Volume 1, Number 2


By Michael S. Sweeney

Utah State University


This paper is the first examination of an iconoclastic, pro-labor newspaper, Voice of the People,  which circulated in Tucson, Arizona, during 1910-11, contributed to the passage of a progressive state constitution and until recently was believed to have no surviving copies. The author draws upon the correspondence between the paper's editor, Frank Harris Blighton, and his mentor, newspaper chain-builder E.W. Scripps, which has been preserved in the Scripps Manuscript Collection at Ohio University. Scripps gave Blighton professional advice, $1,500 and free access to Scripps' wire services. The author analyzes their letters, the few existing copies of Blighton's newspaper, and news coverage of Blighton in competing Arizona newspapers and concludes that Voice of the People ultimately failed because of the extramedia and ideological pressures that Blighton's reckless iconoclasm produced in his community. The author grounds his research in the theories of influences on news media content proposed by Shoemaker-Reese and Herman-Chomsky.


Frank Harris Blighton had the highest moral and civic intentions when he founded a pro-labor weekly newspaper, Voice of the People, in Tucson in 1910. The paper fought to help win a progressive constitution for the emerging state of Arizona, and, as its name implied, it aimed to be the champion of working people against big business and big government. But Blighton's paper ultimately failed, closing from a loss of advertising and the pressure of creditors. However, the failure remains instructive for newspaper publishers and journalism historians because Blighton had powerful reasons to succeed: He had asked for and received long-term financial assistance and detailed advice from one of the most successful newspaper publishers at the turn of the century, multimillionaire E.W. Scripps. Letters from Scripps to Blighton, preserved in Scripps' archive, painstakingly detail his formula for creating financially successful, progressive, pro-labor newspapers. These letters, along with several written by Blighton, illuminate not only Scripps' blend of pragmatism and iconoclasm, but also Blighton's inability to understand that the key to his possible success as a publisher was more basic than anything Scripps had told him about ways to attract readers. If Blighton's newspaper lacked the foundation of well-documented, accurate reporting for its civic crusades, it would struggle to gain respectability and, ultimately, profit.

This paper is the first to examine the Scripps-Blighton correspondence. It also is the first to examine the Voice of the People. Throughout most of the twentieth century, no copies of the newspaper were known to have survived. A 1949 survey of Arizona newspaper archives by the University of Arizona drew a blank on Blighton's paper.1 However, the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson at an unknown date acquired a dozen issues--some complete, some fragmented--dated between June 2, 1910, and October 2, 1911.2 Individual stories, photographs, and editorial cartoons from these issues have been drawn from this archive to give context to the Scripps-Blighton letters as well as to detail Blighton's struggle to imitate his mentor.

Blighton's editorship of the Voice of the People under Scripps' guidance is analyzed primarily through the lenses of two theories of media content. The first, a hierarchical model proposed by Pamela J. Shoemaker and Stephen D. Reese, focuses on the forces that influence the content of the news media. Shoemaker and Reese list five levels of influence from the micro to the macro. In the center of their dartboard-shaped model is the individual journalist's background. Working outward, in concentric rings from small to large scale, the journalist is surrounded by the routines in gathering and presenting the news, media organizational structures (such as the profit motive), extramedia influences, and ideology. Extramedia influences include social, economic, and governmental forces, and ideological influence is evident when a news medium challenges basic beliefs such as capitalism and the power of the individual.3 The three broadest rings in the Shoemaker-Reese model correspond roughly to the "filters" through which potential news stories flow in the second theory proposed by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. They list five extramedia influences on media content, in no particular order, as methods of maintaining the status quo and upholding authority: the news medium's profit motive, reliance on advertising, reliance on official sources, the "flak" of protest against stories that attack the status quo, and anti-communism as a national ideology.4 Of these, all are apparent in this study of Blighton's paper except the reliance on official sources and the pervasive ideology of anti-communism, although critics accused Blighton of being a socialist.


Judged solely on its merits, there is little of historical significance about Voice of the People. Blighton, whose letters depict extreme self-confidence, credited his paper with the Arizona voters' decision to empower themselves to unseat federal judges despite President William Howard Taft's hostility toward including such a measure in the state constitution. Blighton's claim cannot be taken at face value because he was not alone in trumpeting a progressive constitution. Phoenix's Arizona Gazette switched its political allegiance in 1910 because it favored direct democracy, and it carried out a war of words with the Arizona Republican about the proposed constitution.5 And former President Theodore Roosevelt added his powerful voice to the fight for judicial recall, arguing in June 1911 in The Outlook, a national magazine, that Arizona voters had the right to shape their constitution as they saw fit.6 While it is impossible to quantify each publication's influence on the constitutional vote, the Voice of the People obviously was part of a small chorus. The paper's distinction is that its politics were vehemently opposed to those of the entire Pima County (Tucson) delegation to the Constitutional Convention. All five of the county's delegates, as well as most of its business and political leaders, opposed a plank permitting initiative, referendum, and recall. Disliking the constitution as written, the five delegates refused to sign, resulting in the historical footnote that the original draft of the Arizona Constitution lacks any Tucson representative's signature. Thus, regardless of any influence Blighton's paper might have had, it changed no votes among the delegates of his home county. The short history of the Voice of the People is less an accounting of personal political triumph than one of political tension between journalists and government, between labor and business, and between journalism's ideals and its need to turn a profit.

Illuminating all three is the correspondence between Scripps, a veteran of these struggles, and Blighton. Seven letters from Scripps to Blighton and ten from Blighton to Scripps are preserved in the E.W. Scripps Manuscript Collection in Alden Library at Ohio University.

The Blighton-Scripps letters passed through three phases in five years.

The first was an exploration of shared interests, in which the two newspapermen began identifying with each other. Both Scripps and Blighton discovered they favored labor over capital, and ambition and hard work over knowledge. Scripps' letters in this first phase, from October through December 1910, were marked by his advice to Blighton to work hard and cherish the excitement of the birth of a state. He compared Blighton's experience to Scripps' own shoestring operations when he was starting his career.

