Ashland Weekly Tidings
Ashland Daily Tidings
Many ambitious settlers were drawn to the southern Oregon town of Ashland, incorporated in 1874, including Oregon Sentinel [LCCN: sn84022657] editor James M. Sutton, founder of the town’s first newspaper, the Ashland Tidings. First published on June 17, 1876, the Tidings began as a weekly issued on Saturdays, consisting of a four-page spread with six columns per page, at $2.00 for a year’s subscription.
The Tidings changed hands numerous times before experiencing relative stability in management around 1879. Within months of launching the paper, Sutton sold the Tidings to Ashland businessman John M. McCall. Beginning in 1878, Oliver C. Applegate managed the paper for a short time. Corliss Merritt and William Leeds together bought the paper in 1879, though Merritt soon sold out to Leeds. Leeds operated the Tidings until 1894 when he sold his interests to longtime employee Fred D. Wagner, who served as editor and publisher until 1911. After Wagner, Connecticut editor Ralph B. Bennett and his brother, Leigh Bennett, conducted the paper for one year before selling.
The Tidings’ format and coverage evolved significantly throughout its initial period of publication. In early versions, the paper was limited to four pages of local news, editorials, advertising, and folk tales. Leeds added features such as national news stories on the front page and a “Local Brevities” section consisting of short updates on activities of local figures and organizations. Originally “independent in all subjects,” the Tidings began to overtly favor the Republican agenda in the 1880s. Editorials supported women’s suffrage and local miners’ strikes. By 1896, the Tidings was issued semi-weekly, distributed on Mondays and Thursdays, and an entire page was devoted to women’s issues and news, likely stemming from its pro-suffragist stance. The paper also highlighted labor unions’ support of the railroad industry’s potential for creating local jobs. Early coverage of race and ethnicity shifted from overtly critical treatments of Native Americans and Chinese immigrants to presenting non-whites as oddities, as demonstrated by an 1889 headline: “Japanese Wedding; Have you witnessed yet?”
The Tidings underwent significant changes under the management of veteran editor and publisher Bert R. Greer from 1912 to 1927. In 1919, Greer, the successful former editor of the Kansas City Tribune [LCCN: sn85032310], changed the paper’s title to the Ashland Weekly Tidings and expanded with a daily publication, the Ashland Daily Tidings. Greer also increased the page count to eight and added a local society section titled “In the Social Realm.” By 1922, Greer began highlighting the paper’s status as an “International News Wire Service.” In 1928, the Ashland Printing Company assumed management of the Tidings. After a title change to The Daily Tidings [LCCN: sn96088008] in 1970 and then back to the Ashland Daily Tidings [LCCN: sn96088007] in 1993, current publication now runs six days a week, Monday through Saturday, and maintains a circulation of 5,500 among the communities of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix and Medford.
Prepared with reference to:
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939.
— Written by Patrick Lozar