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Bluefield Daily Telegraph

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph, circulation 14,129, serves Mercer, Monroe, and parts of Wyoming and Summers counties in West Virginia, and Tazewell, Buchanan, Bland, and Giles counties in neighboring Virginia.

In 1893, Bluefield had two newspapers, the Bluefield Telegraph and the Daily Journal. The Journal ceased daily publication in 1893 and closed altogether in 1895. That year, Hugh Ike Shott (1866–1953), a union linotype operator and conservative Republican originally from Staunton, Virginia, and two partners bought the Bluefield Telegraph and renamed it the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. The newspaper began publication under that name on January 16, 1896. On May 1, 1896, Shott bought out his partners. His newspaper advocated Republican doctrines and boasted of being ‘‘an acknowledged authority on matters pertaining to the Pocahontas-Flat Top Coal Field,’’ according to the special edition of November 1, 1896.

Shott, who later served in Congress and the Senate, wrote and set the type for his front-page editorials, published under the heading, ‘‘Good Morning.’’ In 1926, the Shott family started the Sunset News-Observer, an afternoon newspaper. At this point, the Daily Telegraph dropped its Monday edition for several years, but eventually resumed Monday publication. The Sunset News-Observer’s final edition was published March 31, 1972.

Shott’s sons, Hugh I. Shott Jr. and James H. Shott, worked in the family business. In 1929, they helped launch radio station WHIS, with the call letters taken from their father’s initials. In 1955, under the leadership of James Shott, the family started television station WHIS, now WVVA-TV. After Hugh Shott Sr.’s death in 1953, Hugh Jr. became Daily Telegraph publisher.

The Shott family published the newspaper until January 1, 1985, when they sold it to Worrell Newspapers. On January 1, 1988, Thomson Newspapers purchased the newspaper. On September 1, 2000, Thomson sold the paper to Community Newspaper Holdings of Alabama.

Written by William R. Archer