The second phase, lasting until summer 1911, witnessed the solidifying of a mentor-protégé relationship. During this period, Scripps and his staff read Blighton's paper, advised him how to improve it, and expressed confidence in him. The high point occurred in mid-1911, when Scripps and Blighton sent copies of Blighton's paper to congressmen sympathetic to Arizona gaining a progressive constitution. Scripps' long-distance mentoring role was unusual. A mentor has been defined as a long-term coach who promotes career growth and personal advancement, and as a sponsor and role model in a relationship centered on the skills a protégé wants to develop.7 While it is common for mentoring roles to exist within a newspaper, it apparently is less common for one journalist to mentor another if they have no organizational connection.8 A clear example of one editor coaching another at an unrelated paper can be found in Horace Greeley's 1860 letter to a country editor advising him to cultivate success by getting his neighbors' names into his paper--but there is no indication in Greeley's letters that this relationship blossomed into long-term mentoring.9 Scripps, on the other hand, had several mentoring or patronage relationships in his life, not all of them in journalism. He gave a $5,000 commission to sculptor Arthur Putnam because, he said, he admired the man's spunk and was curious about what he would achieve. His curiosity also prompted him to finance Professor William Ritter's marine biological station in California.10 In his mentoring relationships in journalism, Scripps liked to find young men with high intelligence and little or no editing experience, place them in positions of responsibility in his newspapers, and then let them develop with the help of Scripps' occasional guidance. Oliver Knight, who edited a collection of Scripps' "disquisitions," said Scripps tried to mimic the training methods of the Jesuits. Scripps wrote, "The Jesuit takes a young child, teaches and trains him, and molds his mind while it is plasticity itself . . . and when the boy has grown to young manhood . . . he is almost incapable of pursuing any other vocation successfully." Applying such methods to his business, Scripps "was convinced that a man who had had experience elsewhere had been 'trained,' whereas [he] believed in education through self-development," Knight said.11 Scripps was not a proponent of what later would be termed "micromanagement." Rather, Scripps endorsed "planting an acorn and letting it grow or die. . . . My idea has been to plant a newspaper with some man or men in charge and let it die if die it must or, growing, grow as the result of the growth of the men who made it and not as the result of my managing the men who managed the paper."12 And yet, despite his professed interest in giving full responsibility to underlings for failure or success, Scripps often gave advice to newly hired editors and others who would listen. A good example was Scripps' work in organizing a service to distribute science news to newspapers. He worked behind the scenes from 1919 to 1921 to bring together a group of scientists and journalists to form the Science Service. Trustees and a president were chosen during a meeting at Scripps' home and began working autonomously. However, Scripps often critiqued the service's writing style and, according to historian James C. Foust, effected changes by "prodding" its members to "reach a happy medium between what scientists wanted and what the public would read."13 Other examples of Scripps' style of advising are specific to the management of his newspapers. Scripps placed editor Negley Cochran in charge of an experimental, adless newspaper in Chicago, The Day Book, in 1911, but critiqued many editions and wrote him numerous letters of advice.14 He also gave new editor Paul Edwards, whom he recruited to begin a paper in Houston, an eleven-page letter of advice about finances, editorial policy, and management style.15 What is common to these journalism relationships, and separates them from Scripps' ties to Blighton, is that in all of the above Scripps mentored men in organizations that he owned or founded. In Blighton's case, Scripps' work began altruistically. Initially, he wanted the Voice of the People to succeed because Blighton reminded him of himself as a young man. Only later, after examining the future of journalism in Arizona, did he consider buying control of the paper if it became the dominant voice in Tucson.

The Scripps-Blighton relationship fits the conventional theories of mentoring, which state that interpersonal factors play a significant role in determining how mentors and protégés choose each other. Specifically, if they look for partners who are competent, bright, and motivated, they are likely to pair up with people who appear confident.16 Blighton and the other people whom Scripps supported radiated strength and confidence; it is not surprising that although Scripps was frugal, he sometimes chose to "bet on a man."17

The third phase of the Scripps-Blighton correspondence began with Scripps and Blighton meeting in July 1911. It included Scripps' investigation into Blighton's alienation from his wife in October 1911 and ended with Scripps' refusal to loan money to Blighton in 1915. The tone of this period is disillusionment. Scripps' initial identification with a hard-working iconoclast had become colored by the poor impression Blighton made in a personal interview at Miramar, Scripps' home near San Diego, along with his realization that Blighton's paper was failing despite Scripps' best efforts. The final blow was Blighton's revelation of a successful libel suit against him by the governor of Arizona.


Blighton first wrote to Scripps at Miramar on October 3, 1910. The single-spaced, one-page letter showed signs of being written in a hurry or typed by someone possessed of marginal skill as a typist -- seven spelling or typographical errors were corrected by overstriking to make a darker impression.18 The shoddy typing is noteworthy because Blighton had worked in newspapers for several years in New York and Arizona before starting the Voice of the People on May 25, 1910, and said in a later letter that he made pocket money by hiring himself out as a stenographer.19 In light of these facts, his error-filled, muddy letter to Scripps indicated Blighton's casual attitude and low expectations of receiving a significant reply. The letter appeared on letterhead for the "Voice of the People Printing and Publishing Company, Arizona State Weekly," demonstrating that although Blighton pleaded poverty, he at least had enough money to keep up appearances in his correspondence. The letterhead carried the motto "For All Who Labor and Are Heavy Laden."

Blighton's letter said he was writing to Scripps at the suggestion of a mutual acquaintance. Ben Heney, the former mayor of Tucson, was the brother of a friend of Scripps' and had written the publisher in 1909 to alert him about corruption in the Tucson police administration.20 Blighton said he had worked for nineteen weeks, since the founding of the Voice, without compensation, spending all of the money he had set aside for its development as well as $350 he had obtained from his wife. He listed his weekly circulation as 1,400, including 1,000 subscribers, and then cut to his request: Would Scripps be willing to help move a $6,100 newspaper plant from Phoenix to Tucson to "establish a clean, fearless, progressive daily, with ideas and ideals."21

Scripps was an unlikely candidate to give money to a stranger such as Blighton. Scripps' first rule of moneymaking was to never spend as much as he earned,22 and that philosophy helped him build America's first chain of newspapers. Despite the wealth that by 1910 had allowed him to live in semi-retirement, Scripps habitually agonized over expenses. A decade before he received his first letter from Blighton, Scripps had decreed that his reporters must buy their own pencils. He had complained to the Kentucky Post when the editor's wife received $1.50 for typing a report. And in a notorious budgetary crackdown, Scripps had ordered the Cleveland Press to stop buying toilet paper. His rationale was that newsprint would work just as well, and it did, until the pipes became hopelessly clogged.23 By 1910, Scripps was slashing expenses in Chicago in his attempt to establish the Day Book and free himself from advertisers' pressures.24 Thus, when Scripps received Blighton's letter he reacted in character. He said no -- at first.

However, Scripps thought enough of his reply to Blighton that he pasted a copy of it in his letterbooks -- the bound volumes of his correspondence separate from his looseleaf files. His letter offered advice instead of money, asserting that "all the capital and energy" he possessed were earmarked for a "peculiarly difficult and expensive new journalistic enterprise," a reference to the Day Book.25

He told Blighton:If the founder of a newspaper has the right kind of stuff in him he wins whether he has large capital, small capital, or no capital at all.

