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|Founder(s)||Alfred B. Miller and Elmer Crockett|
|Headquarters||Union Station Technology Center, 501 W. South St.|
South Bend, Indiana 46601
The South Bend Tribune is a daily newspaper and news website based in South Bend, Indiana. It is distributed in South Bend, Mishawaka, north central Indiana and southwestern Michigan. It has three times been recognized by the Hoosier State Press Association as a "Blue Ribbon Newspaper" (2006, 2016 and 2018). It is the third largest daily broadsheet newspaper in the State of Indiana by circulation.
The Tribune was locally and family owned by Schurz Communications, based in Mishawaka, for more than 146 years: from its founding in 1872 until 2019. Five generations of the same family had owned and operated the newspaper. The Tribune was sold to GateHouse Media on Feb. 1, 2019. In November 2019, GateHouse Media completed purchase of the Gannett newspaper chain, and the two combined newspaper chains adopted the Gannett name. Thus, on Nov. 19, 2019, the South Bend Tribune became a Gannett newspaper.
Also in November 2019, the South Bend Tribune moved out of the Tribune Building at 225 W. Colfax Ave., which had been its home for 98 years. The Tribune Building was the newspaper's fourth location. The newspaper staff moved into Union Station Technology Center, 501 W. South St. in downtown South Bend, with plans in spring 2020 to move into a new permanent home in a former Studebaker Corp. assembly plant at 635 S. Lafayette Blvd. that is being renovated by entrepreneur Kevin Smith as part of South Bend's Renaissance District.
The Tribune Building remains owned by Schurz Communications Inc. and is available for renovation or redevelopment opportunities.
Because the University of Notre Dame is just outside South Bend city limits, the Tribune receives much of its readership due to its Notre Dame news and sports coverage. Other sections include Local News, Business, Entertainment and a weekly Community News section. The Tribune also operates two other websites: "In The Bend" and "ND Insider."
The top executives in 2019 are Publisher Andrew Bruns and Executive Editor Alan Achkar.
Alfred B. ("Al" or "Alf") Miller and Elmer Crockett, Union veterans of the Civil War founded the Tribune in 1872 in South Bend, a manufacturing center on the St. Joseph River in northern Indiana. The Tribune was founded as a Republican newspaper.
Miller and Crockett had worked together earlier at the St. Joseph County Register, a weekly newspaper based in South Bend that was owned by Schuyler Colfax, who served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives during the Civil War and then as vice president under Ulysses S. Grant. Miller was skilled in editing and writing, and Crockett was a mechanical man who handled the presses. The two also were brothers-in-law, as in 1868, Crockett had married Miller's sister, Anna. The first four-page edition of The Tribune was published on a Saturday evening, March 9, 1872. The Tribune's original printing offices were at 73 and 75 West Washington St. in downtown South Bend. Two other men from the Register held minor partnership roles in The Tribune at the start, but withdrew with a few years: James H. Banning, a printer, and Elias W. Hoover, a wood engraver. In an editorial in the first edition, the editors wrote: "We know that in our four or five years' experience in the newspaper business in this city, its reading population has increased nearly one half, that the county has grown accordingly and that there is room for a journal like The Tribune, even more than there was room for two papers a dozen years ago. No city in the state is growing so rapidly as South Bend ..." The two men operated The Tribune together until Miller's death in 1892. The Tribune operated a book, stationery and art supply store in conjunction with the newspaper until 1902.
Frederick A. Miller, Alfred B. Miller's son, became the Tribune's editor upon his father's death. F.A. Miller was 24 years old at the time. He had graduated from South Bend High School in 1887 and on July 3 of that year joined his father's editorial staff. F.A. Miller served as editor and publisher of The Tribune from 1892 until his death at age 86 on Nov. 29, 1954. In a political philosophy inherited from his Civil War veteran father, F.A. Miller "ran The Tribune as a straight forward Republican organ. Unless a Republican candidate was an atrocious choice, or tied to an organization that Miller found obnoxious, such as the Ku Klux Klan, he could count upon The Tribune's endorsement," The Tribune reported of Miller in its March 9, 1972 centennial edition. Miller's editorial battles on the local scene were intense, especially against city administrations he regarded as corrupt, which tended to be Democratic. "In 1928 he conducted full scale war against the regime of Mayor Chester R. Montgomery, whom The Tribune accused of harboring gambling, liquor violations and prostitution," The Tribune reported in its centennial edition. Montgomery, fighting back, published a 76-page booklet as an open letter to the people of South Bend, titled "The Tribune F.A. Miller Menace." F.A. Miller hated mistakes in print. For years, there was a sign painted in large block letters on the newsroom wall, placed there by his orders, stating: "Be Accurate." He was exceedingly particular about the spelling of names, including the use of correct middle initials. Miller disliked cigarettes, and his rules forbid staff members from smoking on duty. Miller worked closely with Crockett, his father's original partner, until Crockett's death on June 3, 1924 at age 79. The Tribune moved in to its current office at 225 W. Colfax Ave. in April 1921. It is the newspaper's fourth location since its founding.
