Posted on Mon. Jan. 07, 2008 - 11:01 am EDT


Paper will look back at 175-year history

The News-Sentinel is the oldest ongoing business in Allen County.

The News-Sentinel has begun its 175th year as a business in Allen County. We think it's a special milestone in a long and important tradition for residents in and around Fort Wayne.

The first copy of The Fort Wayne Sentinel was printed on July 6, 1833.

You may have already noticed the banner at the top of our print edition beginning on Jan. 1 that says “Our 175th Year — 1833-2008.” Starting today, our regular feature, “This Week in Local History,” will become “A Journey Through the Past,” appearing each Monday throughout the year along with a replica of a historical front page from past News-Sentinels.

We are also planning a special commemorative publication near our July 6 birthday.

Not only are we the oldest continuously operating business in the county, we're an important institution representing the First Amendment from a time not long after it became a part of our Constitution.

Think about it: 1833 was only 42 years after the Bill of Rights was adopted (1791), guaranteeing, among other things, freedom of speech and of the press.

It is based on those rights that we continue to operate this newspaper to serve as a bastion of truth, a clarion of information and the public's right to know, a sounding board for freedom of expression, and a watchdog against abuses from government and business.

So how did the Fort Wayne Sentinel become what this newspaper is today?

In 1874, the first copy of The Daily News was printed, and on Jan. 1, 1918 — 90 years ago New Year's Day — Fort Wayne's two evening papers, The Sentinel and The Daily News, merged, creating The News-Sentinel.

Oscar Foellinger became president of the newspaper in 1920, and when he died in 1936, his daughter, Helene Foellinger, took over as president and publisher. She led the newspaper into a business arrangement with The Journal-Gazette to form Fort Wayne Newspapers Inc. in 1950.

Fort Wayne Newspapers became the business agent for both papers, operating the advertising, circulation, accounting, promotion and production departments for both. That agreement still exists today. While the business operations are shared, the two newspapers remain separately owned and are competitors.

The News-Sentinel and The Journal Gazette moved to their current location at 600 W. Main St. in 1957.

Knight-Ridder Newspapers purchased The News-Sentinel in 1980. Before going out of business, Knight-Ridder sold The News-Sentinel and its other newspaper properties to McClatchy Newspapers in 2006. McClatchy quickly sold The News-Sentinel to Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, W. Va., that same year and named Michael J. Christman publisher of The News-Sentinel and CEO of Fort Wayne Newspapers.

Follow our history and see our historical front pages each Monday throughout 2008. And keep reading — it's a tradition, a privilege and an important right.

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