My original capital consisted of $80.00 in money and a vigorous constitution and enough self-conceit to equip a regiment of ordinary men.26

Blighton fired off a response, picking up on the autobiographical cues that Scripps had dropped. In three single-spaced pages, filled with overstrikes, underlines, scribbled editing marks, and capitalization of a handful of words (IDEAL . . . COMPLETE . . . EXACTLY), Blighton tried to draw comparisons between himself and Scripps. His own capital in founding the Voice of the People was $95, he said, and his supplemental capital included "six feet one and a quarter [sic] of 200 pounds of flesh and bone and blood, with about sixteen years of newspaper training and my own determination to quit when I have to -- and never to have to."27 Blighton said he was struggling to continue to print the Voice despite being charged with assault after, he said, he was attacked by eight henchmen of the corrupt police chief and city recorder, and arrested ten times on charges of criminal libel.28 Although he did not say so, three of the arrests resulted from charges being pressed by a journalist at a competing newspaper, managing editor James T. Williams Jr. of the Tucson Citizen. Blighton had accused him of being a "carpet-bagger" so cozy with the political and business elites in Pima County that he rode to and from Washington, D.C., at the expense of the Southern Pacific Railroad.29

Blighton told Scripps was that his paper continued to appear, although he did not mention his inability to move the press from Phoenix. He reiterated that he was broke and his paper in danger of bankruptcy. He blamed his troubles with authority on his championing a progressive constitution for Arizona; his paper said his opponents favored a "canned constitution" that, in a parody of the Pure Food and Drug Act, was "guaranteed to contain no modern ideas."30

The first issue of the Voice of the People that survives, dated June 10, 1910, testifies to Blighton's status as iconoclast. The front page of the four-page broadsheet contains six stories. The two above the fold are an attack on Tucson city officials for controlling the city's business climate and an attack on the "Tucson Food Trust" for fixing the price of shredded wheat biscuits at twice the national average. The four stories below the fold concern the conviction of a contracting firm for hiring illegal immigrants; a report that the Tucson water supply was running low; a request for citizens to prevent the loss of the El Paso and Southwestern railroad, coupled with a charge that one of Tucson's leaders had pleaded with the railroad's surveyors to avoid the town; and a district attorney's investigation of vegetable-market collusion in San Francisco. The front page also included a cartoon mocking the "over-rated power" of one of the city's leaders, identified as the "Kink" of Tucson. Inside, the editorial page hammered at the necessity of the Arizona Constitution's inclusion of the initiative and referendum (the recall of public officials was not mentioned).31 The next issue that survives in the Arizona Historical Society's archives, dated November 4, 1910, devoted a front-page editorial and lead story (upper-right corner) to the battle over initiative and referendum.32

Unknowingly, Blighton had struck a chord with Scripps by his devotion to grass-roots politics and had taken a major step toward establishing rapport with the older publisher.


In their politics and ideals, Blighton and Scripps were much alike. Scripps, born in Illinois in 1854, had founded his first paper, the Cleveland Penny Press, in 1878. He organized the first major American newspaper chain, which grew to total thirty-four papers in fifteen states. His papers subscribed and contributed to his Newspaper Enterprise Association, founded in 1902 to supply feature stories, cartoons, and editorials, and to the United Press, the wire service Scripps co-founded in 1907. Scripps' papers were low-priced, edited for what he called "the 95 percent" who made up the common people, and pro-labor. Scripps' editors were advised of his political views in a 1910 memo from Robert Paine, Scripps' lieutenant, to William B. Colver, the general manager of the NEA. First on the list of Scripps' thirty-three editorial policies was "Loyalty to the masses -- [l]oyalty to what is right and best for the common people, especially including legitimate labor organizations." Also listed were endorsements for a non-partisan judiciary; government inspection and control of mines; and the establishment of direct democracy through initiative, referendum and recall, which allowed voters to bypass legislative bodies to pass laws and remove officeholders.33 Direct democracy so enraptured Scripps that he tried to organize a progressive intelligentsia in 1910. He invited to Miramar the muckraker Lincoln Steffens, lawyer Clarence Darrow, Wisconsin Senator Robert LaFollette and others unhappy with the Taft administration, which they considered too reactionary, but nothing came directly from their meetings.34 Nevertheless, one of Scripps' biographers asserted that this band of reformers helped spread dissatisfaction with Taft and contributed to the president's unsuccessful bid for re-election in 1912.35In the political hothouse at Miramar, Blighton's letters found fertile ground.

Little is known of Blighton's background other than what he volunteered to Scripps in their correspondence. His legacy, other than the short-lived Voice of the People, consists of three publications -- a one-act play, copyrighted in 1915, called Paid Out; a 1915 book, Here's to the Day!, co-authored with Charles Agnew MacLean; and a 1916 pamphlet, "Woodrow Wilson & Co.," which assails the president as an "active little Princeton microbe in betraying, corrupting and debauching the people."36 A few biographical facts can be gleaned from the decennial United States census. Blighton was born in 1874 in New York state. He and his brother, Charles, who was three years younger, were raised by an uncle and aunt, Merritt and Eliza Blighton, on a farm in Clarendon, Orleans County, New York. No mention of Blighton's parents could be discerned in any of the censuses of 1860 through 1900; nor could Blighton's antecedents be traced in the massive genealogical data base of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his wife, Ida, had been married three years but had no children when they were enumerated by census-takers in mid-1910. They lived at 202 East Pennington Street in Tucson, four blocks from the offices of the Voice of the People. Blighton gave his occupation to the census-taker as "editor" and revealed that he had been out of work for four or fourteen weeks in 1909 (the enumerator's handwriting is too smudged to distinguish between the two). Further biographical details emerge from letters in the Scripps archive, portraying a man who believed in the wisdom of the common people and the importance of journalism. "Emerson is his [Blighton's] Bible, and Thoreau furnishes his philosophy," Scripps told an associate in a letter. He said Blighton had worked at newspapers in Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo before moving to the West in 1908 or 1909.37 A photographic portrait in Voice of the People in May 1911 pictured Blighton in a light-colored suit, dark hat, and polka-dot bow tie. He held a reporter's notebook in his left hand and a pen aloft in his right, not as if he were preparing to write, but rather as if he were presenting it as a symbol of truth. His face was clean-shaven, his lips full and broad, his eyes shallow-set, and his gaze direct.38 The image is one of crusader/iconoclast -- an image he bolstered by an editorial that appeared a month later, in which he wrote, "Many of my good friends, and REAL friends, profess to deplore the atmosphere of ANTAGONISM which they contend I am constantly engendering. To these good souls, I make answer. . . . We do not use sweet-scented talcum powder to kill the deadly germs of typhoid."39 Little else survives to flesh out the life of Blighton, and even the year of his death is unknown. Yet this lack of information is not particularly remarkable. His chief accomplishment was to publish a newspaper that quickly failed, and failing papers that leave no apparent legacy of political or social change are seldom the focus of historians' interest. Furthermore, Blighton apparently left no descendants to keep his memory alive.


The first exchange of letters between Blighton and Scripps, in October 1910, occurred during a difficult time for Arizona. The previous month, voters in the territory had chosen fifty-two delegates to the territory's Constitutional Convention. In the campaigning before the vote, most of the territory's papers had urged the election of delegates who would produce a document that would please Taft, the conservative Republican lawyer who occupied the White House. Republicans told voters that the most important goal of the election was to guarantee that Arizona would achieve statehood, and the best way to do that was to keep initiative, referendum, and recall -- the three pillars of direct democracy -- out of the constitution. Many Democrats, including speakers who had experience with the progressive constitutions of Oregon and Oklahoma, stumped the territory to urge adoption of initiative, referendum, and recall. In the voting of September 12, 1910, forty-one Democrats and eleven Republicans were elected to the convention. Thirty-nine Democrats and one Republican pledged to support initiative and referendum; thirty Democrats supported the recall of officeholders, including judges. Pima County, which included Tucson, sent its five opponents of direct democracy.40Blighton was not exaggerating when he told Scripps he had powerful opponents in Tucson.

