Wednesday, April 08, 2009


News of Yore 1978: Syndicates Combine Forces

UFS And NEA Consolidate
(reprinted from The Press, July 1978)

New York — United Feature Syndicate Inc. and Newspaper Enterprise Association, Inc., two of the nation's leading newspaper feature companies, have consolidated their operations under one management.

The announcement was made by Edward W. Estlow, president of The E.W. Scripps Co., the parent company of both UFS and NEA since their foundings. For the past two years NEA has been a subsidiary of UFS.

A new company, named United Media Enterprises Inc., will consolidate the management of the two enterprises.

Robert Roy Metz, who has been president and editor of NEA since 1972 and a vice president of UFS since 1976, is now president and chief executive officer of United Media. William C. Payette, president of UFS since 1969, and chief executive officer, is chairman of the board of United Media.

United Feature, founded in 1923 as a feature arm of United Press to distribute the memoirs of Lloyd George, syndicates such widely used comic strips as "Peanuts" by Charles Schulz, "Ferd'nand" by Mik, "Marmaduke" by Brad Anderson, "Tumbleweeds" by Tom Ryan, and "Nancy" by Ernie Bushmiller, columnists such as Jack Anderson, and editorial cartoonists Mike Peters, Dave Simpson, and Gene Bassett. Since 1972, UFS has led the syndicate field in application of modern technology in the production and delivery of features and TV listings.

NEA was established in 1902 by E. W. Scripps as a feature news service for his growing string of papers. It now sells to more than 700 daily newspapers in North America a daily service, including such widely published features as Jim Berry's "Berry's World," Art Sansom's "The Born Loser" and the medical advice column of Lawrence E. Lamb, M.D.

Metz said that the NEA service will continue to be marketed to newspapers as a unit. UFS features are sold individually.

NEA also is the publisher of The World Almanac, the largest selling single-volume reference work.

Estlow's announcement said the decision to consolidate operations of the two companies over a period of time was made two years ago. As part of the plan, UFS moved its office last year from the Daily News building in New York City to larger premises at 200 Park Avenue.

NEA, which has had its executive office in New York for many years and its business office in Cleveland since its founding, moved into the 200 Park Avenue quarters on May 1. Personnel and operations of the Cleveland NEA office moved to New York in April.

UFS and NEA, wholly owned subsidiaries of United Media Enterprises, retain separate corporate identities to avoid cumbersome changes in copyrights and trademarks. In practice, however, editorial marketing and business operations are combined. Production and transmission of both companies' features is being handled by UFS.

Estlow said the name United Media Enterprises was chosen "to reflect the fact that UFS and NEA in recent years have become engaged in a number of enterprises beyond the syndication or servicing of features to newspapers."

"We expect," he said, "that this diversification will continue."



It looks like Scripps is putting an end to the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

The United Media daily strip this week are all sporting UFS slugs,
including all the, what used to be, NEA strips.
Alley Oop, Arlo and Janis, Born Loser,

It appears the last NEA dailies were January 2, 2010
and the last Sundays will be January 10, 2010.

NEA 1902 -2010 RIP

The United Media comics page is at
And that's it for NEA.
As stated above the last dailies were January 2, 2010.
The Sundays went piecemeal.
The last 'Arlo and Janis' and 'The Born Loser' NEA bylined Sundays were December 27, 2009.
'Alley Oop' and 'Frank & Ernest' last NEAs were on the Sunday of January 10, 2010.
On January 17 what was left of the NEA Sunday strips ('Big Nate', 'Monty', 'Soup to Nutz', and Jeff Harris' 'Shortcuts') carried the NEA byline for the last time.
For whatever reason Drew Litton's sports cartoon still carried the NEA line on January 21, 2010. I asked him about it and he replied
"I found out Wednesday that [NEA has] been put back in the bullpen
(probably something to do with the Newspaper Enterprise Association
moniker sounding too “newspapery”). So from now on I’ll be using UFS
on everything, which is great by me."

So it looks like NEA has come to an end.
Thanks very much for keeping me updated on this story, DD. What a shame that a syndicate around for over a hundred years goes down without so much as a eulogy.

I wonder if this means that there will no longer be an NEA package deal available to papers? Will papers have to buy each former NEA feature separately from now on, or is the change merely a branding decision?

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