The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)
In 1841, when Memphis was only 20 years old, Col. Henry Van Pelt produced the first edition of The Appeal in the wooden shack where he lived. Printing it weekly on single sheets of paper, Van Pelt began an institution that 167 years later is the major voice of the Midsouth.
During the Civil War, the pro-Confederate paper chose to print its pages in exile rather than endure silently the Union occupation of Memphis. The paper moved first to Mississippi and then to Alabama and Georgia before Yankee soldiers destroyed its equipment. Within six months, editor Benjamin Dill had returned to Memphis and started The Appeal again.
The Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878 devastated Memphis and reduced the Appeal's staff to two, but the newspaper continued to publish, earning the nickname "Old Reliable" from its grateful public. In 1923, The Commercial Appeal won its first Pulitzer Prize for efforts against the resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan. The newspaper received its second Pulitzer in 1994, this time for editorial cartooning by Michael Ramirez.
With the advent of the Internet, The Commercial Appeal launched commercialappeal.com as its news and information website, and host of specialized coverage including the University of Memphis sports, Whining and Dining, the State of Q (Memphis-style barbecue), Faith in Memphis and Going Green. The website is the most popular local news site in the Memphis market.
In recent years, The Commercial Appeal's coverage has received numerous awards including the General Excellence Award for best newspaper in Tennessee by the Tennessee Press Association in 2009 and 2010.
George Cogswell, III, chief revenue officer and regional publisher
Founded: 1841; purchased by Scripps: 1936
Access the The Commercial Appeal:
Memphis, TN 38101-0364