In October 1919 Richard Lloyd Jones, Sr., an Illinois native and former editor of Collier's and Cosmopolitan magazines and of the Wisconsin State Journal (Madison), purchased the Tulsa Democrat newspaper. Jones renamed it the Tulsa Tribune-Democrat on December 6, 1919, before finally titling it the Tulsa Tribune on January 1, 1920. The Tulsa Democrat, which was first published on September 27, 1904, had been preceded by the New Era begun in 1895. Tulsa business leaders, dissatisfied with the sensational reporting of the Indian Chief, had initiated the New Era to report positive news and the progress of Tulsa as a leading town in Indian Territory. In 1920 Tulsa's population stood at 72,075. The Democrat had 21,682 subscribers in November 1919. The daily evening newspaper was located in the Tribune Building (listed in the National Register of Historic Places, NR 79003644) at 20 East Archer Street until the 1940s. The newspaper then moved to the World Building at 315 South Boulder Avenue.
In the post World War I years the Tribune published several accounts that intensified public reaction to unfolding events. An editorial on May 31, 1921, inflamed racial tensions, causing the Tulsa Race Riot to erupt on June 1. In addition, in the mid-1920s the Tribune published negative reports on Gov. John "Jack" Walton, who, the paper claimed, was establishing an "armed dictatorship." Walton subsequently sent the National Guard to Tulsa and a censor to the newspaper office.
The Tribune remained under the Jones family's ownership for several decades. During the Great Depression the management had to cut staff and reduce salaries. In 1941 the Tulsa Tribune and the Tulsa World established the Newspaper Printing Corporation, which provided a combined printing plant. Editorially the two papers remained separate. Jones, Sr., (1873-1963) had two sons who worked in the business. Richard Lloyd Jones, Jr., (1909-82) was president of the Newspaper Printing Corporation, and Jenkin Lloyd Jones (1911-2004) served as the publisher and editor of the Tribune. Grandson Jenkin "Jenk" Jones, Jr., was serving as editor and publisher when the last issue of the Tulsa Tribune was published on September 30, 1992. Like other large city evening newspapers, the news organ's readership had declined, causing financial losses. After circulation dropped from 76,314 in 1980 to 66,647 in 1992, the Newspaper Printing Corporation was dissolved.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Edward Carter, The Story of Oklahoma Newspapers, 1844 to 1984 (Oklahoma City : Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1984). "Newspapers Tulsa Tribune," Vertical File, Tulsa City-County Library, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Linda D. Wilson
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