Editor’s note: This article is part of a special series celebrating National Newspaper Week Oct. 6-12. The Week was designated in 1940 as a way to recognize the importance of newspapers to their communities.
In general, newspapers have seen a lot of changes in their ownership models over the past century and a half. But for the Daily Herald, one idea has remained constant.
Remarkably, in the 115 years since Hosea Paddock bought the Palatine Enterprise, the ownership of the company it would become, Paddock Publications Inc., has changed only rarely — when Hosea transferred ownership to his sons Stuart and Charles in 1922; when Stuart’s children, Stuart Jr., Robert and Marge, took over in 1968; and when leadership was reorganized with other Paddock heirs in key positions shortly before Stuart Jr.’s death in 2002.
The limited number of transitions, including executives who themselves had grown up in the newspaper business under Stuart Jr., has fostered a pride-in-family atmosphere that still permeates the operation.
Indeed, Hosea had wanted nothing else for his heirs. The first patriarch of the company is said to have declared on his deathbed, “I hope (grandsons) Stuart and Bob will continue in the business.”
In fact, by the time Stuart Sr. and Charles passed the scene, Stuart Sr. had tutored his children in every aspect of the newspaper business — from reporting and advertising to presses and circulation — with the hope that they would continue the enterprise, and he had begun to groom nonfamily professionals for management roles.
In the midst of a major ownership change with the deaths of Charles in 1967 and Stuart Sr. in 1968, the paper also found itself in a life-or-death battle with the Sun-Times’ newly launched five-day-a-week Day Publications. The Herald first moved to triweekly publication, and after Stuart Jr. was named publisher, he moved it to five days a week. Within two years, the Day capitulated.
While Stu Jr. become chairman, CEO and publisher of the paper, he always emphasized the collaborative role all three family members — Stu, Bob and Marge — made in decisions about the paper and its future.
“We’re a close family. We love one another,” Stu Jr. said for an article about the paper’s history in 1997. “We’re aware of each other’s hopes and aspirations.”
Stuart Paddock Jr. spent years preparing for a succession that would enable Paddock Publications to continue as a privately held newspaper company. After he died in 2002, majority ownership of the company was put into a trust. Family ownership and involvement continues to be strong with Robert’s son and daughter-in-law, Robert Jr. and Marcie Paddock, serving on the board of directors and both Robert Jr. and Stuart III, Stu Jr.’s son, assuming executive positions.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.