the formation of The Post-Standard Co.

Heading the new company was James J. Belden, president of the Post, and Francis Hendricks, president of the Standard. Belden was president of the new company and Hendricks the vice president.

The combined newspaper operated out of the Post's newer offices at 136 E. Genesee St. downtown, and Gardner became its first editor and publisher.

In 1901, The Post-Standard began publishing a Sunday edition. However, the Sunday newspaper didn't catch on, and within a year it stopped. An attempt to bring it back in 1904 also failed. In 1917, the Sunday edition was brought back and stayed.

In 1906, Jerome D. Barnum, a local high school student, was hired to report local school news. A few years later, he resigned and enrolled in Cornell University. Barnum returned to the paper a few years later and went to work in The Post-Standard's business department and quickly became advertising manager.

In 1911, Barnum bought a portion of The Post-Standard Co. In 1915, he bought Gardner's 33 percent share of the company and became the new publisher.

Remaining publisher for 27 years, Barnum oversaw The Post-Standard's growth in the early first half of the 20th century.

Under Barnum, the mission of the newspaper was driven more by news, rather than a political agenda.

Barnum retired in 1942 and was replaced by Ernest L. Owens.

In 1939, S.I. Newhouse bought The Post-Standard's chief competitors, the Evening Herald and the Journal. He bought The Post-Standard in 1944.

In 1945, the Journal and the Herald merged and became the Herald-Journal and the Sunday Herald American.

Owens resigned as president and publisher of The Post-Standard in 1950. He was succeeded by Richard R. Amberg.

In 1955, Stephen Rogers became publisher of The Post-Standard. In 1958, Herald-Journal Publisher E.A. O'Hara retired, and Rogers became the publisher of both newspapers - a position he held until 1981. That's when he took the title of president; and his son, Stephen A. Rogers, became editor and publisher of The Syracuse Newspapers.

In May 1965, The Post-Standard's Sunday edition became part of the Herald American, and the search for a new home for The Syracuse Newspapers began.

In 1971, the three Syracuse Newspapers - The Post-Standard, the morning paper, The Herald-Journal, the evening paper, and the Sunday Herald American - moved into a new $8 million plant on Clinton Square, their current home.

Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved.


Home Up