The Arizona Constitutional Convention opened on October 10, 1910, and the delegates voted in favor of initiative, referendum, and recall. Territorial Governor Richard Sloan said the delegates' action meant that Arizona had as much chance of joining Russia as it did the United States.41 But Arizona laborers supported the recall provision so they could get rid of judges who issued injunctions in labor disputes, particularly in the mining industry.

Arizona scheduled a vote on the constitution for February 9, 1911. The letters between Scripps and Blighton in the months before the vote completed the initial phase of their relationship. Blighton had sent Scripps copies of the Voice of the People in November, and although Scripps said his eyesight was too poor to read the four-page paper, he must have glanced at the headlines and surmised the contents. Scripps' letter on November 14, 1910, urged Blighton to avoid overkill. He wrote:

Mr. Blighton, my object in writing you is not to praise your paper but to criticise its editor and if possible give him some practical assistance.

Because you feel strongly, and because you know that there is good reason for every man in Arizona to feel strongly on certain subjects, you must not, if you would be a successful newspaper man and hence a successful reformer, make the mistake of supposing that any normal human being can give more than a small fraction of his time and thought to serious subjects no matter how vital they may be.

If you would attract a lot of readers among that very class of people whose influence and votes you need and who are not as yet at all awakened to the seriousness of the situation, you must gain their attention and interest by interesting them and entertaining them with discussions and stories which will appeal to them. . . .

You have got to catch the eye and interest of the people who are at present not only indifferent to your aims but actually opposed to them.

You cannot get their attention and awaken their interest by just one long "preach."

The best way that I know of to make a paper successful as an effective servant of the public interest is to make the paper so interesting to everybody that everybody will have to read it. Then the editor can by strategy and tactics insidiously instill into the minds of its readers some germs of morality; some of humanity; and some of patriotism."42

What "interesting" and "entertaining" stories did Scripps have in mind, especially since Blighton could not afford to hire a staff? Scripps had the answer: Stories drawn from Scripps' NEA, which he offered to Blighton free for one year, and the United Press Association, which Blighton could receive at no expense above the telegraph cost.43

Receiving the gift, Blighton said, "I knew exactly how the children of Israel felt the morning they breakfasted on quails and manna,"44 a statement that likened Scripps to Jehovah providing food in the desert. The gift marked Scripps' and Blighton's tacit acknowledgment of a mentor-protégé relationship: Scripps believed he had the wisdom and resources to help the Voice, and Blighton's acceptance of the handout signified his endorsement of Scripps' superior newspaper skills.

Blighton's next letters, dated December 2 and 10, 1910, said he had begun using the NEA feature stories. Three editorials from the NEA appeared in one issue of the Voice, he told Scripps, and he said he would install a women's page, sports, and humor.45 The December 23 edition, which survives, was an explosion of human interest stories that Blighton received from Scripps and used according to Scripps' advice. The front page comprised a feature on a philanthropic Sunday-school teacher in Rome, Georgia, and a reprinting of the Christmas story from Luke and the Beatitudes of Matthew. Page two included an interview with Arctic explorer Frederick Cook and a feature from Chicago on an orphan worth $30 million. Editorials about the proposed Arizona Constitution and a story alleging corruption by Governor Sloan were confined to pages eight and nine.46

The Herman-Chomsky model suggests that media that challenge authority will be subjected to "flak," which they define as "negative responses to a media statement or program" and may include "letters, telegrams, phone calls, petitions, lawsuits, speeches, and bills before Congress, and other modes of complaint, threat, and punitive action."47 Likewise, the extramedia influences of the Shoemaker-Reese model suggest the rise of pressures in a community to counterbalance journalism that challenges the established power structure. Such pressures are apparent in the pages of Blighton's paper and in his letters to Scripps. Blighton's paper quoted a delegate to the Constitutional Convention as finding a whisper of socialism in Voice of the People's support for the right to recall judges, and thus painted Blighton as opposing the dominant ideology of capitalism.48 The Voice reported the firing of a typographer at the Tucson Citizen who defended Blighton's integrity to the Citizen's owner, who also happened to be a judge.49 Advertisers deserted Blighton, too. The November 4, 1910, issue boasted four pages and seven columns of ads, but that ratio of advertising to news-editorial space steadily slipped. The ten-page December 23, 1910, issue had six columns of ads, and of the remaining issues that survive in the Arizona archive, only two have more than two columns of advertising. The argument that Blighton's iconoclasm fueled his loss of advertising is supported by two articles in the Voice of the People. In the first, prescription druggist George Martin, who had advertised in every issue, dropped his ads in June 1911 because of the paper's reporting on Tucson Police Chief Judson Arnold's acquittal on morals charges involving a Mexican girl. (Blighton had reported that the verdict was quite legal, but unjust.) In reporting Martin's decision, the paper said, "The business manager of the newspaper, when he asked the firm for the reasons for its withdrawal, was told that 'it was because of the Arnold controversy; that they had friends on both sides, and could not afford to be drawn into it." Blighton added a note that said he would welcome further loss of patronage if it resulted from doing his editorial duty.50 In the second article, Blighton wrote that bankers would not lend him money and merchants "eye me coldly" when he approaches to ask for advertising.51

Normally, according to the Herman-Chomsky model, advertising pressure and flak nudge a deviant news medium into alignment with community elites, including government officials. But Blighton ignored these signals. In his case, the individual journalist -- the central influence on media content according to Shoemaker-Reese -- chose integrity over expediency, believing that the truth as he saw it and Scripps' money would lead to success.

Cruder attempts to influence Blighton's paper included physical attacks that Blighton mentioned in his second letter. In addition to his charge that he was attacked by henchmen of the city administration, Blighton was assaulted on the street by a woman identified in the Tucson Citizen as "Mrs. Kelso." She objected to how the Voice of the People had portrayed her character, and she tore the shirt off Blighton's back.52 Nothing survives in the Citizen or the Voice of the People to fill in the details of the offensive story that Blighton had published. Blighton also got into a fight with a printer at the competing Tucson Citizen one month after the Voice of the People first was published. The cause of the fight, in which Blighton broke his thumb, was not revealed in either the Citizen or the surviving copies of Blighton's paper. The printer tried unsuccessfully to have Blighton charged with assault.53

Blighton also was brought up repeatedly on libel charges. Nine counts of criminal libel were filed in the fall of 1910 by managing editor Williams and Allan B. Jaynes of the Tucson Citizen, and Judge William F. Cooper of probate court. Williams doggedly battled Blighton's allegations that he received free railroad tickets and perjured himself before a grand jury, Jaynes fought accusations of blackmailing a saloon keeper, and Cooper objected to a Blighton editorial that attacked his qualifications to help write the state constitution as well as articles accusing him of "robbing" an old miner of nearly $3,000 in probate court under the guise of judicial process. Unlike Scripps, who consistently found the facts to back up his iconoclastic journalism, Blighton had been reckless and was unable to produce evidence to support his claims in court. However, he was acquitted on a technicality, retried on new libel charges, and finally saw a respite from his troubles in December 1911. At that time, a new jury failed to agree on a verdict, despite Blighton's inability to prove any of his published accusations. However, plenty of revealing testimony had been entered into the record concerning Blighton's status as outcast among the civic and business elite.54 In an affidavit in district court, Blighton quoted officials of the Good Government league as saying that he ought to be put out of business.55 Judge John H. Campbell, whose court normally would have heard the criminal case against Blighton, excused himself because he could not be impartial, saying almost every issue of Voice of the People contained something in contempt of his court.56 And the prosecuting attorney, in his closing arguments when the first trial went to the jury in May 1911, said, "Men have been killed for writing things not near so bad as the things this man has written."57

Further evidence of Blighton's recklessness in handling accusations against public officials appears in his attack on the Tucson public schools. On June 9, 1911, he accused a public school teacher of practicing forgery and fraud in order to teach without the required license. He gave the story front-page display and began the article with the claim that "graft permeates the Tucson city school system."58 However, he gave no proof of his charges, either against the teacher or in relating her actions to a broader web of deceit. A few months later a grand jury censured him for the story.

