About Media General


The history of Media General dates back to 1850, when the company’s former newspaper business began operation with the Richmond Dispatch. That newspaper consolidated with The Times to become the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Media General exited the newspaper business in 2012.

Media General became a local television station broadcaster in 1955 when it launched WFLA-TV in Tampa, FL. The company is now one of the nation's largest multimedia companies. It operates or services 71 television statons in 48 markets, and its digitial media business leads the industry.
James A. Cowardin
James A.
In 1850, James A. Cowardin founded the Richmond Dispatch, a predecessor to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  The Richmond Dispatch, 1850
The Richmond Dispatch, 1850
Maj. Lewis Ginter
Maj. Lewis Ginter
Major Lewis Ginter founded The Daily Times in Richmond and served as its first publisher.
  The Times Building, 1893
The Times Building, 1893
Joseph Bryan
Major Ginter gave the The Daily Times to his friend and attorney, Joseph Bryan. Under Mr. Bryan, it became the first Southern newspaper to set type by the Mergenthaler Linotype. In 1890, the paper became The Times.
Linotype machine

J.F. Bradley and Ben P. Owen Jr. launched The Leader in Richmond.

Joseph Bryan acquired The Leader and on Nov. 30 published Vol. 1, No. 1 of The Evening Leader.

Harvey L. Wilson founded The Richmond News. A year later,  John L. Williams acquired it. Williams also had acquired The Dispatch in 1890.

Joseph Bryan’s newspapers, The Times and The Leader, competed for local dominance with the papers owned by John L. Williams, The Dispatch and News. A shift in ownership and an agreed division into morning and afternoon publications avoided an even more intense rivalry.

  The Leader building, 1888
The Leader building, 1888
Joseph Bryan’s Times and John L. Williams’ Dispatch consolidated into the Richmond Times-Dispatch, owned by Bryan. It was Richmond’s morning newspaper.

    The same day, Williams’ News and Bryan’s Evening Leader were consolidated into the The News Leader, owned by Williams. It provided the evening news for Richmond.

John Stewart Bryan
John Stewart Bryan

Joseph Bryan purchased The News Leader from Williams and died shortly thereafter. His son John Stewart Bryan succeeded as publisher of the Times-Dispatch and The News Leader. In the years before World War I, the newspapers changed hands twice.

The Times-Dispatch was sold to three families. Through the boom of the ’20s and the depression of the ’30s, the newspapers went their separate ways. John Stewart Bryan was publisher of The News Leader. The Times-Dispatch had a succession of publishers that included Charles P. Hasbrouck, Mark Etheridge and John Dana Wise.

John Stewart Bryan purchased The Tampa Tribune in partnership with Samuel Emory Thomason.


Richmond’s News Leader square in the 1930s
Richmond’s News Leader
square in the 1930s


The News Leader and the competing Times-Dispatch formed Richmond Newspapers, Inc. The Bryan family owned 54 percent of the new company while the three families that had owned the Times-Dispatch held a 46 percent interest.


Home of The News Leader from 1924 - 1992 and Richmond Newspapers, Inc. since 1940. The 4th Street facade can still be seen in the current expanded headquarters.
Home of The News Leader
from 1924-1992 and
Richmond Newspapers, Inc.
since 1940. The 4th Street
facade was preserved in
the current expanded

D. Tennant Bryan
D. Tennant Bryan

After his father's death, D. Tennant Bryan returned from active duty in the U.S. Navy and was named president and publisher of the Times-Dispatch and The News Leader.


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