Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Citizen timeline.




Oct. 15

John Wasson publishes the first issue of the Arizona Citizen, a weekly Republican publication meant to counter the Democratic voice of the Weekly Arizonan, owned by Pierton Donner. Tucson’s population according to the U.S. Census is 3,224. The state’s population is 9,658.


April 29 Weekly Arizonan folds after bitter, politics-fed newspaper war in which both publishers traded brutal published insults. Wasson called Donner the “malicious booby of the Arizonan,” among other things. Tucson is now a one paper town.


R.C. Brown and John L. Harris become co-owners at different times but by the end of 1876, Wasson buys back their interests and is again alone atop the masthead.


March 29

L.C. Hughes, a Democrat, publishes the first issue of the Arizona Star, a three-times weekly paper

Oct. 23 Wasson sells the Arizona Citizen to John P. Clum and a consortium of investors from Florence. The paper moves to Florence.


Sept. 6

Clum, who is now the sole owner of the Citizen, moves the paper back to Tucson.


Hughes publishes the first issue of the Arizona Daily Star, twice. There was a Vol. 1, No. 1 copy published on Jan. 12. Then no issues published until June 26, which also has Vol. 1, No. 1 on its masthead. It continues daily publication after that.

March 1

Clum changes the Citizen to daily distribution.


Jan. 3

Clum sells a half-interest in the paper to R.C. Brown, making him an owner again. Brown had been working for the paper in various capacities since 1875.

Feb. 6

Believing Tombstone to be the next great city of the West, Clum sells his remaining interest to Brown and moves southeast to establish the Tombstone Epitaph.


June 10

The Citizen’s office and press burn while Brown is away in California on business. Most of the paper’s early archives are destroyed.

Aug. 7

Nearly ruined by fire, Brown sells a half-interest in the paper to J.A. Whitmore, former publisher of a Wisconsin paper.


Turmoil. The paper changes hands numerous times. Whitmore sells his interest and Brown retires. Among the owners listed on the masthead during this time are S. A. Manlove, W.W. Hayward, George Clum (brother of John Clum), William C. Davis (one of the founders of Valley National Bank) and Herbert Tenney. The paper also moves several times during this time but always remains downtown.


Herbert Brown’s name appears on the masthead as general manager. By 1898, though no announce-ment was ever made in the paper, Brown (no relation to R.C. Brown) appears to have gained complete control of the paper.



Brown is appointed superintendent of the Yuma territorial prison and leaves the paper. There was apparently another tumultuous period for some months as several names appear on the masthead as either editor or general manager but Brown remains owner. George H. Smalley is finally named editor.


Brown sells the paper to mine owner Charles M. Shannon and copper and cattle magnate William C. Greene, both Democrats.

1901 (cont.)

Shannon and Greene name O’Brien Moore as editor and John Behan as man-ager, both Demo-crats. Behan had been the Cochise County sheriff and witness to the gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone. The politics of the paper change overnight.

May 23

Behan’s name disappears from the masthead after a dispute with Moore.

At one point, Behan barricades himself in the newspaper’s office and threatens to kill Moore if he tries to remove him without paying him $600, his supposed investment in the paper. Shannon comes to town and apparently pays him off.

Dec. 16

Moore and new manager Mulford Winsor change the paper’s name to the Tucson Citizen.


Aug. 24

Moore dies without leaving a will. After another brief bit of turmoil, his widow, Agnes, takes over ownership of the paper.


Feb. 26

Republicans James T. Williams Jr., Allan B. Jaynes (for whom Jaynes Station Road is named) and John B. Wright (for whom the TUSD elementary school is named) buy the paper. It returns to its Republican roots and editorial policy.

1910 (cont.)

Shannon and Greene, both immensely wealthy, invest heavily in the paper, mostly to advance the cause of their Democratic-machine politics. Jaynes takes advantage of those improvements and the paper has its greatest financial success since its founding. Jaynes also resumes the fierce newspaper war with the Star.


Feb. 4

Fire again strikes the Citizen. It was a blow to the paper, which had been campaigning hard for statehood and hoped to be the first newspaper in the state to herald the joining of the Union, which was imminent. The Star, which was then owned by a copper mining company that later became Phelps Dodge, comes to the rescue and allows the Citizen to use its press until the Citizen can install a new one.

Feb. 14

The Citizen, being an afternoon paper, is the first to announce statehood in Tucson, printing its evening issue on the Star’s press.


The Citizen moves to a building at the corner of Stone and Jackson, its eighth move in 30 years. It will remain there for 26 years.



Jaynes dies. His widow, Kathryn takes over control of the paper and puts her son Oliver, in charge. Oliver, though, was poisoned by mustard gas in World War I and is frequently ill and absent from the paper. The paper’s hard-right editorial edge languishes.


Frank H. Hitchcock (picture on previous page),an initial investor in the Citizen with Jaynes in 1910, acquires control of the paper. As the country descended into the Great Depression, Hitchcock championed the building of the Santa Catalina Highway by the Works Progress Administration. The road is still officially the Gen. Hitchcock Highway, though few call it that. It’s more commonly called the Catalina Highway.


Jan. 1

Hitchcock tweaks the paper’s name, making it the Tucson Daily Citizen.


