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MILLER, PAUL (1906-1991)

Journalist Paul Miller, son of James and Clara Ranne Miller, was born on September 28, 1906, in Diamond, Missouri. James Miller, a Baptist minister, later moved his family to Oklahoma. Young Paul Miller's career in journalism began when he won a national editorial writing contest at age fifteen. Intrigued by the newspaper world, he began visiting the offices of the Pawhuska (Oklahoma) Daily Journal, which hired him as a reporter. By the time he entered Oklahoma A&M College (later Oklahoma State University), he had served as the paper's city editor. Miller left college after two years to work for a newspaper in Okemah. Shortly thereafter, he joined the staff of the Oklahoma Publishing Company in Oklahoma City and took classes at the University of Oklahoma. He later returned to Oklahoma A&M and completed a bachelor's degree in 1931.

In 1932 Miller accepted a job with the Associated Press (AP) in Columbus, Ohio, where he met Louise Johnson, women's editor for the Columbus Journal. They married and had four children. In 1942 he became chief of the Washington Bureau and supervised national political coverage. In 1947 he caught the attention of Frank Gannett, who headed the Rochester, New York, Gannett Company, a newspaper enterprise. Over the next ten years, serving as Gannett's executive assistant, Miller assumed more leadership in the company, becoming its president in 1957. He increased the company's holdings from nineteen news organs in four states to seventy-eight in thirty states and two territories. His efforts made Gannett not only the largest newspaper chain in the country but also geographically the most widespread. Editor & Publisher dubbed Miller "the Great Acquirer." In 1975, 1976, and 1977, U.S. News & World Report named him one of the five most influential newspaper executives in the United States. He retired from Gannett in 1978.

Miller also served on the board of directors of AP. First elected in 1950, he became the first former AP employee to serve on the board. From 1963 to 1977 he chaired the organization. He championed global distribution of the organization's photos and stories as a means to international peace. In 1972 he took a group of AP executives to China and negotiated an agreement for regular news exchange between AP and the Chinese news agency. For the first time in twenty-two years, an American news agency had a regular news channel with China. Stories penned by Miller during and after his China trip later became the booklet "China Opens the Door" (1972), published by Gannett Company.

Miller served on the Pulitzer Prize Advisory Board, was the national director of the Boys Club of America, and was honorary president of Sigma Delta Chi (Society of Professional Journalists). The recipient of numerous awards from the journalism profession, he was also honored by Oklahoma State University when it named the journalism building after him in 1976. Miller had made a significant financial contribution to its construction. In 1973 he was named to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. After suffering a debilitating stroke, Miller died on August 21, 1991, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

SEE ALSO: PRINTING AND PUBLISHING INDUSTRY.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Perry J. Ashley, ed., Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Newspaper Publishers, 1950-1990, Vol. 127 (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, 1993). Paul Miller Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Oklahoma State University Library, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. "Paul Miller," Vertical File, Oklahoma Room, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma City. William H. Taft, Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Journalists (New York: Garland Publishing, 1986). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 10, 1989-1993 (New Providence, N.J.: Marquis Who's Who, 1993).

Carolyn G. Hanneman

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