In countering the pressures he faced in 1910 and 1911, Blighton used Scripps' letters to boost his image as a man with powerful connections. Blighton triumphantly showed his Tucson acquaintances the letter in which Scripps offered monetary assistance. He told Scripps, "Your letter has created a great feeling of sympathy for me, personally. They reason thus: If a BIG man like Scripps goes behind the VOICE, we may expect to see it prosper, in spite of its enemies.59

Blighton's letter suggests that in the relationship between government and the press, and between labor and capital, a journalist's personal prestige adds to a paper's success and possibly its influence. Blighton believed that widespread knowledge of his connections would push his paper toward financial security. Such beliefs ran counter to Scripps' earlier advice to Blighton, as well as his advice to his own editors that can be found throughout the E.W. Scripps Manuscript Collection: Readers choose a paper for its content, and a paper that cannot attract readers on its own merits is doomed. Likewise, the Shoemaker-Reese and Herman-Chomsky models link the importance of attracting and keeping advertisers to a news medium's long-term health.

Scripps' letter responding to Blighton indicated he was more envious than flattered. Scripps said his grandfather had helped settle Illinois; his mother had persevered in the early days of Ohio; and his uncle had been a member of Missouri's Constitutional Convention. In each case, he said, a great state emerged from hardships. Such was the case in Arizona, he said.

Don't think for a moment that you are fighting a losing battle. Don't for a moment imagine that Arizona is not destined to be in some one or more respects the greatest state in the Union. . . .

I can truthfully say, Mr. Blighton, that reading your papers and reading your letters I envy you.60

In December 1910, Scripps quietly told Colver, the head of the NEA, that he would like to have Blighton join the Scripps organization if he "continues to hold on." He said he was greatly attracted by Blighton's "most glorious fight" and would rather have his sons duplicate Blighton's experiences than be millionaires.61 Thus the mentor-protégé relationship flowering in the final weeks of 1910 had parental overtones for Scripps, who vicariously shared Blighton's exploits much as a father shares a son's.

Those were the last letters to or from Blighton that can be found in the Scripps Manuscript Collection until July 1911. In the interim, Blighton continued to struggle to keep his paper publishing. Besides paying for his libel defense, he had other debts. Records of the First Judicial District of Pima County reveal his being summoned to court in March to promise to repay an old debt of $301 to the Tucson Printing and Publishing Company.62

Also in the interim between December and July, Arizona voters endorsed the proposed constitution by a vote of 12,584 to 3,920. The constitutional fight then shifted to Washington as proponents of the progressive constitution sought the congressional and presidential support required for statehood. When Scripps and Blighton resumed writing in the summer of 1911, they circulated copies of The Voice of the People to members of the United States Senate and House, including Senator Miles Poindexter of Washington and Representatives Alfred Allen of Ohio and William Kent of California.63 This marked Blighton's high-water mark in both political influence and his relationship with Scripps.

The growth of the business as well as personal aspect of the relationship can be seen in Scripps' letter of July 5, 1911, the first surviving bit of correspondence between the two in the Scripps archive after the letter of December 12. Scripps filled two pages with questions about Tucson and Blighton's background. He asked Blighton about his age and family; the population of Tucson and the territory within 100 miles of the city; Tucson's chances of becoming the state's dominant metropolis; Blighton's debts, income, and assets; and other questions that signaled Scripps' deepening interest.64 But was it an interest in the man or his paper? Scripps' usual method of expanding his chain of papers was to lend money to a young publisher and take 51 percent of the profits if the publisher succeeded; Scripps absorbed the losses of failure.65 Missing from the Scripps Manuscript Collection is any clear statement of Scripps' intent toward the Voice if Blighton made it successful; his comment to Colver that he might want Blighton in his organization could refer to a partnership, ownership, syndication or other form of relationship. A letter from Scripps to a prospective business partner in the summer of 1911 indicates a growing closeness between Blighton and Scripps, but it can be read two ways. In the letter, Scripps refused to become a stockholder in the Arizona Republican because "I have already become keenly and personally interested in a journalistic adventure in Arizona."66 While that was an obvious reference to Blighton's paper -- Scripps did not have an Arizona newspaper of his own -- it could be read either as paternalistic support or as a hint of a formal business relationship. Most likely, Scripps wanted to buy out Blighton if the Voice proved successful.

Blighton's reply to Scripps' list of questions does not survive. Other letters in the Scripps archive reveal that Blighton had a subscription list of 1,500 and would break even at 3,000, but had trouble getting advertising because his paper antagonized "all the interests."67 Whatever Blighton said must have been satisfactory. Scripps' next letter, on July 14, offered the Arizona editor an immediate check for $500, plus a $200 check each month for the next five months. He told Blighton to drop the Scripps name in letters to progressively minded members of Congress and to Roosevelt.68 Scripps also wrote his own note to Representative Allen, expressing confidence in Blighton: "When you find a man as close-fisted as myself plunking down $1,500 cash you may be sure that the conditions which have so strongly appealed to me must be something out of the ordinary."69 Money, to Scripps, was the strongest indicator of his fondness for Blighton's work.

One of Blighton's purchases after receiving Scripps' first check was new stationery. His next letter to Scripps appeared on letterhead containing a new logo for the Voice of the People. It was the width of the writing paper and three inches deep, with black ink overlaying a green floral pattern.70 Blighton's message made no mention of the cost or necessity of his new stationery. Instead, Blighton detailed his troubles with creditors, his hard work to maintain his paper, and his political ideas. For example, in addition to his newspaper work, he said that he had spoken to a crowd of 2,000 at a Labor Day meeting in Globe (and reported that the established newspapers refused to mention his speech) and had printed 2,500 copies of a political platform for a friend's campaign. He also took credit for the recall provision's inclusion in the constitution that was sent to Congress.71

Congress decided not to delete the recall provision from Arizona's constitution, and it passed a resolution for statehood. Taft vetoed that resolution on August 15, 1911.72 Ten days later, the president said he would allow Arizona to become a state if it removed the recall of judges from the constitution. That sent the matter back to the people of Arizona. On December 12, 1911, the voters by a eight-to-one ratio amended the document to conform to Taft's wishes. It was clear both to Taft and to the voters that once Arizona was admitted as a state, it could amend its constitution once more and reinstate the recall provision -- which is exactly what happened. Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912, and the recall was restored the following November.73