The Depression and Hitchcock’s poor management nearly doom the paper. The Star rises as the dominant paper in the city. Democrats are in control in the city, in the state and in the country and the Star is a Democratic newspaper. Businessmen in the city are reluctant to advertise in the Republican Citizen out of fear of a backlash by city and state fathers.


Hitchcock dies with no heirs and his sisters in Minnesota become owners. They have no interest in moving to Tucson or owning a paper there. The sisters hire William Johnson to sell the paper. He contacts an advertising firm based in Chicago owned by William A. Small (photo next page) that Hitchcock had hired as the Citizen’s advertising firm, and suggests a partnership. Johnson and Small buy the moribund paper


With Johnson in charge, the Citizen becomes a moral crusader, attacking prostitution, gambling and liquor in town. Johnson convinces Small, who still lived in Chicago, to invest more money in the paper. Johnson also revives the political fight with the Star, even bringing back some of the vitriolic tone of the Wasson era by criticizing by name the Democratic editor of the Star, William R. Matthews.


July 1

The increasingly expensive newspaper war between the Star and the Citizen leads to a truce and a partnership. The papers agree to enter a Joint Operating Agreement in which they will move into one building, at 208 N. Stone Ave., and form a partnership to provide all the nonnews functions of both papers: circulation, billing, printing and advertising sales. The newsrooms were to remain separate and under the control of each owner. The Republican-Democrat split also remained. Johnson and Matthews, forced to enter the building through the same door, barely acknowledge each other as they pass, and rarely speak for the next 10 years.


Johnson retires. Small, who at some point moved here from Chicago, takes over as editor and publisher.


Johnson dies and his ownership interest is purchased by Small, who is now the sole owner.

Claiming that he wanted to keep the Star from falling into the hands of Ohio-based newspaper chain that wanted to buy it, Small asserts a first right of refusal provision in the JOA contract and buys the Star for $10 million. His stated intent is to find a local buyer but the U.S. Department of Justice, claiming the purchase violates antitrust laws, immediately sues to force the Citizen to sell the Star. Small, even though he wants the same thing, in keeping with his Republican principles, resists what he believes is an unwarranted interference in his business by the federal government.


Feb. 1

Small retires. His son, Bill Jr., takes over as editor and publisher.

Nov. 28

The International Union of Typesetters strike, which lasts into February when the strike is broken and the typesetters return to work. Only one issue is missed,

Feb. 4, when the press operators refused to cross the picket line.


Small enlists the aid of Arizona Carl Hayden, who is in his fifth decade as a U.S. senator and a Democrat, to introduce legislation, the Newspaper Preservation Act, that exempts from the Antitrust Act newspapers operating under joint agreements. The bill gets a hearing but is never brought up for a vote before the 90th Congress ends in 1968.


A federal judge orders the Citizen to sell the Star. The Citizen makes a direct appeal to the United States Supreme Court.


The Supreme Court rules for the government that newspaper joint operating agreements violate the Antitrust Act, but before the court’s dissolution order can be carried out, Congress passes the reintroduced Newspaper Preservation Act. The bill was sponsored this time in the House by Mo Udall, another Democrat.



President Richard M. Nixon signs the Newspaper Preservation Act. The original 1940 JOA is restored, but with the stipulation that the Citizen immediately sell the Star.


April 8

The Citizen sells the Star to Pulitzer Publishing for $10 million and the two companies enter into a new JOA.


Aug. 19

The Star and the Citizen move out of downtown to their current location at 4850 S. Park Ave. It is the first time the Citizen has been out of downtown since its return from Florence in 1878.


Nov. 30

The Small family sells the Citizen to New York-based Gannett Co. Inc., ending 106 years of local ownership.


June 1

Gannett drops “Daily” from the name and the paper becomes just the Tucson Citizen again.

Bill Small Jr. retires, ending the Small family’s 42-year involvement with the paper. Gannett names James Geehan as publisher. Tony Tslentis is the editor.



Gannett names Gerald Garcia publisher. He becomes the first Hispanic editor of a major metropolitan daily newspaper in the country.



Gannett names C. Donald Hatfield publisher after Garcia abruptly resigns. Hatfield also takes on the title of editor.


June 4

The Tucson Citizen enters the Internet Age.


Gannett names Michael Chihak publisher. Chihak started his career at the Citizen. He left for another Gannett paper in the 1980s.


July 3

Chihak resigns and moves to San Francisco.

Senior Editor Jennifer Boice is named interim editor.


Jan. 16

Bob Dickey, President of Gannett’s Community Publishing Division, breaks the news to Boice and Citizen staff that if no buyer for the paper is found by March 21, the paper will close. While not clear at the time of the announcement, Citizen staff soon learn that Gannett plans to continue its interest in the JOA with the Star but not produce a paper.

March 17

Gannett announces that “viable” buyers have come forward and delays closure of the Citizen. Instead the paper operates on a day-to-day basis.

May 15

Gannett announces that there will be no sale and instead it will cease publishing a printed paper and will operate a web site only. However, the web site will serve primarily as a community voice for bloggers and opinions, no news will be gathered and posted on the site by news staff.

May 16

The Citizen publishes its last print edition.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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