A historical analysis of Genoa, Illinois, newspapers, their publishers and editors, 1875-1985
Baert, Pamela Louise
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The examination of the Genoa, Illinois, newspapers' history is a study of the problems faced by the country weekly newspaper since its birth in frontier times to its survival in the 1980s. A sampling method of the available newspapers was used to examine four aspects which influenced the destiny of a particular Genoa newspaper and its editor. The four aspects were 1) the history of the United States, 2) the history of the country press, 3) the personalities of the publishers and editors and 4) the history of Genoa. While all facets acted simultaneously, one usually dominated, thus determining the future of the paper. The nation's economic influence is discussed in Chapter 3 which illustrates the instability of the country weekly during the last half of the 19th century until the early 1900s. Genoa's newspapers were not exempt from the transiency of that period. Newspaper stability finally came to Genoa in 1904 when C.D. Schoonmaker merged two failing newspapers. Schoonmaker and his family dominated Genoa newspaper business for nearly 60 years until The Genoa Republican was sold in 1964. The hurdles Schoonmaker faced to keep the business intact, as well as his politi-cal, business and personal savvy which made him successful, are examined in Chapters 4 and 6. An interesting aspect of The Genoa Republican's reign was the business relationship between C.D. Schoonmaker and his son, C. Coleman Schoonmaker. C. Coleman ran the paper from 1921 to the early 1930s, and from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s. The styles and successes of the two men, with an emphasis on C. Coleman's tenures, are compared and contrasted in Chapters 5 and 7. Included is senior Schoon- maker's influence over his son's business approach. The Genoa papers were affected by the economy and changing business attitudes during the late 1960s through the mid-1980s. Like many country weeklies and other small businesses, the Genoa newspapers became part of a group- owned entity. Chapters 8 and 9 are devoted to the changes and consequences of newspaper group ownership as they related to the Genoa papers. A consequence discussed is the erosion of leadership that the newspaper and the editors experienced during that period. This is contrasted to the role the newspaper and editors had played in the community under the Schoonmakers.