18 April 2003
The post-Gaylord era starts here
There have been many dynasties in American newspaper publishing, but few of them lasted as long, with as few members, as the Oklahoma Publishing Company's Gaylord family.
Edward King ("E. K.") Gaylord bought into the struggling Daily Oklahoman in 1903; by 1918, he was running the place. And E. K. continued to run the place for decades, which prompted local wags to point out that son Edward L. Gaylord would be at retirement age by the time E. K. stepped down.
As it turned out, E. K. never did step down. In May of 1974, the 101-year-old publisher sat down at his desk for the last time, and never got up. Edward L., then 55, quickly assumed command, and never let go.
Until now. Edward L. Gaylord has announced he will retire from the paper next month; former Oklahoman advertising director David Thompson will return to take over as publisher, and Ed Kelley, who has been overseeing the editorial page, will become editor. The family connection will continue: Christy Everest, Edward L.'s daughter, is already serving as president of OPUBCO.
I really don't expect any changes at the paper: it's privately held, deeply (sometimes wackily) conservative, and perplexed, like many American dailies, by stagnant circulation figures. Still, The Daily Oklahoman has outlasted all its competitors the last, The Oklahoma Journal, folded in 1980 and I can't imagine it going away no matter what sort of gee-whiz technological media appear in the next century or so.