The Journal-News hyphen turns 90

The Journal-News has sometimes had a love-hate relationship with the hyphen in its name. Monday is the 90th anniversary of the coming together of multiple media organizations that spurred the name to include it, so I like to say that hyphen has an important history.

Since I got on board in the early 2000s at what I often call “The JN”, which originally focused on Hamilton before expanding coverage to all of Butler County and some of Warren County, there have been some newsroom concerns over the hyphen. That’s largely because it is in our website URL, In the early days, some wondered if that little thing might cause people not to find the content online. It has been in the newspaper’s mast a long time.

It really has not been an issue: Most of our digital subscribers find the content through search, on our ePaper app and by following The JN on social media. What I mean is, they aren’t routinely typing it in, thus leaving out the hyphen and accidentally making it to another news organization’s website.

Last year, a local historian reached out to me and said he had all the details of the history behind the hyphen. We also have it on record from archived Journal-News columns by the late Jim Blount.

Jim Krause contributed the following information and will be a regular guest history columnist in this newspaper.

This is a shorter version of the vast information Krause sent to me. We’ll post the whole thing — where else? — at

A marriage of multiple newspapers

Todays’ “Journal-News” did not always bear its present name. It is the direct descendant of 144 years of Butler County daily publications. The first daily newspaper in the City of Hamilton was the “Hamilton Daily News”, founded by 27-year-old Charles Campbell on Dec. 17, 1879. It was Republican-leaning in policy.

The newspaper met with much success, resulting in a sale of the firm by Campbell to Albert Dix and Charles Zwick on July 1, 1888. Campbell then moved to Washington D.C. where he amassed a fortune in the real estate business.

The “Hamilton Daily News” was followed by a Democratic-leaning daily newspaper, the “Hamilton Daily Democrat,” on Dec. 20, 1886.

Both the “Daily News” and the “Daily Democrat” underwent various mergers and ownership changes over the years. In 1898, the Republican News Publishing Company, owners of a third daily newspaper, the “Hamilton Daily Republican,” which itself was established in July 1892, acquired the “Hamilton Daily News” from the Dix and Zwick interests. The first issue of the consolidated newspaper, renamed the “Daily Republican-News”, was issued March 21, 1898.

In addition to operating the combined newspaper, the Republican News Publishing Company operated a substantial job printing shop producing books, commercial catalogs, flyers, etc. The newspaper and printing facilities were located at the corner of Third and Market streets in Hamilton. On Oct. 4, 1919, the Republican News Publishing Company changed the name of the newspaper back to the “Hamilton Daily News” to better reflect the community served.

In June 1902, the “Hamilton Daily Sun” was established, but after a brief existence, was bought by the “Daily Democrat” on Aug. 17, 1907. The merged newspaper was renamed the “Hamilton Democrat-Sun.” According to Homer Gard, the owner of the newly combined newspapers, it seemed the name was somewhat of a bar to expansion of readership, so on Jan. 1, 1909 the “Democrat-Sun” was renamed the “Hamilton Evening Journal”

In February 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, the owner of the “Evening Journal,” the Journal Publishing Company, acquired the failing ”Daily News.” The newly consolidated paper was printed for the first time as the “Hamilton Journal-News” on Feb. 6, 1933 from the former “Evening Journal” plant at Court and Journal Square.

“The Middletown Journal,” owned by W.H. Todhunter, began operation as a daily afternoon paper in 1890. “The Middletown Journal” was acquired by Chew Publications, owners of the “Xenia Gazette”, in 1924. In 1928, Chew acquired the competing morning Middletown newspaper the “News-Signal.” The ”News-Signal” ended publication as a separate paper in August of 1932, yet again another victim of the Great Depression.

The “News-Signal” did remain in name only as part the Sunday edition of “The Middletown Journal”, called the “Sunday News-Journal,” for many years. “The Middletown Journal” was sold to Thompson Corporation of Canada in 1978 and later resold to Cox Newspapers in 2000. “The Middletown Journal” ceased publication as a separate newspaper in November 2013 and was merged by owner Cox Newspapers into the “Journal-News,” making Butler a one-newspaper county.


The “Journal-News” is part of Cox First Media, the Ohio-based media group of Cox Enterprises. Our company was founded in 1898, when James M. Cox purchased the evening newspaper in Dayton and renamed it the “Dayton Daily News.” The DDN, “Springfield News-Sun” and “Journal-News” are sister newspapers in this organization, covering a large portion of Southwest Ohio.

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