North American Newspaper Alliance

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Ernest Hemingway (centre) while reporting on the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance in 1937.

The North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA) was a large newspaper syndicate that flourished between 1922 and 1980.

Founded by John Neville Wheeler, NANA employed some of the most noted writing talents of its time, including Grantland Rice, Joseph Alsop, Michael Stern, Lothrop Stoddard, Dorothy Thompson, George Schuyler, Pauline Frederick, Sheilah Graham Westbrook, Edna Ferber, F. Scott Fitzgerald. and Ernest Hemingway (who famously covered the Spanish Civil War for NANA).

Wheeler era[edit]

Wheeler established the North American Newspaper Alliance in 1922 as a union of 50 major newspapers in the United States and Canada. It absorbed the Bell Syndicate, a similar organization he had founded around 1916, although both continued to operate individually under joint ownership. NANA continued to acquire other syndicates over time. Wheeler became general manager in 1930. One of its most famous correspondents was Ernest Hemingway, who was sent to Spain in 1937 to report on the Spanish Civil War,[1] He based one of his best-known novels, For Whom the Bell Tolls on his experiences there.

Edith Ronne was a correspondent for the NANA syndicate during the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition (1947-1948).

Among its other notable stories was the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition, which in 1947 and 1948 researched the area surrounding the head of the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. Edith Ronne, wife of the expedition leader, was a correspondent for the syndicate, posting dispatches from Antarctica for the duration of the expedition. She named a landform there, Cape Wheeler, in honour of her editor.

In the 1930s and 1940s, NANA was known for its selections for the College Football All-America Team, using four well-known coaches each year.

In 1943, Ira Wolfert won an international Pulitzer Prize for Telegraphic Reporting for his field reports for NANA during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

Cuneo era[edit]

By the early 1950s the syndicate was being overshadowed by more powerful news syndicates, and it was purchased by a small group of investors led by Ernest Cuneo, formerly associated with British Security Coordination and the OSS, and Ivar Bryce. They gave the job of European Vice President to the writer and their mutual friend Ian Fleming.[2] Cuneo acquired full control over NANA in the mid-1950s and served as president until 1963 when he sold it. However, he remained with NANA as a columnist and military analyst from 1963 to 1980.[3]

Because of Cuneo's association with former members of American and British intelligence, including Fleming and Bryce, and because some writers in the Cuneo era had alleged links to the CIA, critics have suggested that NANA under his tenure was a front for espionage.[4]

A notable event late in the syndicate’s history occurred when a freelance correspondent, Lucianne Goldberg joined the press corps covering candidate George McGovern during the 1972 presidential campaign, claiming to be a reporter for the Women's News Service, an affiliate of NANA. In reality, she was being paid $1000 a week by Richard Nixon operative Murray Chotiner for regular reports about happenings on the campaign trail. She said "They were looking for really dirty stuff...Who was sleeping with who, what the Secret Service men were doing with the stewardesses, who was smoking pot on the plane — that sort of thing."[5][6]

The news service discontinued operations in 1980.


  1. ^ Speiser and Easterling-Hallman Collection of Ernest Hemingway, "The Spanish Civil War and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories"
  2. ^ Jennet Conant, The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington, 2008. p. 332
  3. ^ New York Times, Ernest Cuneo Obituary, March 5, 1988
  4. ^ "NORTH AMERICAN NEWSPAPER ALLIANCE". NameBase. Archived from the original on 2012-01-17. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  5. ^ "Writer Declares She Was G.O.P. Spy In M'Govern Camp". New York Times. August 19, 1973. 
  6. ^ Ackerman, Elise (February 23, 1998). "An agent drawn to scandal: Lucianne Goldberg's taste for controversy". US News and World Report. 

Further reading[edit]

  • John Neville Wheeler, I’ve Got News for You: Fifty Years in The Newspaper Syndication Business, 1961.