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November 26, 1921: Publisher Ned Chilton Born

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e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

Ned Chilton was born on November 26, 1921. A liberal Democrat, Chilton served four terms in the state House of Delegates in the 1950s. He made his biggest political splash, however, after becoming publisher of the Charleston Gazette newspaper in 1961. He used the Gazette’s pages to tackle the leading progressive issues of the day, including passionate crusades against racial discrimination, censorship, the death penalty, and drunk driving.

He saved his most spirited attacks for Governor Arch Moore, who commonly referred to the Gazette as the “morning sick call.” Chilton relentlessly urged the state’s mostly Democratic voters to toss the Republican from office. Despite these efforts, Moore won three terms as governor.

Chilton targeted political corruption and cronyism at all levels of government. His efforts forced West Virginia state government to end its practice of holding secret meetings. He also pressured the State Bar and West Virginia Board of Medicine to publicly reveal complaints against lawyers and doctors. Even fellow newspaper publishers felt his wrath, as he called for more “sustained outrage” in journalism.

Ned Chilton died of a sudden heart in 1987 at the age of 65.


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