News Founder Edward H. Butler Sr. may have arrived in Buffalo as a newcomer in 1873, but as the Buffalo Evening News grew, Butler and his paper established a new role: influential community leader.
From the Bills’ arrival in Buffalo to the revival of some of the city’s beloved cultural institutions, The News has long helped shaped community conversations, both through our publishers’ leadership and the platform of our Editorial Pages.
In his lifetime, Butler Sr. was mentioned as a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat; favored by every newspaper in the city when it was suggested he run for mayor of Buffalo; a Republican presidential elector in 1896 and 1900; and a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1908.
Following Butler’s death in 1914, his son, Edward H. Butler Jr., followed in his father’s footsteps as both a community leader and proprietor of the News. In both 1928 and 1938, serious efforts were made to persuade Butler Jr. to become a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. senator, but he stopped both efforts.
Major civic developments often involved News leaders. When Ralph C. Wilson Jr. was choosing the home of his new football team, conversations with former Editor Paul E. Neville sealed the deal for Buffalo. In a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, Peter King interviewed Wilson about the decision:
King quotes Wilson saying. “I met with the managing editor of the Buffalo Evening News, Paul Neville. In those days you had to have the support from the newspaper or you were dead.
“I told him I’d give the city a franchise for three years if he promised he’d write about us every day. He said yes, and that was it.”
Stan Lipsey, publisher of The Buffalo News for nearly 30 years, left a lasting mark as a community advocate and philanthropist. “He was always in a hurry to change the trajectory of Buffalo,” Howard Zemsky, local developer and former New York State economic czar, said following Lipsey’s death in 2016.
Lipsey played a significant role in building the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and in the restorations of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House and the Richardson Olmsted Complex. He was a champion of initiatives like The News’ Kids Day and News Neediest and active on several community boards.
The hands-on style of Lipsey included personally writing some of The News’ editorials, opinion pieces shared on the Editorial Pages. Those pages have long offered different perspectives to spark conversation and debate. Features like “Everybody’s Column,” our letters to the editor section, invite readers to respectfully covey their opinion.
We’re proud of our legacy of leaders, whose contributions over the past 140 years have helped shape the vibrant community we live in today. And we’re pleased to continue showcasing diverse perspectives and encourage thought-provoking debate on the issues important to our readers.
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