When Adolph Ochs bought the New York Times in 1896, he had no idea that it would turn into one of the most well-respected and prestigious broadsheets not just in the United States but all over the world.
Although it was losing money at that time, Ochs’ financial genius and publishing acumen managed to turn it into a profitable business.
Adolph Ochs – A Man of the ‘Times’
At the very early age of 11, Ochs was already involved in the publishing industry. He was a printer’s assistant at the Knoxville Chronicle and rose up the ranks. At some point, he borrowed money so that he could buy stock in the Chattanooga Times. At the age of 36, he decided to make a second newspaper acquisition – the same broadsheet you still read and enjoy today, The New York Times.
He implemented two major changes as soon as he purchased the NYT. First, he instituted a decrease in the price of the newspaper, making it more attractive for readers to buy. Second, he advocated objectivity in news reporting.
Although this seems trite today, there was a lot of subjectivity and biases in newspaper journalism at that time and Ochs was responsible for transforming this mindset in the publishing industry. Although sensationalism was the norm at that time in newspapers, Ochs deviated from this and stuck to his own principles about accuracy in reporting.
Many of Ochs’ relatives, including his son-in-law and nephews, also held prominent positions in the New York Times, whether as publishers or general managers. This did nothing to compromise the style and the professionalism that Ochs adopted for his business dealings, making him a true leader in the publishing industry.
The Adolph Ochs Quick Bio
Full name: Adolph Simon Ochs
Birthdate: March 12, 1858 – April 8, 1935
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio
Company: New York Times
Key success traits: entrepreneurial spirit, a penchant for presenting news without bias
The New York Times head office was moved to a new building which was near the location of what eventually became known as the Times Square, taking its cue from the name of the newspaper.