Newsmaker: Roy W. Howard the Mastermind Behind the Scripps‑Howard News Empire from the Gilded Age to the Atomic Age
In the first half of the 20th century, the golden age of newspapers, the colorful, charismatic Roy W. Howard was chairman of Scripps-Howard, one of the two biggest newspaper empires in the United States. Howard was in his mid-twenties when he was appointed president of the fledgling United Press, and built it into a formidable rival to the long-established Associated Press. In his thirties, he was named chairman of Scripps-Howard, and started (and edited) its flagship paper, The New York World Telegram. A self-made boy from Indiana, Howard, who had delivered newspapers to help support his family, was named one of the “59 Men Who ‘Rule’ America” in a front-page article in the New York Times (John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was first)
The confidante of the famous, Howard advised every U.S. president from Wilson to Eisenhower. Traveling 2.5 million miles in search of news, he was often in the right place at the right time, gathering exclusive scoops. He conducted one-on-one interviews with Stalin and Hitler in the same week in 1936; consulted the Duke of Windsor about his public image; consoled the grieving Charles Lindberg; and counseled Madame Chang Kai-shek about how to promote her husband’s claim that his Nationalist Party represented the “true” China. Two weeks before the atomic bomb was dropped, General Douglas MacArthur trusted him with the classified information that the face of warfare was about to change forever.
Book launch interview with tantalizing details from NEWSMAKER on Jim Zirin’s television show, Conversations in the Digital Age
…And he wrote it all down. Newsmaker is based on author Patricia Beard’s exclusive access to fifty years of Howard’s personal diaries, and thousands of pages of his “Strictly Confidential” memoranda, divulging the backstories of the most significant events and personalities of his turbulent times.
Newsmaker received advance praise from the President and Dean of the Newseum in Washington, D.C.; the Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University; and the Washington enterprise editor of USA Today.
A lively history of one man’s indelible imprint on American news.”—Kirkus, the book industry’s guide
Patricia Beard’s aptly titled Newsmaker offers not only an exciting read about Roy Howard, the man who founded UPI and turned it into an empire, but a fresh inside look at what went on behind the scenes of American politics during the first half of the 20th century. Howard was not only continue...a reporter, columnist, and media mogul, but a colorful bon vivant who never lost his bearings. Although presidents and world leaders sometimes felt intimidated by Howard’s aggressive honesty, there was also “something sympathetic about him that even led people who were wary of the press to spend themselves unburdening themselves, or trying to impress him.” Howard had the gift of getting the backroom story, as well as front page headlines.
For the first biography of this media giant, Beard has gained access to Howard’s private diaries, and thousands of pages of “Strictly Confidential” memoranda They reveal his towering ambition to get the news first and to get it right. His comments about Herbert Hoover, Wendell Willkie, FDR, Hitler, Stalin, and Eisenhower reveal characters layered beneath the politicians.
While the biography retains its focus on the man behind his media empire, the scope of this book is panoramic… part chess game, backstage anecdote, and headline sensation, with ‘knock-out interviews.’ …Beard is not only a masterly writer, but a footnote artist with asides that display wit and panache.
The book features a gracious prologue by Pamela Howard, a granddaughter of Roy W. Howard that emulates the family photograph on a fireplace mantel, that is so often missing from a biography that seeks to probe the heights and depths of genius… If you are interested in journalism, the history of this country or the history of the world in the 20th century, the inner workings of a brilliant mind, an exciting narrative, or just a good colorful read, then this book might be the best three-hundred page-turner of the year.
Patricia Beard is the author of ten acclaimed non-fiction books and one recent novel.”
—Kevin T. McEneaney journalist and author