March 11th: Douglas Adams & Dorothy Schiff

Today’s Google Doodle honors the late, great Douglas Adams, and this is one of those Doodles that tugs at my heart and reminds me what an exciting project Google Doodles could be. Adams is among my very favorite writers; he’s best known, of course, as creator of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but my favorite of his is actually Last Chance to See. If you don’t happen to be familiar with his work, I heartily recommend becoming so.

Here on Speaking Up, we’ll learn a bit more about business leader and media publisher Dorothy Schiff.

Schiff is known for a long and steady career as owner and publisher of the New York Post. Her deep interest in politics, issues of social justice, and the importance of critical commentary led her to acquire the paper in 1939. At the time, the paper was in debt, but Schiff introduced major changes to format and voice that made the paper profitable again. By 1942, she became the first woman publisher of a major paper in the city of New York. Over the years, she also wrote a recurring column, launched a paper in Paris, and built the Post‘s power and influence over politics within its home city and state.

Dorothy Schiff, holding a copy of the New York Post.

Dorothy Schiff, holding a copy of the New York Post in 1963.

She owned and contributed to the editorial direction of the paper for four decades. Schiff was able to sell the Post in the late 1970s for $30 million, after she had grown its readership by just under 70%. Today, the Post is the country’s oldest newspaper, having survived much of the 20th century under Schiff’s leadership and strategic investments.

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