The Daytona Beach News-Journal

The Daytona Beach News-Journal
The Daytona Beach News-Journal front page.jpg
The July 27, 2005 front page of
The Daytona Beach News-Journal
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner Halifax Media Holdings, LLC
Editor Pat Rice
Founded 1883
Headquarters 901 Sixth Street
Daytona Beach, Florida 32117  United States
Circulation 78,000 Daily
102,000 Sunday[1]
ISSN 1525-2493
Official website

The Daytona Beach News-Journal is a Florida daily newspaper serving Volusia and Flagler counties.

It grew from the Halifax Journal which was started in 1883. The Davidson family purchased the newspaper in 1928 and retained control until bankruptcy in 2009. In 1986, The Morning Journal and Evening News merged into one morning newspaper. The newspaper began its on-line services in 1994. In circulation, the newspaper is currently among the Top 100 Newspapers in the United States.



Daytona's early settlers decided that a newspaper would be important for the development of the town. A group of citizens cooperated and put up money to tempt Florian A. Mann to move his printing press from Ohio to Daytona and start a new publication. 86 subscribers were signed up prior to publication of the first issue, all paid in advance. Advertisers also paid in advance, for the first three months.[2][3]

The first issue was scheduled for release on Feb. 1, 1883, however, a schooner bringing the blank paper to Florida shipwrecked off the coast of the Carolinas, with the loss of all hands and cargo. This delayed publication of the first issue, until Mann decided to buy a bolt of cotton cloth from Laurence Thompson's dry goods store, to use as a substitute.[2][3]

The first issue of the Halifax Journal was printed and published on the cotton cloth, dated Feb. 15, 1883. The premier issue contained local news, as well as Mann's editorial of praise and hope for the Halifax area. The Halifax Journal continued as a weekly publication until Editor Mann sold the newspaper in 1889 to J. M. Jolley. In 1908, Jolley died and the newspaper was bought by Galen Seaman. After Seaman's death, the paper was bought by W. C. Carter of the Halifax Printing Company, which operated a printing shop connected with the Halifax Journal.[2][3][4]

After selling the Halifax Journal, Florian Mann moved to Ormond and started the Ormond Gazette. He later sold this paper to L. Moreton Murray and returned to Daytona, to start the Daytona News. In 1900, Thomas E. Fitzgerald bought the Daytona News, and in 1903 bought the Ormond Gazette. Fitzgerald consolidated the two papers, and on Dec. 1, 1903, published the first issue of The Daytona Daily News.[2][3]

Hugh Sparkman started a stock company which bought the Halifax Journal and turned it into a daily publication. In 1926, the stock company bought The Daytona Daily News from Fitzgerald. The stock company ceased publication of The Morning Journal, but continued The Evening News and The Sunday News-Journal.[2][3]

In 1928, the stock company was bought out by Julius and Herbert M. Davidson, which started a period of control of the publication by a single family, for the next 80 years.[2][3]


The News-Journal Center

The controversial News-Journal Center in Daytona Beach

In January 2003, the News-Journal offered to pay $13 million for naming rights to a new performing arts center in Daytona Beach. Cox Enterprises, owners of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and other publications, filed a lawsuit against the News-Journal in U.S. Federal Court, alleging they "acted irresponsibly in spending corporate funds." [5]

The Davidson family owned 52.5% and Cox Enterprises owned 47.5% of the News-Journal at the time. Cox alleged that Davidson family spent the newspaper's money without consulting with them.

Court documents reveal that in the five year period prior to the filing of Cox’s complaint, at least 58 employees of Davidson's arts and entertainment ventures were, unbeknownst to NJC’s sole minority shareholder, on NJC’s payroll.

Despite the fact that these employees did no work for NJC, NJC provided them with full salaries and benefits, at a cost to the company of at least $5.7 million. In the end, the trial court found that tens of millions of dollars were diverted to Davidson family projects to “indulge [the Davidsons’] personal interests in the arts.”

The News-Journal Corp. decided to buy out the shares of its minority partner and, in 2006, the federal court set a valuation of $129.2 million on Cox's shares of the local newspaper. The newspaper management announced in April 2008 that the newspaper would be sold in order to satisfy the judgment.[6] On April 17, 2009 the News-Journal announced its intention to declare bankruptcy, but the judge overseeing the case rejected that option. The board of directors was subsequently fired and the company is now under court control, with James Hopson serving as the court-appointed overseer.

On March, 1st 2010 the News Journal was purchased by Halifax Media and is now under the control of CEO Michael Redding.



  1. ^ "2007 Top 100 Daily Newspapers in the U.S. by Circulation" (PDF). BurrellesLuce. 2007-03-31. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Fitzgerald, Thomas E. (1937). Volusia County Past and Present. Daytona Beach, FL: The Observer Press. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hebel, Ianthe Bond (1955). Centennial History of Volusia County Florida 1854-1954. Deland, FL: Volusia County Historical Commission. 
  4. ^ Gold, Pleasant Daniel (1927). History of Volusia County, Florida. Deland, FL: The E. O. Painter Printing Co.. 
  5. ^ Minority shareholder sues News-Journal
  6. ^ Daytona Beach News-Journal to cut 99 employees, close bureaus
    Daytona Beach News-Journal to be sold after losing legal dispute with Cox Enterprises
  7. ^ Manager of Daytona Beach News-Journal fires 5 of paper's board members

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