The East Tennessee chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (ETSPJ) has teamed with the Knoxville History Project and the Front Page Foundation to recognize the beginnings of Adolph Ochs’ newspaper career in downtown Knoxville that ultimately ended with his acquisition of The New York Times.
A panel discussion at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay St., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to discuss Ochs’ journalism career and his start in Knoxville and will feature representatives from the Knoxville History Project and faculty from the University of Tennessee’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media.
Alex S. Jones, SPJ Foundation Board member and co-author with Susan E. Tifft of the definitive biography about Ochs, “The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times,” will be present. Panelists and attendees then will enjoy beverages on Market Square a block away.
The following day on Thursday, Sept. 29, 12 p.m., a new historical plaque will be dedicated on Market Square near the site of the Knoxville Chronicle office where Ochs began his career. Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon will be in attendance as will direct heirs of Ochs on his maternal side. Additional information about the plaque dedication event is here.
Both events are open to the public and free to attend.
September 18, 1851, the first edition of what’s now called The New York Times — an old gray lady, even then. Adolph Ochs, who got his start in Knoxville, bought the Times in 1869 (he borrowed $75,000). He had earlier moved to Chattanooga and bought controlling interest in that town’s Times for $250 (also borrowed) at age 19.
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Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc. (Maria Cornelius contributed the info about SPJ)