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WICHITA DAILY TIMES

WICHITA DAILY TIMES. Wichita Daily Times, the first daily newspaper in Wichita Falls, originated as a promotional vehicle to attract business and families to Wichita Falls. In March 1907 Joseph A. Kemp persuaded newspaperman Ed Howard and other businessmen to organize the Times Publishing Company to finance the town's first daily newspaper. Howard agreed to be managing editor, a position he held as owner of the Wichita Weekly Times. The equipment used to publish the Weekly Times, a Washington flatbed press, produced the first edition of the Daily Times on May 14, 1907. The four-page issue carried news supplied by the Associated Press and stories that featured the promising future of the county seat. Reflecting the characteristics of business progressivism, honest, efficient government, and regional progress, the new paper published a forty-page special edition on April 9, 1909. Fifteen thousand copies were printed, from which a sizeable percentage was sent to investors and farmers in northern states. The "Special Illustrated Edition" promoted the county, noting the natural resources, cheap land, and hardworking labor force available to both businesses and families. Less than a year later, the first Sunday edition appeared, and the Times Publishing Company moved its offices and the newspaper to a new two-story brick building at the corner of Seventh and Scott.

Over the next fifteen years five additions were built to accommodate the expansion of the company. During that time the Daily Times solidified its position as the newspaper of the city and the progressive voice of the county. Howard's editorial pages supported Democratic candidates and their programs. Prohibition, a personal concern of the managing editor, received extensive coverage and sympathy. Although officially prohibition was supported by the Ku Klux Klan, the Daily Times neither supported nor sympathized with the white supremacist organization that appeared in the county after World War I. Only in 1928 did Howard compromise on the liquor question. That year the paper supported the candidacy of Democratic nominee Al Smith, a "wet." Also that year, the Times Publishing Company purchased the only Wichita Falls daily that had provided competition, the Wichita Falls Record News. The News retained its identity and staff, but as a product of the publishing company it was redesigned to compliment, not conflict with, the Daily Times. During the years of the Great Depression and World War II the Daily Times acted as an advocate for the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and supported, in general, the president's foreign policy. In 1946 the publishing company purchased the KTRN radio station. On January 13, 1948, Howard died. His son, Rhea Howard, took control of the paper. In 1955 the paper selected a new name, the Wichita Falls Times. Two years later the daily published a special edition that featured the history of the county and special stories about Wichita Falls. The May 15 edition also highlighted the career of its founder, Ed Howard. Over the next three decades the Wichita Falls Times slowly evolved from a staunchly Democratic paper to a journal that reflected the Texas conservatism of the 1980s. The editorial pages supported state and federal economic policies that stressed efficiency in government and business advocacy and were critical of the social agenda advocated by the Democratic party.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Louise Kelly, Wichita County Beginnings (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982).

David Minor

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

David Minor, "WICHITA DAILY TIMES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eew12), accessed July 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.