The summer 1911 letters, in which Blighton described his political and newspaper work, marked the beginning of the end of the Scripps-Blighton relationship. In his litany of self-congratulation on continuing to publish despite adversity, Blighton mentioned that his wife had gone to New York and would be unable to help him. Furthermore, she was refusing to accept money from him, he said. This statement caused Scripps some concern. He or one of his associates contacted the United Press office in New York City, where UP General News Manager Roy Howard sent a reporter to investigate about Ida Blighton. The reporter did not find her, but was able to locate a friend of hers named Ruelberg. Howard summarized the reporter's findings in a letter and telegram. Frank Harris Blighton got a copy of the letter, along with a memorandum from the investigative reporter. The memorandum is not in the Scripps Manuscript Collection, but the telegram is. It cast a shadow on the crusader's image that Blighton projected in his letters to Scripps:

Miss Ruelberg in 34th Street has letters telegrams [sic] from Blighton which wife refuses to open. Latter living Brooklyn refuses give Ruelberg her address, latter says Mrs. Blighton in serious financial difficulties over check for note cashes without funds to cover is trying to borrow thousand dollars absolutely refuses communicate with husband.74

After receiving Howard's letter and private memorandum, Blighton fired off a letter to Scripps. The old man did not answer. Instead, Scripps, who was ill and depressed,75 referred the letter to his son James, who responded coolly. "You may expect from me that I will carry out whatever agreements my father has made with you, but nothing more," James Scripps said. While he added that he sympathized with Blighton's work and urged him to get a business partner, the younger Scripps said he had no one to recommend for the job and no time to help Blighton himself until the new year. In short, a cordial brush-off.

Missing from the archive is a clear explanation of the decline; however, Scripps learned the unpleasant details of Blighton's marriage at roughly the same time that the Voice was foundering despite Scripps' assistance -- the final surviving copy of the Voice had only two columns of advertising amid ten pages of news, features, and a tiny notice that the paper's stockholders would meet the following evening.76

The combination of financial and familial instability did not improve Blighton's standing in Scripps' eyes, but it probably was not fatal to the relationship. Instead, Scripps most likely decided to cut his ties to Blighton shortly after meeting him in July 1911. According to Knight, Scripps relied primarily on personal interviews to form his opinion of editors. Furthermore, he hated "yes" men, a characteristic of Blighton's suggested in his letters.77 The fact that Scripps summoned Blighton to Miramar for an interview suggests a high level of expectations, but they quickly were shattered. Blighton failed the interview, although there is no record of their conversation. In the fall, Scripps told a colleague that Blighton talked like a fool when he got excited.78

By the time 1912 arrived, the Voice of the People was dead. Blighton explained to Paine, Scripps' aide:

I have kept the paper going in the face of a blacklist which has stripped me of advertising. Job work and subscriptions -- and the $200 a month aid from Mr. Scripps has done the trick. And NOW, right on the verge of SUCCESS, because I lack a few dollars to meet a payment on a mortgage (which I did not know would be due until March when in San Diego) I am OVERBOARD. The plant will be lost. The paper will go down. And WORST of all, I am without a nickel -- had to wait today until paper sales came in before I could eat.79

Paine's response -- if he made one -- was not filed with Scripps' papers. It matters little what he thought or said. The Voice ceased publication January 1. The reason that Blighton eventually gave to Scripps, in a two-page letter containing many of Blighton's typographical errors but none of his capitalizations, was what he described as a campaign of judicial harassment. He did not mention a mortgage payment. He did, however, quote the grand jury of Pima County, which he said had summoned him in November 1911 to prove his paper's claims of corruption in Tucson schools. The grand jury reported: "We have carefully and conscientiously examined into the charges brought by Frank H. Blighton in his newspaper, Voice of the People, and find the same without any foundation whatever." Blighton said he laid out these facts so Scripps would know he hadn't turned "yellow" when he let his paper expire.80 It was important to Blighton to demonstrate that if could not meet his mentor's goals, he at least had followed his instructions.

A second letter six days later asked Scripps to help elect a federal judge endorsed by Blighton. Scripps said he was tired, and his response offered roundabout support. If others wrote and signed letters to the Senate and sent copies to Miramar, he would write also. While the letter called Blighton a fighter and a reformer, it did not invite a continued relationship. Scripps was finished with Blighton and the Voice. When the creditor who assumed Blighton's interest in the Voice asked Paine for a loan to revive it, Paine's six-line response expressed severe doubts that Scripps would spend more money in Tucson.81 Scripps was cutting his losses.

Considering Blighton's failure despite Scripps' assistance, the results of the investigation into Blighton's marriage (why wouldn't his wife talk to him or take his money despite being destitute?), and the foolish impression Blighton made in person, Scripps was in a less-than-receptive frame of mind when Blighton wrote about his legal problems with political and judicial officials. While government officials had a history of corruption in territorial Arizona,82 Scripps had grown rich supervising a chain of papers that successfully exposed government malpractice. He probably believed that Blighton failed to be careful enough to prove his case -- if not in court, then in print. Unable to reconcile his views of Blighton as crusading iconoclast and Blighton as reckless fool, Scripps opted for the latter and dropped the relationship. Of course, the historian has only a few newspapers and Scripps' archive from which to draw conclusions. A construction of the relationship based on Blighton's archive, if it exists,83 likely would differ, particularly if it fills in the missing details about Scripps' financial and proprietary interests in the Voice. To what extent would Blighton have interpreted the failure of the Voice as Scripps' failure? It is not a question that Blighton would have addressed to Scripps, from whom he hoped to receive further assistance. Nor is the question likely to receive prominent display in Scripps' archive.

A pathetic appendix to the Scripps-Blighton correspondence arose in November 1915, when Blighton, after three years of silence, wrote Scripps a ten-page, single-spaced, disjointed letter from the office of a New York law firm. The letter is difficult to understand, stringing together half-explained references to politicians and magazines. However, Blighton once again asked Scripps for financial help, revealing that his wife was in prison and he was still in debt. He claimed he had found a story that was "the biggest, crookedest, foulest thing in the history of our American government -- but had little or no proof of the biggest end of it." The New York American and New York World had promised him big money for it, he said, but then had reneged. He said he took the story to Washington and confronted Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan with what he knew about President Wilson's corrupt administration, but Bryan was no more forthcoming. Blighton said he was accosted by Secret Service agents, his wife was tortured in a thirty-hour interrogation, and he had become the subject of a conspiracy to discredit him. These statements might have struck Scripps as they strike the modern reader -- as evidence of an unbalanced mind. But equally damaging was Blighton's revelation, in the letter, that Governor Sloan had won a libel suit over a story that Blighton had sold to Everybody's Magazine in 1914.84 Although Blighton's letter said he could prove his case against Sloan, it added that Everybody's had settled the suit -- an unlikely scenario if such proof actually existed. Thus, Blighton had demonstrated his failure to be Scripps' kind of journalist. He had allowed government and corporate interests to get the best of him. Furthermore, his adherence to his political ideals without regard to financial concerns -- he had lost a lawsuit, ruined his own paper, and damaged the finances of a national magazine -- would not have pleased Scripps, whose papers were both profitable and iconoclastic.

