During U.S. Army service during World War II, Jack Smyth made the decision that he wanted a more meaningful career than working in the family jewelry store in Renovo, a poor railroad town in the Bucktail Mountains in north central Pennsylvania. Although he had no training or experience in the field, he decided that he would become a journalist after the war, due to his belief that newspapers played such an important role in a free society.
After his discharge from the Army, Jack purchased his hometown newspaper, the four-page Renovo Record. He learned the business by doing it. In 1952 he sold his hometown paper in order to purchase the Delaware State News in Dover, DE, then a weekly. He envisioned a five-day daily newspaper serving the state capital, which was launched on Sept. 14, 1953.
In 1969, Jack began having health problems and moved to Arizona. He sold the Delaware State News to his four children (including Joe, who was then the 26-year-old managing editor). Jack Smyth passed away in 1996 at the age of 80. He wrote an autobiography, "From Diamonds to Deadlines."
Joe Smyth bought his siblings' stock in the early 1970s and changed the corporate name to Independent Newspapers, Inc. when the company started to expand beyond Delaware. (The name was changed to Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA in 2011.)
Joe wanted to ensure that the company would remain independent and dedicated to the practice of journalism as a public trust, with a commitment to citizen participation, free speech and independent journalism. After years of pursuing this vision, the IRS issued a private ruling in 1991 that allowed him to transfer 100% ownership to a new non-profit holding company.
The company now publishes community newspapers and other print and digital publications in Arizona, Delaware, Florida, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Its web offset printing plants in Arizona and Delaware also provide printing and related services to scores of other publishers in the Southwest and Mid Atlantic.
INI is a normal for-profit company that pays taxes the same as any other for-profit. It does not pay dividends to any individuals or groups, however, since it is 100% owned by INI Holdings, Inc., a non-profit membership corporation.
The five non-profit trustees serve staggered five-year terms, with a new trustee being elected each year.
They pledge to uphold the corporation's articles and bylaws, to act as guardians of its purposes, and to perpetuate the tradition of allowing all after-tax profits to be reinvested in pursuit of the operating company's journalistic mission. Other than receiving a modest honorarium for attending the annual meeting, they pledge to not benefit personally.