Paul Miller (journalist)
September 28, 1906|
|Died||August 21, 1991
West Palm Beach, Florida
|Known for||Headed Gannett Company, 1957–1973|
Paul Miller (September 28, 1906 – August 21, 1991) was an American newspaper executive and journalist. He headed the Gannett newspaper chain from 1957 to 1973. Miller also served as the top official of the Associated Press from 1963 to 1977.
Miller was born in Diamond, Missouri; his father later moved the family to Oklahoma. At age 15, Miller won a national contest for student editorial writing. While still in high school, he went to work as a reporter for the Pawhuska Daily Journal and served for a time as the paper's city editor before starting college. He attended Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) for two years, then left to edit the Daily Leader in Okemah, Oklahoma. He moved on to work for the Oklahoma Publishing Company (publisher of The Oklahoman) in Oklahoma City, took classes at the University of Oklahoma, and ultimately returned to Oklahoma A&M where he received his degree in 1931.
In 1932 Miller went to work for the Associated Press in Columbus, Ohio, where he met and married Louise Johnson, an editor for the Columbus Journal. He became head of the AP's Washington, D.C. bureau in 1942.
In 1947 Miller joined Gannett Company, based in Rochester, New York. He served as executive assistant to company founder Frank Gannett for 10 years, and was also editor and publisher of Gannett's Rochester newspapers, the Times-Union and the Democrat and Chronicle.
Miller succeeded Frank Gannett as president and CEO of the company in 1957. At that time, the Gannett chain had 19 daily newspapers in 4 states. Under Miller's leadership the company grew from a regional to a national chain. By 1970, when Miller became chairman of the company (giving up the president's position to his executive vice president, Al Neuharth), the Gannett chain had 53 daily newspapers in 16 states and Guam. Like Frank Gannett before him, Miller followed a strategy of acquiring newspapers in cities and situations where the company would face minimal competition.
In 1963, under Miller's administration, Gannett won a special Pulitzer Prize (the first awarded to a newspaper group) for "The Road to Integration", a series of stories on the positive aspects of racial integration.
In 1973 Neuharth ousted Miller from his position as CEO of Gannett. A chapter of Neuharth's autobiography, Confessions of an S.O.B., describes how Neuharth accomplished this. Miller remained chairman of Gannett until 1978.
Miller was elected to the board of directors of the Associated Press in 1950. and became president of the AP in 1963. His title was changed to chairman in 1972 and he held the position until 1977. He was the first AP employee to serve on its board and the first to lead the organization. In 1972 Miller led an AP delegation to China to negotiate a news exchange agreement with the news agency then known as Hsinhua; this was the first news link in the People's Republic of China for an American news organization in 22 years. Miller's stories about this trip became a 1972 booklet, China Opens the Door published by Gannett.
In 1976, Oklahoma State University named its journalism department's building after Miller. After suffering a debilitating stroke, Miller died of pneumonia on August 21, 1991, in West Palm Beach, Florida. At the time of Miller's death, Gannett was the nation's largest newspaper group, with 82 daily newspapers and a total circulation of 6.4 million.
- Dennis Hevesi, "Paul Miller, 84, Former Chairman Of Gannett and the A.P., Is Dead", New York Times, August 23, 1991.
- Carolyn G. Hanneman, "Miller, Paul (1906-1991)" at Oklahoma Historical Society Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture (retrieved September 30, 2009).
- "A Brief Company History" at Gannett Corporation official website, May 2009 (retrieved September 30, 2009).
- Richard McCord, The Chain Gang: One Newspaper Versus the Gannett Empire (University of Missouri Press, 2001), ISBN 978-0-8262-1375-4, pp.141ff (excerpts available at Google Books).
- Bruce Lambert, "Vincent Jones, 86, A Former Executive For Gannett Papers", New York Times, February 18, 1993.
- Abraham L. Gitlow, Being the Boss: The Importance of Leadership and Power (Beard Books, 2004), ISBN 978-1-58798-234-7, pp.201-202 (excerpts available at Google Books).
- Allen Neuharth, Confessions of an S.O.B. (Doubleday, 1989), ISBN 978-0-385-24942-3.
- Oklahoma State University School of Journalism and Broadcasting (retrieved September 30, 2009).
- The Paul Miller Image Collection at Oklahoma State University Libraries (retrieved September 30, 2009)