About Media General

Joseph Bryan
Joseph BryanBorn in 1845 on his father’s plantation in Gloucester County, Va., Joseph Bryan attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. He served in the Confederate Armed Forces with the Richmond, Va., Howitzers and Mosby's Rangers. And in 1868, Bryan received his law degree from the University of Virginia and met Isobel Lamont Stewart, whom he married three years later. He was involved in many Southern industries. His primary interest, however, was in railroads.

Bryan acquired The Daily Times, a struggling Richmond paper, from his friend, Maj. Lewis Ginter, in 1887. Under Bryan, business greatly improved, and The Daily Times became the first Southern newspaper to set type by the Merganthaler Linotype. In 1896, he acquired another newspaper, The Evening Leader, founded in the town of Manchester, just south of Richmond.

Two other papers also competed for local readership at this time. The Richmond Dispatch and The Richmond News were owned by John L. Williams. The competition could have greatly intensified if an impromptu deal had not been made between Bryan and Williams at a YMCA fund-raising dinner. By the end of dinner, the two had agreed that consolidation was best for the success of the papers and the interest of the city.

On Jan. 26, 1903, Joseph Bryan’s Times and John L. Williams’ Dispatch consolidated into the Richmond Times-Dispatch, owned by Bryan. It was Richmond’s morning publication. The same day, Williams’ News and Bryan’s Evening Leader were consolidated into The News Leader, owned by Williams. It served as the evening news source for Richmond. Five years later, Joseph Bryan purchased The News Leader from Williams. That same year, on Nov. 20, Joseph Bryan died and his son John Stewart Bryan succeeded him as publisher of the papers.