Pioneer News Group is a family media business owned by members of the Scripps family. The Scripps family has a long history in newspapers, starting with EW Scripps who started the Detroit Evening News in 1873. Soon after, he started the Cleveland Penny Press in 1878, which led to a bigger chain of newspapers that included the St. Louis Chronicle and Cincinnati Post. The Penny Press was created with a premise that the United States couldn’t have a strong democracy if the newspaper wasn’t accessible to everyone, so its cover price was only a penny.
In 1907, EW merged three newspaper associations to form the United Press Association, which became United Press International. The company continued through different branches of the Scripps family, which grew to over 50 daily and weekly newspapers with acquisitions accelerating after World War II. When acquiring additional newspapers, decisions were made with the following operating philosophy:
- Newspapers were chosen in areas not in direct competition with large metropolitan newspapers.
- Newspapers should fall between circulation ranges of 5,000 to 25,000.
- Location should be in or near a county seat.
- There should be a college or university in the newspaper’s primary community.
In 1974, the Scripps family determined it was best to divide the company. That was when Pioneer Newspapers was formed by James G. Scripps, who died in 1986. The company was recently renamed Pioneer News Group to reflect its expansion to produce news and advertising, both in print and expanding digital formats.
The company is now owned by Leighton Wood and his children Stedem, Marnie, Heather and Laura; and eight next-generation family members. Marnie Roozen is Chairwoman of the company’s Board of Directors, which comprises family and non-family members. Mike Gugliotto is president and CEO.