Adolph Simon Ochs

 

 

Induction Year: 1969

Lived: 1858-1935

 

Papers:

Knoxville Chronicle; Louisville Courier Journal; Knoxville Tribune

Chattanooga Dispatch; The Chattanooga Times; The New York Times

 

Adolph Simon Ochs started in newspapering at age 11 by carrying the Chronicle in Knoxville, where his family had moved from Cincinnati after the Civil War.

He was a printer's devil at 14 and a reporter while still in his teens. And when, at 20, he borrowed $250 and bought half interest in the floundering Chattanooga Times, he could say proudly that he had performed nearly every business, mechanical, or editorial job a newspaper had to offer.


Believing that a newspaper should be "clean, dignified, and trustworthy," and possessing an acute business sense, Ochs built the Times into one of the strongest papers in its region, a position it still holds today.

 

Ochs was only 38 when he went to New York in 1896 and gained control of the ailing New York Times. Financial problems were difficult at first. But he held off unscrupulous advertisers and politicians, lowered the price of his paper to one cent in 1898, and tripled the circulation within a year. The Times was never in trouble again.

 

He promised that the New York Times would "give the news impartially, without fear or favor," and that it would be a forum for all questions of public importance. Ochs and his staff kept those promises, and when he died in 1935 the Times had long been ranked as one of the world's truly great newspapers.

 

The organization that he had created and led for nearly 40 years continued to carry the paper to new heights.