F.A. Miller and his wife had no children. When F.A. Miller died in 1954, his nephew, Franklin D. Schurz Sr., became The Tribune's publisher. Schurz already had worked for The Tribune company for nearly 30 years, primarily as the secretary-treasurer and business manager, because his training was as an accountant. Franklin D. Schurz was the first head of The Tribune to carry the formal title of publisher. Born in South Bend on March 8, 1898, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John G. Schurz, Franklin Schurz Sr. lived in South Bend most of his life. After graduating from South Bend High School in 1916, Schurz earned a bachelor's degree and a master's of business administration degree from Harvard University, with a break for service in the U.S. Army during World War I. A popular legend has it that Franklin Schurz Sr., the publisher and a nephew of Alfred Miller, took polka lessons, then sponsored weekly polka nights on South Bend's Polish west side. The social events were a huge hit and helped establish inroads for the newspaper in the immigrant community. Such community outreach and the newspaper's aggressive reporting helped push the Tribune past the News-Times, which went out of business in 1938.
The Tribune has been South Bend's only daily newspaper since its competitor, the South Bend News-Times, ceased publication in December 1938.
Schurz Sr. served as editor and publisher of the Tribune through its periods of highest growth. With his prominent place in the business community, he helped chart a new direction for the local economy after Studebaker closed in 1963 and other factories scaled back production.
In December 1963, Tribune reporter Jack Colwell broke the story that the Studebaker Corp. auto company would shut down its factory in South Bend that month. The plant's shuttering left 7,000 employees without work and was among the biggest blows ever to the city's economy. Studebaker had started as a blacksmith and wagon production shop in South Bend in 1852.
During the 1960s and 1970s, when the Fighting Irish football teams were among the nation's elite, sports editor Joe Doyle was a close confidant of coach Ara Parseghian. Forrest "Woody" Miller covered Irish men's basketball for decades, including the teams led by coach Digger Phelps.
Descendants of the founders served as editor and publisher for many years. Franklin Schurz Jr. succeeded his father after the Tribune's centennial in 1972; a recent past editor and publisher, the late David Ray, was a great-grandson of Elmer Crockett.
The Tribune has had a newsroom internship program since about 1960. The internship program was started by longtime Tribune managing editor John J. "Jack" Powers, a University of Notre Dame graduate. Former South Bend Tribune reporting interns include: David Haugh, now a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune; Madeline Buckley, a news reporter for the Chicago Tribune; Mark S. Massa, an Indiana Supreme Court justice; and Paul C. Tash, chairman and CEO of the (Tampa Bay) Times Publishing Co. and chair of the Poynter Center for Media Studies' board of trustees.
The Tribune in June 2017 shut down its presses and started publishing the daily newspaper at a newspaper production facility in Walker, Michigan. Like other newspapers, the Tribune has had challenges keeping its circulation numbers up. The Tribune reached a peak of more than 130,000 Sunday readers in the 1970s. By 2015, the Tribune's circulation had fallen to 44,951.
The Tribune is attempting to reach more readers through new web-based products and specialty magazines, such as, its In The Bend publication, featuring arts and entertainment news in the surrounding communities. In 2019, the paper was sold by Schurz Communications along with the rest of its publishing division to GateHouse Media. President and CEO of Schurz Communications Todd F. Schurz explained the reasoning of the sale in a column. The Tribune editor and publisher from 1995 to 2000 wrote:
"Given the challenges to the industry and our size, we could not be the publisher nor the employer that we aspire to be, so we determined it was time for our family to exit and find the next owner and steward of these businesses. These newspapers will be better and stronger with GateHouse, which brings the skills, expertise and scale to better manage this changing landscape and thrive in the future."
The Tribune's online publications include: