Richard B. Scudder's presence in a newsroom was impossible to miss. So was his boyish enthusiasm for all of the many details and decisions, large and small, that go into putting out a daily newspaper. Not just any paper, mind you, but one that reflected his belief that the role of a newspaper, its only role, is to serve the community.
It was a message he relished delivering in person at the papers owned by MediaNews Group, the corporation he co-founded with William Dean Singleton in 1985 and built into the nation's second-largest newspaper company by circulation.
It was an unlikely pairing. Scudder was 72 at the time; Singleton was 38 years younger. Scudder, scion of a newspaper owner, was born into wealth and a place on the social register. Singleton grew up poor on a West Texas ranch. But the two shared an intense love for newspapers, the common denominator for a dynamic partnership that ended Wednesday with Scudder's death at the age of 99. He had served as chairman of MediaNews Group until 2009.