’35 co-founded MediaNews Group when he was 70, well past
the age when many people retire. (Courtesy the Denver Post)
Richard Scudder ’35 was born into the Fourth Estate, grandson of the
founder of New Jersey’s Newark Evening News. Now, at age 93, he is still
an energetic media man and an active partner in MediaNews Group, the company
he co-founded when he was 70 years old and has helped make one of the largest
media conglomerates in the United States.
Boasting 54 dailies in 12 states, including The Denver Post and Los
Angeles’ Daily News, a CBS television affiliate, and radio stations,
MediaNews continues to expand. While MediaNews is based in Denver, Scudder works
remotely from his home in New Jersey part time, maintaining close contact with
his partner Dean Singleton, and advising on the acquisition and recasting of
newly acquired papers. Once MediaNews takes over a paper, Scudder and Singleton
push the editors to focus on accurate, local reporting.
While some see the news business as an industry in crisis, Scudder
does not. “We see it as a huge opportunity,” says Scudder, a congenial
man with a boyish grin.
An economics major at Princeton, Scudder began his long career in journalism
as a reporter for the Boston Herald. After serving in World War II,
Scudder worked for the Newark Evening News, eventually becoming publisher.
He also helped invent the first newsprint de-inking process, in which ink is
removed from the newspaper, leaving the paper intact for reuse. He opened the
first newsprint recycling plants in the world, which led to his induction into
the Paper Industry Hall of Fame.
Scudder still lives in the house he built on the New Jersey shore when
he returned from the war in 1947. He is surrounded by the trees he planted and
the birds he loves. When not weighing in on the goings-on of his company, he
paints and reads.
Why does he continue to work? “It’s fun!” Scudder
says. “I’m having a wonderful time.”
By Kerry Lynn Saretsky ’05
Kerry Lynn Saretsky ’05 is a freelance writer in New York City.