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The Scranton Tribune
When the Scranton Tribune first rolled off the presses on the morning of June 20, 1891, three other daily broadsheets already served the city. The Tribune was established as a competitor to the Scranton Republican, which had a record of harassing its political opponents, including William Connell, a local coal operator with a desire to run for elected office. To counter the influence of the Republican, Connell secured the backing of several prominent city residents, purchased a used press, and set about creating his own alternative to the Republican. Four pages long, eight columns wide, and with a price of two cents, the Scranton Tribune featured news, including national and international feeds from the Associated Press, opinion, and plenty of advertisements from local dealers, but no photography. It did not publish on Sundays.
The Tribune prided itself on its readership being both educated and well-to-do, and in both editorials as well as in a self-congratulatory tenth anniversary publication, the paper claimed to espouse “progressive opinions” by championing “Republican principles of government.” In an effort to appeal to the city’s Welsh population, which was the largest in the world outside of Wales, the paper ran articles about the Welsh homeland, people, culture, and literature that occasionally included poems and on October 30, 1897, a local Republican political campaign piece printed in the Welsh language.
Still circulation remained poor, and when E. J. Lynett bought the city’s afternoon Democratic paper, the Scranton Times in 1895, the Tribune cut a deal that allowed him to use their print and typeset machines. While older than the Tribune, the Times had struggled during the first decades of its existence. However, within a few years, the proudly Democratic Times had gone from a circulation of 3,000 to one of over 40,000, largely by championing the cause of the working man. At the same time, the Tribune's circulation was around 5,000 in a city whose population had surpassed 100,000. Unable to turn a decent profit, the Tribune was put into receivership and sold in 1908. By this time, the Republican was foundering as well, and the two papers saw little choice but to combine their resources. The first incarnation of the Scranton Tribune came to an end when the two papers merged in 1910 to create the Tribune-Republican.
The fortunes of the Tribune-Republican did not improve with the merger. Between 1915 and 1990, the paper merged with two other dailies and a weekly, was sold twice, and renamed eight times. Circulation increased to around 30,000 but still lagged well behind that of the Times. The Tribune-Republican folded in 1990, only to have its assets bought up by its former competitor, the Scranton Times. Both papers were published separately by the Lynetts, with the Tribune appearing in the morning and the Times in the afternoon, until 2005 when the two papers were merged to create the Times-Tribune.
Provided by: Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA