October 4, 2022

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History of Springfield Business Journal

The Springfield Business Journal has a history dating back to 1883. The Springfield Business Journal is a bi-weekly newspaper published and designed by the Chamber of Commerce. The Business Journal reports on economic news, decision makers, and members in the area.

“The history of the Springfield Business Journal dates to 1883 when the first issue was printed by Joseph H. Collins, and published as a biweekly publication. During the next century, ownership of the publication passed from Joseph H. Collins to R.W. Foley and Brother, then to Kenneth D. Dowling of the Springfield Republican and finally to Pollard Newspapers Incorporated of Louisville.”During this first half century, the newspaper was called by different names including: The Commerce Journal (1883), The Springfield Commerce Journal (1884), The Springfield Commerce Journal-Republican (January 22, 1891), The Springfield Business Journal (April 17, 1911). 

In 1968, a change in ownership brought a new name — the Greater Springfield Business Bulletin — and a new format. In April 1971 the Greater Springfield Business Bulletin became known as simply the “Springfield Business Bulletin”.

What year was the SBJ first published?  

The first issue of The Springfield Business Journal was printed on June 10, 1883. The newspaper was published bi-weekly until April 25, 1915 when William R. Pollard purchased the paper and adopted a weekly publishing schedule.

Why is “The” included in the name? 

 In 1891 The Springfield Republican began publication as a competitor to Springfield’s only newspaper, Publisher Kenneth Dowling (owner of The Republican) decided to add a “Business Journal” in order to provide useful information for all businesses, not just retail establishments, who wanted to advertise at a reduced rate to Readers of The Republican.

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Who is Kenneth D. Dowling? 

 Kenneth Dowling was born on November 30, 1848 in Conner, Kentucky. He moved to Springfield in 1875 and began a career as a civil engineer and surveyor by working for the U.S. government surveying the West Virginia Central Railroad. In 1883 he started his own engineering and surveying business, where he worked until forced to retire in 1910 due to failing health from rheumatoid arthritis, which was common for much of his time.

Mr. Dowling then turned to journalism. After editing The Springfield Republican for two years (and using the Republican’s offices as his home), Mr. Dowling purchased the Springfield Business Journal and began publication as the publisher of both papers. He made some major changes to improve his newspaper, such as eliminating all illustrations in favor of type and providing more space for advertising. In April 1911, Kenneth D. Dowling sold the Springfield Business Journal to Pollard Newspapers Incorporated, a company owned by H.J. Pollard (a former publisher of The Republican), for $8,000. Pollard Newspapers Incorporated would eventually become known as “Springfield Newspaper”.

Why does SBJ now have a full-time staff?  

In 1915, William R. Pollard hired his son-in-law, George M. Smith to become Editor and Publisher of The Springfield Business Journal. It was during this time that the newspaper began to gain national attention through its inclusion in the “Standard Rate Plan” which offered discounts to businesses listed in The Union and Journal’s classified section. It continued this success throughout the twentieth century through its participation in various cooperative marketing programs with other area publications and statewide advertising sales services.

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Conclusion

The Springfield Business Journal has experienced a long history of successful and noteworthy achievements throughout its first 130 years to become the area’s leading voice for business news and advertising opportunities. SBJ continues to be acknowledged as the Business Leader’s newspaper of choice