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According to the 2011 Scarborough "Ranker Report," The Roanoke Times ranks fifth in the country in terms of percentage of adults reading a newspaper on weekdays in that newspaper's coverage area.
The Roanoke Daily Times began publication in 1886. The paper's original owner, M. H. Claytor, eventually added a companion evening newspaper, The Roanoke Evening News. In 1909, he sold the paper to a group headed by banker J. B. Fishburn. The Fishburn group bought the Roanoke Evening World in 1913, merging it with the Evening News and changing its name to the Roanoke World-News. At the same time, Times-World Corporation was formed as the owner of both papers.
By 1931, Times-World Corporation had expanded into broadcasting with the purchase of WDBJ (now WFIR), Roanoke's first radio station. It eventually spawned an FM station (now WSLC) and a television station (which still has the WDBJ calls). In 1969, Times-World merged with Landmark Communications, which sold off the broadcasting properties and kept the papers. In 1977, the newspaper became known as The Roanoke Times & World-News when the company stopped publication of the afternoon World-News, though an afternoon edition of The Roanoke Times & World-News continued. The paper dropped the latter part of its name in 1995.
As the major daily newspaper for Roanoke and much of Southwest Virginia, The Roanoke Times has extensively covered news events from the area that have gained national media exposure. Some examples include:
International Marketing & Engineering Inc., investigated by The Roanoke Times, 1979, subsequently featured by Harry Reasoner in a CBS 60 Minutes report on the company engaged in deceptive sales practices, whose officers were later sentenced to federal prison. The Roanoke Times was awarded the Virginia Press Association's W. S. Copeland Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service, its highest, for the investigation. The award was named after one of the prior owners of the Roanoake Times, Walter Scott Copeland, but was later retitled the "Virginia Press Association Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service" to distance itself from its namesake.
The November 4, 1985, flood that caused extensive damage around Roanoke and left 10 people dead.
The September 22, 2000, shooting at the Backstreet Cafe in downtown Roanoke motivated by the assailant's hatred of the establishment's gay and lesbian clientele.
The February, 2008 resignation of Roanoke City councilman Alfred Dowe. Dowe resigned after The Roanoke Times obtained documents showing that he billed taxpayers twice for some of the nearly $15,000 he spent in 2007 on meals and travel.
The Aug. 26, 2015, on-air murders of WDBJ-TV journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward.
Notable writers, columnists and editors
Bill Brill, writer and columnist 1956-1991, sports editor 1960-1991
Popular features and columns
Arts & Extras, arts and culture column by Mike Allen (2009 -)
Cut 'N' Scratch, music feature by Tad Dickens (2007-)
McFarling Journal, sports column by Aaron McFarling (2004-)
Paparazzi, event photo feature by various contributors
Shoptimist, shopping feature by Rebecca Holland (2011-2014) Stephanie Ogilvie (2014-2016)
Style Street, fashion feature by David Verde (2011-2014)
Weather Journal, weather column by Kevin Myatt (2003-)