The correction run by Everybody's was revealing of the style of Blighton's journalism, which contributed to his troubles when he ran the Voice of the People. Blighton's article had alleged a conflict of interest in Sloan's sanctioning of a water contract. "The fact is that the contract under discussion was made long before Mr. Sloan was appointed Territorial Governor," the correction said. "There was no basis for identifying Governor Sloan with this contract in any way."85

Perhaps Scripps investigated Blighton's and Everybody's lawsuit, or Blighton's legal troubles at the Voice. Perhaps not. All he needed to revise his opinion of Blighton had been evident in the 1915 letter, as well as the earlier letters admitting defeat in Arizona. Scripps' half-page reply to Blighton said he could not respond to Blighton's call for help.86


In 1910, Blighton had seemed such a bright prospect to the newspaper millionaire, who relived his youth through the Voice. But although the Voice may have influenced the shape of the Arizona Constitution, its editor's achievements could not outweigh his failures in the eyes of E.W. Scripps. For a year, they worked as mentor and protégé to try to give Arizona their beloved form of direct democracy -- a true "voice of the people." Personal elements then intervened, and Blighton's missteps despite Scripps' guidance spoiled their relationship. Yet this relationship remains instructive despite its failure. Scripps' letters reveal his philosophy that a paper must entertain as well as inform, and they demonstrate his willingness to blur the lines between politics and journalism, and between the personal and professional. These tensions are apparent in the Shoemaker-Reese and Herman-Chomsky models of influence on media content. The Voice of the People failed because even the support of a powerful man such as Scripps was not enough to offset the Blighton's financial troubles, which stemmed in part from his alienation of advertisers and his constant need to defend himself against libel suits filed by public officials. Blighton never achieved the readership or advertising support of a large enough slice of the Tucson citizenry to allow him the luxury of his iconoclasm.

Blighton was more reckless than Scripps, but they aspired to the same political goals and fought the same pressures. Both knew the tensions between an independent-thinking publisher and his community. Such tensions, evident early in the twentieth century, resonate in the modern-day journalism in which the media's entertainment component, marketing strategy, and role in shaping political discourse are taken for granted.


1. Estelle Lutrell, "Newspapers and Periodicals of Arizona," University of Arizona Bulletin 15 (July 1949).

2. The Arizona Historical Society has no donor records concerning the Voice of the People. "Our donor records are pretty poor for the early period, in any case, but it's possible that we have had it since it was published," library/archives co-manager Riva Dean said. See Riva Dean to the author, December 10, 1996. Letter in possession of the author.

3. Pamela J. Shoemaker and Stephen D. Reese, Mediating the Message: Theories of Influence on Mass Media Content (New York: Longman, 1991).

4. Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988).

5. Lutrell, "Newspapers and Periodicals of Arizona," 33.

6. Theodore Roosevelt, "Arizona and the Recall of the Judiciary," The Outlook, 98 (June 24, 1911), 378.

7. Margo Murray, Beyond the Myths and Magic of Mentoring: How to Facilitate an Effective Mentoring Program (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1991), 13.

8. See the relationship of William Randolph Hearst to Arthur Brisbane and Arthur McEwen in W.A. Swanberg, Citizen Hearst (New York: Macmillian Publishing Company, 1961), and the relationship of Joseph Pulitzer to his mentor, Carl Schurz, and his protege, John Cockerill, in Swanberg's Pulitzer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967); also see Pamela J. Kalbfleish and Andrea B. Davies, "An Interpersonal Model for Participation in Mentoring Relationships" in Western Journal of Communication, 57 (Fall 1993), 399-415.

9. James Parton, The Life of Horace Greeley (Boston: Fields, Osgood & Co., 1869), 556-57. Greeley's letter to "Friend Fletcher" includes the following injunction: "Begin with a clear conception that the subject of deepest interest to an average human being is himself: next to that, he is most concerned about his neighbors. Asia and the Tongo Islands stand a long way after these in his regard. It does seem to me that most country journals are oblivious as to these vital truths. If you will, so soon as may be, secure a wide-awake, judicious correspondent in each village and township of your county, some young lawyer, doctor, clerk in a store, or assistant in a post-office who will promptly send you whatever of moment occurs in his vicinity, and will make up at least half of your journal of local matter thus collected, nobody in the county can long do without it. Do not let a new church be organized, or new members be added to one already existing, a farm be sold, a new house be raised, a mill be set in motion, a store be opened, nor anything of interest to a dozen families occur, without having the fact duly though briefly chronicled in your columns. If a farmer cuts a big tree or grows a mammoth beet, or harvests a bounteous yield of wheat or corn, set forth the fact as concisely and unexceptionably as possible."

10. See E.W. Scripps to C.D. Willard, September 9, 1911, E.W. Scripps Manuscript Collection (henceforth EWS), Special Collections No. 117, Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio; and Vance Trimble, The Astonishing Mr. Scripps: The Turbulent Life of America's Penny Press Lord (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1992), 226.

11. Oliver Knight, I Protest: Selected Disquisitions of E.W. Scripps (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1966), 192, 285.

12. Ibid., 290.

13. James C. Foust, "E.W. Scripps and the Science Service," Journalism History, Summer 1995, 61-62.

14. Knight, I Protest, 208-209.

15. E.W. Scripps to Paul C. Edwards, May 20, 1911, EWS.

16. Kalbfleish and Davies, "An Interpersonal Model," 401.

17. Trimble, Astonishing Mr. Scripps, 226.

18. Frank Harris Blighton to E.W. Scripps, October 3, 1910, EWS.

19. See Scripps to Willard, September 9, 1911; and Frank Harris Blighton to E.W. Scripps, January 12, 1912. Both are in EWS.

20. Ben Heney to E.W. Scripps, November 16, 1909, EWS.

21. Blighton to Scripps, October 3, 1910.

22. E.W. Scripps, Faith in My Star: A Selection of His Own Words That Showcases the Vision and Vitality of E.W. Scripps, Vance Trimble, ed. (Memphis: The Commercial Appeal, 1989), 125.

23. Trimble, The Astonishing Mr. Scripps, 191-92.

24. See ibid., 306; and Scripps, Faith in My Star, 64-74.

25. E.W. Scripps to Frank Harris Blighton, October 5, 1910, EWS.

26. Ibid.

27. Frank Harris Blighton to E.W. Scripps, October 9, 1910, EWS.

28. Revelation of the mere filing of criminal libel charges would not have discouraged Scripps, who defended, and won an acquittal in, a criminal libel case in 1881. However, Scripps would have thought less of Blighton if he had lost a criminal libel action resulting from sloppy reporting, and actually served a jail or prison term. Scripps viewed such a fate for a journalist as a disgrace. See Knight, I Protest, 48-49.

29. See "Sauce for the Goose," Voice of the People, November 4, 1910; and "The Territory of Arizona, Plaintiff, vs. Frank Harris Blighton, Defendant," Case No. A2296, Justice Court, Tucson Precinct, Pima County. The records of the criminal and civil cases against Blighton are difficult to locate and difficult to read, having faded before or after being microformed. The filing system of Superior Court in Tucson does not indicate the nature of territorial cases in its index, nor does it indicate the length of the cases. In addition, no records of testimony in Blighton's cases could be found. The author has relied on microfilm of the Tucson Citizen and Arizona Daily Star to try to reconstruct Blighton's legal troubles. Microfilm of the issues of Voice of the People held by the Arizona Historical Society is in the author's possession.

