The East Tennessee chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (ETSPJ) has teamed with the Knoxville History Project and the Front Page Foundation to hold three events in September to recognize the beginnings of Adolph Ochs‘ newspaper career in downtown Knoxville that ultimately ended with the founding of The New York Times.
The first event will be held Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 6-7 p.m. inside the upstairs bar at Maple Hall bowling alley, 414 S. Gay St., as part of the Knoxville History Project’s regular event series. The event will feature Knoxville historian Jack Neely, who will share some little-known stories about Ochs and his fascinating refugee-immigrant family in post-Civil War Knoxville, much of it based on recent research as a lead-in to the next two events in September. Georgiana Vines, a charter member of ETSPJ and a former national SPJ president who spearheaded the historical efforts to honor Ochs, also will speak.
A panel discussion at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay St., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to discuss Ochs’ journalism career and his start in Knoxville and will feature representatives from the Knoxville History Project and faculty from the University of Tennessee’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media. Panelists and attendees then will enjoy beverages on Market Square a block away. The panelists include Alex S. Jones, SPJ Foundation Board member and co-author with Susan E. Tifft of the definitive biography about Ochs, “The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times.”
NEW TIME: The following day on Thursday, Sept. 29, at noon, a new historical plaque will be dedicated on Market Square near the site of the Knoxville Chronicle office where Ochs began his career. Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon will be in attendance.
The effort to honor Ochs and the historical significance for Knoxville journalism also is being supported in kind by downtown entrepreneur Scott West, who owns the building where the plaque is to be placed at the corner of Market Square and Wall Avenue.