The history of newspapers in Orlando features prominently in books written about the history of Orlando and Orange County by William Fremont Blackman and E. H. Gore.
Blackman’s book History of Orange County Florida written in 1925, 22 years prior to Gore’s book From Florida Sand to The City Beautiful published in 1947, seems to contain conflicting information about the early history of Orlando newspapers. City directories support dates provided by Gore for some of the early publications. Comparing and contrasting the information provided in each, along with Orlando and Orange County Directories and Gazetteers, and microfilm of the publications, provide a good overview of the true history of newspapers in Orlando.
Above is the masthead from the Orlando Sunday newspaper, The Sunday Reporter Star, from January 18, 1931.
The following Sunday’s paper (below) published on January 25, 1931, reflects the merger of the Morning Sentinel and Reporter-Star, the new name being: Orlando Sunday Sentinel and Sunday Reporter Star.
The very next Sunday, February 1, 1931, the paper’s name changed again to The Sunday Sentinel-Reporter Star.
An article published in the January 25, 1931 edition of the paper states that the Orlando Morning Sentinel and the Evening Reporter Star were sold to W. D. Murray, Eugene Pulliam, and associates, under the name of Orlando Newspapers, Inc., charter being applied for. W. M. Glenn, owner of the Sentinel since 1925 and J. C. Brossier, majority stock holder of the Evening Reporter-Star for the past fifteen years will be identified with the merged publication, publishing separately through the week. W. M. Glenn remains as editorial director and J. C. Brossier as managing editor of the merged properties.
One of the early publications, The South Florida Sentinel, was a weekly started in 1885 in opposition to the Orange County Reporter.
The 1912 Orlando City Directory includes listings for the newspaper, the printing operation, and a classified advertisement. They establish Josiah Ferris as the sole proprietor and editor of the newspaper. “South-Florida Sentinel, Josiah Ferris, corner E Pine and S Main Sts, Phone 24” (p. 115). “South-Florida Sentinel, weekly on Thursdays, Josiah Ferris, editor and publisher, phone 24” (p. 113). The advertisement clearly states “Established 1885” affirming Gore and Bacon and indicating that Blackman’s assertion that the newspaper began publication in 1895 is a typo.
One of the more interesting publications was part of the Orlando Sentinel during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The “pink pages” as they were called by the public as they were printed on pink paper was actually an insert in the Monday paper called The Central Florida Negro Edition. This publication is rich with numerous photographs and stories.
A former Orlando Sentinel staff member queried about the “pink pages” indicated that there were other community sections printed on colored paper inserted in the paper during the week to identify the special editions.
Included on this page are the following:
1. Photograph of Oakland High School football team members - Tyrone Jackson, Robert Smith, Rufus G. Young, Horace Odum
2. Photograph Ophelia Tomlinson, Johnnie May Bradley, Veronica Watson, Barbara Ordley. The group uder the direction of Edward Middleton
3. Article by Clyde C. Sanders and photo asking folks to donate money for the completion of a school for "retarded children." He requests donations be made to the Orlando Council for Retarded Children, Inc. attention Robert M. Brice, Jr. or send cash to Mrs. Mary M. Hodge and Miss L. Claudia Allen. Others mentioned in his article are Earnest Newell, Edward Weaver, Jack Galloway, Mrs. Ollie Newberry, Ervin Herron, Mr. and Mrs .William Moody.
4. Photograph of Lorenzo Greene, a junior at Mills High School in Webster and his advisor C. S. Williams.
5. Photograph of the Orange County Non-Partisan Registration Committee's Citizenship Bus with Mrs. Mabel Richardson, Mrs. Selma Brooks, Mr. Bernard Singleton
6. Apopka Boy Scout Troop 113, Eddie Williams, scout master sponsoring a dance at Phyllis Wheatley's gym. Williams thanked Mr. M. Gladden for donating pup tents and drums.
7. Kissimmee Boy Scout Troop 99 approves budget and began fund raising event to sell Bar B Q pork ribs. More than 33 boys are members of the unit. Officers and chairmen are: W. E. Patterson, John C. Woods, Rye Thomas, Clyde Lewis, E. J. McColluf, Whitfield Barrington, Orington Shaw, Lorenzo Wilkerson, William Long.
Excerpts from Gore's book relative to the history of newspapers in Orlando.
Excerpts from Blackman's book relative to the history of newspapers in Orlando.