A Timeline: The History of the Arizona Republic

The Arizona Republic has captured Arizona history since 1890, while creating its own history. The newspaper has changed ownership eight times since its inception by co-owners of Arizona Territorial Governor Lewis Wolfley and Arizona Attorney General Clark Churchill. In its early years, it bought out and absorbed its competitors.

Since its inception, La République has engaged in surveillance journalism to expose scandals, corruption and fraud. He supported causes such as the need for clean air and better medical services for the men and women of the military. And, along the way, he became a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, journalism’s highest honor, and a multiple-time finalist.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights since his inception as an Arizona Republican.

The first edition of The Arizona Republican was published on May 19, 1890.

1890s

May 19, 1890: Arizona’s Republican beginnings. The newspaper’s office is on First Avenue near Washington Street in Phoenix.

1895: Reveals his investigative ability with a series of stories describing Chinese-owned opium dens in downtown Phoenix, leading to police raids and several arrests.

May 1899: Buy and absorb Phoenix Daily Herald.

1900

Photos start appearing in the newspaper, usually only one column wide. The paper continues to rely visually on artists’ drawings and cartoons.

February 1, 1909: Stop accepting contracts for ads on the first page.

1910s

After statehood, it adds the words “An Independent Progressive Journal” to its flag. It periodically includes the phrase “Largest newspaper in the state” in its flag.

1912: After several owners since Wolfley, the paper is sold to Dwight B. Heard.

February 4, 1917: As World War I looms, the front page has a bulletin telling readers that he will post the latest news of the international crisis on his office building.

1920s

January 9, 1923: First use of occasional news photography (a car accident).

October 23, 1923: First day of four comic pages.

April 13, 1924: Prints the first crossword puzzle.

April 20, 1924: Republican launches safe driving campaign and asks drivers to sign pledges.

January 19, 1929: It announces the launch of a “daily magazine” with topics of interest to “men, women, boys and girls”.

May 12, 1929: In conjunction with the YMCA and YWCA, the newspaper offers a free 10-day swimming course.

1930s

November 1930: Publishers buy Phoenix Evening Gazette, which becomes The Phoenix Gazette.

November 11, 1930: The Arizona Republican shortens his name to the Arizona Republic.

January 18, 1931: Public speaking contest sponsors.

January 20, 1933: In a promotion, he offers to have a graphologist analyze the writings of Republic readers.

December 8, 1934: Publishes on page 6 a photograph of a pedestrian killed in a hit-and-run accident.

1940s

Eugene C. Pulliam.

October 25, 1946: Eugene C. Pulliam of Indianapolis buys Phoenix Newspapers for $4 million and organizes Phoenix Newspapers Inc., a subsidiary of Central Newspapers Inc.

1946: The Republic of Arizona becomes the Republic of Arizona.

April 27, 1947: Contract awarded for the construction of a two-story building at 120 E. Van Buren St. The building was occupied in mid-1948.

1948-49: Campaigns for the chartered government reform movement, which would dominate Phoenix City Hall until 1975.

1950s

May 7, 1951: Editorial cartoonist Reg Manning wins a Pulitzer Prize.

May 24, 1953: Launches Arizona Days and Ways, a Sunday supplement. Pledges to include photos and articles “from all corners of the state on stories of personalities, painting, history and heroism.”

1960s

1963-67: Investigative reports reveal political kickbacks at several state agencies; results include indictments, changes in state laws.

1970s

June 6, 1974: Journalist Al Sitter reveals pervasive property fraud in Arizona; lawmakers and city leaders go after criminals.

June 23, 1975: Eugene C. Pulliam dies at age 86. His widow, Nina Mason Pulliam, becomes publisher and president.

June 2, 1976: Reporter Don Bolles mortally wounded by a car bomb; died June 13.

March 23, 1977: Announcement of the transition to “coldtype” printing and computerized text processing/composition.

October 1979: Editions “zoned” to cover the communities of the valley begin.

1980s

March 11, 1980: General Manager Duke Tully is named publisher.

July 3, 1980: Announcement of the Mesa Satellite Printing Factory.

September 25, 1985: While on a mission, Republic reporter Charles Thornton is killed in a combat zone in Afghanistan.

