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Recognize & Celebrate businesses & people

Great Living Cincinnatians: Honorees

Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.

Charles E. Scripps

Awarded In 2003
January 27, 1920 – February 3, 2007

Charles E. Scripps was a newspaperman’s newspaperman.

“I remember getting a note from a disgruntled reader about an error in one of our newspapers,” he recalled. “I checked it out and was told it was ‘just a minor error.’ I remember saying that there’s no such thing as a minor error. An error is an advertisement of poor workmanship and we simply can’t tolerate that in our newspapers. To be in journalism is to be in the business of credibility.”

Mr. Scripps is a grandson of E.W. Scripps, who founded the newspapers that eventually grew into the Cincinnati-based media company known as The E.W. Scripps Company, with owns newspapers, broadcast television stations and national cable television networks. Locally, the company operates The Cincinnati Post/Kentucky Post and WCPO-TV, Channel 9.

The family patriarch died in 1926, when Charles was 6 years old.

The younger Scripps is proud of his grandfather’s philosophy of newspapering as being innovative in his day and still relevant today.

“He wanted to produce a newspaper that provided the kind of information that would help the powerless to become empowered,” Mr. Scripps says. From such a philosophy stems the Scripps motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.” Mr. Scripps modestly describes his role during the past five decades as that of overseer. He served as chairman of the board of The E.W. Scripps Company from 1953 until 1994, and continues to serve as a director. He continues as chairman of the board of trustees of The Edward W. Scripps Trust.

Born Jan. 27, 1920, in San Diego, Scripps attended William & Mary College in Williamsburg, Va., and Pomona College in California. Interested in journalism even as a youth, Mr. Scripps began his newspaper career before World War II at the first newspaper his grandfather founded, The Cleveland Press.

He covered police and the courts before enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard in San Francisco in 1942. Following the war, he became immersed in the business of The E.W. Scripps Company.

In the mid-1980s, when the nation’s illiteracy rate came to the forefront, Mr. Scripps became an outspoken literacy advocate. In 1986, the Scripps Howard Foundation created an annual award for literacy efforts by newspapers and broadcast stations in his name.

“Literacy is the receiving end of print journalism, just as radio receivers are needed to interpret radio signals. All our newspapers should be interested in seeing people read efficiently,” Mr. Scripps said. In 1983 he received an honorary doctor of communications degree from Ohio University for his contributions to communications and his “championship of press freedom worldwide.” In 1985, he received the Advertising Silver Medal Award from the American Advertising Foundation.

Well known for philanthropy, Mr. Scripps serves as a trustee for the Children’s Protective Service of the Ohio Humane Society. He also serves on the advisory boards of the Greater Cincinnati Salvation Army and the Hamilton County Juvenile Court.

Mr. Scripps was past president of the Inter-American Press Association.

He and the late Lois Anne McKay have four children: Charles, Jr., Marilyn, Eaton and Julia. He married Mary Elizabeth Breslin in 1993.

As Mr. Scripps saw it, “It’s not about power. It’s about influence and how you use that for the betterment of your community and the world.”

Mr. Scripps died on Saturday, February 03, 2007, in Naples, Florida.

Nominate a Great Living Cincinnatian

Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization