United Media

United Media
Print syndication
Founded 1978
Founder E. W. Scripps
Defunct 2011
Headquarters United States
Parent E. W. Scripps Company

United Media was a large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States, owned by the E. W. Scripps Company. It syndicated 150 comics and editorial columns worldwide. Its core businesses were the United Feature Syndicate and the Newspaper Enterprise Association. The Newspaper Enterprise Association once presented awards in professional and college football.


E. W. Scripps started his newspaper career in the 1885, and owned 22 newspapers by 1910. In 1897, he created two companies, the Scripps-McRae Press Association and the Scripps News Association. In 1907, he combined a number of news providers into United Press Associations as a rival to Associated Press.

On June 2, 1902 the new Newspaper Enterprise Association, based in Cleveland, Ohio, started as a news report service for different Scripps-owned newspapers. It started selling content to non-Scripps owned newspapers in 1907, and by 1909, it became a more general syndicate, offering comics, pictures and features as well. It moved from Cleveland to Chicago in 1915, with an office in San Francisco. NEA rapidly grew and delivered content to 400 newspapers in 1920 and about 700 in 1930.[1] At that time, it had some 100 features available.[2]

United Feature Syndicate was formed in fall 1931 from Scripps' acquisition of the New York World, which controlled the syndication arms of the Pulitzer company: Press Publishing Corporation and Metropolitan Newspaper Service (which unlike other syndicates were owned by the paper rather than being separate entities). An April 1933 article in Fortune described United Feature as one of the "Big Four" American syndicates (along with King Features Syndicate, Chicago Tribune Syndicate, and the Bell Syndicate).[3] Boyd Lewis became the executive editor of NEA Service in 1945.

From 1936 to 1954, United Features published their own line of comic books, using their comic strip features as characters. After ending the line in 1954, most of their comics would be continued by St. John Publications.

In May 1978 Scripps merged United Feature Syndicate and NEA[4] to form United Media Enterprises.[5]

In 1994, Jim Davis's company, Paws, Inc., purchased the rights to Garfield (including the strips from 1978 to 1993) from United Feature. The strip is currently distributed by Universal Press Syndicate, while rights for the strip remain with Paws.

On June 3, 2010, United Media sold their licensing arm, along with the rights to Peanuts, to Iconix Brand Group.[6][7]

On February 24, 2011, United Media struck a distribution deal with Universal Uclick for syndication of the former company's 150 comic strip and news features, which became effective on June 1.[8][9]

Syndicated comic strips before June 1, 2011

NEA Christmas strip

From 1936 to 2010, NEA produced an annual Christmas-themed daily comic strip for its subscribing newspapers as a holiday bonus.[10] They typically ran for three-four weeks before Christmas, with the concluding installment on December 25 or a nearby date. Strip historian Allan Holtz notes over the years these strips have featured regular NEA characters, adapted classic Christmas stories, and original stories with single-appearance characters. The 1942 strip, "Santa's Victory Christmas," had a WWII-era theme of conserving raw materials to further the war effort and was drawn by Superman ghost artist Leo Nowak.[11] The 1967 entry, Bucky's Christmas Caper, was written and drawn by famed comic book creator Wally Wood.[12]

Discontinued comic strips

Syndicated editorial cartoons

Web features

These are published on GoComics:

Syndicated columns


Syndicated puzzles

Licensed properties

Discontinued features

NFL awards

Beginning in 1954 the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), under the guidance of Murray Olderman,[15] began to poll NFL players and award what became known as the Players' All-Pro team. In addition, the NEA awarded a Rookie of the Year, a Most Valuable Player (since 1955), and a Defensive Player of the Year (George S. Halas Trophy; 1966–96). All were accepted as official and were published in the NFL Record and Fact Book alongside the Associated Press, United Press International, and the Pro Football Writers Association All-Pro teams and awards. The NEA last announced awards in 1997 and last had an All-Pro team in 1992, ending a 34-year tradition of the "Player's All-Pro Team". (The NEA list's successor, the Sporting News All-Pro team, currently polls players along with coaches and managers for its teams.) From the early 1980s the NEA All-Pro team was released in the World Almanac which was an NEA publication.

The NFL MVP award was called the Jim Thorpe Trophy and began in 1955 (not to be confused with college football's Jim Thorpe Award). The Defensive Player of the Year was named after Chicago Bears founder George S. Halas and its inception was 1966, the Rookie of the Year award was named after NFL commissioner Bert Bell and began in 1964. In the early 1960s the NEA began awarding the Third Down Trophy that symbolized each team's MVP. That began in the American Football League and included the NFL after the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and ran through 1979. Currently the Jim Thorpe Trophy is still awarded, through the Jim Thorpe Association of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is awarded to the NFL Most Valuable Player and is voted upon by members of the NFLPA.

Olderman, the driving force behind the Players' All-Pro teams and awards, was also a fine artist and cartoonist. When the NEA news service released its stories on the annual NFL awards they were accompanied by artwork provided by Olderman to illustrate the stories.

College football awards

NEA was the selector of All-America teams, a practice that ended in 1992.


  1. Monmonier, Mark S. (1989). Maps with the news: the development of American journalistic cartography. University of Chicago Press. pp. 80–83. ISBN 978-0-226-53411-4. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  2. Hudson, Frederick; McClung Lee, Alfred (2000). American journalism, 1690–1940, Volume 4. Luther Mott, Frank. Routledge. pp. 589–590. ISBN 978-0-415-22892-3. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  3. 1 2 Jeet Heer, "Crane's Great Gamble", in Roy Crane, Buz Sawyer: 1, The War in the Pacific. Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2011. ISBN 9781606993620
  4. Cavna, Michael (July 1, 2011). "RIP, UNITED MEDIA: A century-old syndicate closes its historic doors". The Washington Post.
  5. "News Features Services Merge As United Media". United Press International. May 19, 1978. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  6. PR Newswire (press release): "Iconix Brand Group Closes Acquisition of Peanuts", June 3, 2010.
  7. Global License!: "Iconix Forms Peanuts Worldwide", June 7, 2010.
  8. Universal Uclick to Provide Syndicate Services for United Media, PR Newswire, February 24, 2011.
  9. United Media Outsources Content to Universal Uclick, Editor & Publisher, April 29, 2011.
  10. The Magic Christmas Tree Part I In the comments section Allan Holtz notes "Last year [2010] was the final one offered by NEA (another reprint). This year, Universal, which now owns the syndicate, said they wouldn't be issuing one. And I very much doubt they'll change their mind in coming years".
  11. "Santa's Victory Christmas," Hogan's Alley, 2012 Archived December 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. "Santa's Secret's Day One"
  13. Billy Make Believe at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on August 27, 2015.
  14. Ron Goulart,The Funnies : 100 years of American comic strips.Holbrook, Mass. : Adams Pub., 1995. ISBN 1558505393. (p.159)
  15. http://web.archive.org/web/20070703050832/http://www.jewishsports.net:80/BioPages/MurrayOlderman.htm
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