December 26, 1985: Tully resigns in disgrace after faking an elaborate military career.

March 11, 1986: Pat Murphy is named editor.

October 4-12, 1987: Directs investigative series “Fraud in Indian Country Prompts New Look at National Politics.”

1988: Journalist Sam Stanton is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for coverage of Governor Evan Mecham’s first year in office. Additionally, journalists Mike Masterson and Chuck Cook are Pulitzer finalists for their coverage of corruption and mismanagement in India’s federal programs.

Mid-1988: Becomes the first major newspaper to type all its pages electronically.

1989: Journalists Mike Masterson and Chuck Cook are Pulitzer finalists for their coverage of risks to older adults related to prescription drug errors, interactions and abuse.

June 13, 1989: Announces plans for a second satellite plant in Deer Valley.

1990s

Steve Benson

1993: Editorial cartoonist Steve Benson wins a Pulitzer Prize.

1993: The company launches the Season for Sharing program with the goal of improving the lives of Arizona residents. Donations have exceeded $66 million since the program began and are given to local non-profit organizations.

1995: Republic launches a website, azcentral.com.

Early 1997: The Phoenix Gazette folds, victim of some of the problems that have plagued afternoon dailies in many large cities, such as changing lifestyles and shrinking circulation.

2000s

Early 2000: The company launches its second wholly-owned online site, arizonarepublic.com, and continues to add new sites and features. It is also launching specific delivery capability to address virtually every household in the Valley.

June 2000: Gannett Co. Inc. agrees to purchase The Arizona Republic and all other Central Newspapers properties. The Republic becomes the largest non-national newspaper owned by Gannett, ending a tradition of family ownership that had lasted more than 50 years.

2001: Columnist Laurie Roberts is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her work calling for reforms in the way Arizona draws its legislative and congressional districts.

March 2001:azcentral.com welcomes Channel 12 (KPNX-TV), the Phoenix NBC affiliate and the most-watched station in Arizona, as a partner.

2003: Columnist Linda Valdez is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her articles on illegal immigrants and justice of the peace courts.

2010s

2012: Republic The staff is a Pulitzer finalist for coverage of the mass shooting near Tucson.

2014 : Republic staff is a Pulitzer Prize finalist in the breaking news category for coverage of the Yarnell Hill fire.

August 5, 2014: Gannett, owner of Republic Media (which includes The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com and La Voz), announces that he will form two publicly traded companies in 2015 as he prepares to spin off his broadcast and digital businesses from its publishing division.

2015 : Several reporting/photography projects capture national awards, including “Pipeline of Children,” which examines the influx of unaccompanied children and families from Central America to the United States, and shows how Department of Veterans Affairs falsified wait time data for veterans, some of whom died while waiting for care.

2016: Republic reporter Craig Harris wins a prestigious George Polk Award for his reporting on a series of unlawful firings of state employees, many of whom were reinstated after his stories aired. Later that summer, the Republic wins a key freedom of information lawsuit when it successfully fights the subpoena of a journalist’s confidential notes in court.

April 2018: The Republic wins its third Pulitzer Prize, for explanatory journalism, for an innovative multimedia project exploring all facets of the border wall proposed by President Donald Trump. The project featured a documentary film and an accompanying interactive map that allows users to zoom in on every inch of the US border with Mexico.

2019: Republic reporters Harris, Anne Ryman, Alden Woods and Justin Price win the Republic’s second George Polk Award in three years for an investigation of Arizona’s scandal-ridden charter school industry. In October, newsroom workers voted overwhelmingly to unionize after a hostile hedge fund takeover bid for Gannett failed and the company subsequently merged with another chain.

March 2020: The Republic, USA Today and The Center for Public Integrity win the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting for the series Copy, Paste, Legislate, which details how special interest groups create “model legislation” in their own name and distribute it to compliant lawmakers across the country, who often pass it into law without review. At the same time, Republic reporters and editors are entering a brave new world of news coverage by working from home and learning to don personal protective equipment as they cover the COVID pandemic. -19.

Sources: Republic Research, “All the Time A Newspaper” by Earl Zarbin and the Arizona Historical Society.