30. Blighton to Scripps, October 9, 1910.

31. See "Growth of Tucson Is Being Impaired," "King of Tucson Wants It All," "Peon Laborers Are High-Priced," "Citizens Should Hold Massmeeting," "Catch Vegetable Trust in Net," and "Terrified at a Shadow!" All are in Voice of the People, June 10, 1910.

32. See "The Initiative and Referendum Struggle" and "The Pima County Beast Turns Pole-Cat!!," Voice of the People, November 4, 1910.

33. Robert F. Paine to William B. Colver, December 9, 1910, EWS.

34. Trimble, Astonishing Mr. Scripps, 274-75.

35. Ibid., 276.

36. National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints, Vol. 61 (Chicago: Mansell, 1969), 232-33.

37. Scripps to Willard, September 9, 1911.

38. Voice of the People, May 19, 1911, 1.

39. Frank Harris Blighton, "Conform or Die!," Voice of the People, June 30, 1911.

40. Jay J. Wagoner, Arizona Territory 1863-1912: A Political History (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1970), 458-60.

41. Ibid., 475.

42. E.W. Scripps to Frank Harris Blighton, November 4, 1910, EWS.

43. E.W. Scripps to Frank Harris Blighton, November 14, 1910.

44. Frank Harris Blighton to E.W. Scripps November 16, 1910, EWS.

45. Frank Harris Blighton to E.W. Scripps, December 10, 1910, EWS.

46. See "How the Sunday Lady Brought Santa Claus to America's Rip Van Winkles," "The Christmas Baby Today and the Babe in Bethlehem," "Missing Explorer at Last Breaks His Long Silence," "Don't You Feel Sorry for This Poor Little $30,000,000 Heiress-Orphan?," "Our Caesars," and "Arizona's Governor to Keep Lid on Affairs." All are in Voice of the People, December 23, 1910.

47. Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, 26.

48. "Thank You, Mr. Lynch!," Voice of the People, November 4, 1910. Blighton considered the attack made by Graham County delegate A.R. Lynch to be a left-handed compliment.

49. "You're Fired!," Voice of the People, May 26, 1911.

50. "Withdraws 'Ad' From Voice," Voice of the People, June 30, 1911.

51. "Conform or Die!"

52. "Mrs. Kelso Takes Blighton' Shirt," Tucson Citizen, December 17, 1911.

53. See "Was Knocked Through Door of Newspaper," Arizona Daily Star, July 22, 1910; and "No Case Made Out Against F.H. Blighton," Arizona Daily Star, July 26, 1910.

54. See "Eight Counts Are Returned Vs. Blighton," Arizona Daily Star, October 30, 1910; "Blighton Under Ninth Indictment," Arizona Daily Star, December 4, 1910; "Libel Trial Is Resumed by Judge Kent," Tucson Citizen, May 23, 1911; "Jury Acquits in Trial for Libel," Tucson Citizen, May 25, 1911; "Grand Jury on Its Own Indicts F.H. Blighton on Libel Charge," Tucson Citizen, November 15, 1911; "Blighton Case Is Now With Jury," Tucson Citizen, December 20, 1911; and "Blighton Jury Fails to Reach Agreement," Tucson Citizen, December 21, 1911.

55. "Business Men Are Opposed to Him," Arizona Daily Star, December 9, 1910.

56. "Court Refuses to Take Any Part in Case," Arizona Daily Star, November 23, 1910.

57. "Libel Trial Is Nearing Hands of Jurors," Tucson Citizen, May 24, 1911.

58. "Earmarks of Fraud Blot the School Reports," Voice of the People, June 9, 1911, 1.

59. Frank Harris Blighton to E.W. Scripps, December 2, 1910, EWS.

60. E.W. Scripps to Frank Harris Blighton, December 12, 1910, EWS.

61. E.W. Scripps to William B. Colver, December 12, 1910, EWS.

62. "The Tucson Printing and Publishing Company, a Corporation, Plaintiff, vs. Frank H. Blighton, Defendant" Case No. 4860, First Judicial District Court, Pima County. This is the only case involving Blighton that is listed in the Pima County District Court - Index to Actions, 1875-1910. Unfortunately, the Arizona Department of Library, Archives and Public Records does not have an index to civil cases for 1911 and 1912. See John H. Akers to the author, May 9, 1995. Letter in possession of the author.

63. See William Kent to E.W. Scripps, August 4, 1911; Alfred Allen to E.W. Scripps, August 7, 1911; and Frank Harris Blighton to Miles Poindexter, July 22, 1911. All are in EWS.

64. E.W. Scripps to Frank Harris Blighton, July 5, 1911, EWS.

65. Jean Folkerts and Dwight L. Teeter Jr., Voices of a Nation: A History of Mass Media in the United States (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1994), 361.

66. E.W. Scripps to Sam Clover, May 17, 1911, EWS.

67. See E.W. Scripps to Negley D. Cochran, August 8, 1911; and Scripps to Willard, September 9, 1911. Both are in EWS. The letter to Willard described Blighton as a mystic/"Hindoo" and said, "A year ago I considered him a 'hundred to one' shot. Now I think he is a 'twenty to one' shot."

68. E.W. Scripps to Frank Harris Blighton, July 14, 1911, EWS.

69. E.W. Scripps to Alfred G. Allen, July 30, 1911, EWS.

70. Frank Harris Blighton to E.W. Scripps, July 23, 1911, EWS.

71. Blighton to Poindexter, July 22, 1911.

72. Wagoner, Arizona Territory, 476, 478.

73. Ibid., 481.

74. Roy W. Howard to John P. Scripps, Western Union telegram, October 9, 1911, EWS.

75. E.W. Scripps to Frank Harris Blighton, January 25, 1912, EWS. Scripps was depressed about the guilty plea entered by two anarchists in the bombing of the Los Angeles Times. Scripps had believed in the innocence of the two men, who were defended by Scripps' friend Clarence Darrow.

76. Voice of the People, September 22, 1911.

77. Knight, I Protest, 193.

78. Scripps to Willard, September 9, 1911.

79. Frank Harris Blighton to Robert F. Paine, October 27, 1911, EWS.

80. Frank Harris Blighton to E.W. Scripps, January 15, 1912, EWS.

81. See L.J. Boudreaux to Robert F. Paine, January 25, 1912; and Paine to Boudreaux, January 30, 1912. Both are in EWS.

82. William H. Lyon, Those Old Yellow Dog Days: Frontier Journalism in Arizona (Tucson: Arizona Historical Society, 1994), passim.

83. The author was unable to find any Blighton archive.

84. Frank Harris Blighton to E.W. Scripps, n.d., EWS. The letter was filed with 1917 correspondence, but Scripps' reply was dated November 4, 1915.

85. "Straight Talk With Everybody's Publishers: A Correction," Everybody's Magazine 31 (September 1914), 431.

86. E.W. Scripps to Frank Harris Blighton, November 4, 1915, EWS.

Return to Media History Monographs homepage.