Pilot Media History

Pilot Media History

1865 With the newspapers that were published in Norfolk before the Civil War no longer in existence, the Norfolk Virginian is born.

1866 The Norfolk Journal begins as an enterprise of a number of Norfolk businessmen.

1873 Experiencing difficulties, the owners of the Journal sell their paper to a former editor of the Virginian, who names it The Norfolk Landmark.

1876 The Public Ledger begins publication as one of six afternoon papers in the South.

1894 The Daily Pilot begins as a morning, afternoon and Sunday paper. The afternoon edition is dropped after just three months.

1894 The Portsmouth Star launches, providing news to the city of Portsmouth until its purchase by the Ledger-Dispatch in 1955.

1896 The Norfolk Dispatch begins as a four-page afternoon publication. It pioneered war reporting during the Spanish-American War when other newspapers lagged behind. This began a new era in news service.

1898 The Virginian-Pilot is created by a merger of the Virginian with the New Daily Pilot. Within one year of its publication, the newspaper becomes the widest read and largest paper, at 12 to 20 pages.

1906 The Norfolk Dispatch and The Public Ledger merge, creating The Ledger-Dispatch, with a larger circulation than that of The Virginian-Pilot. The Ledger-Dispatch would be the only continuing afternoon paper in Norfolk for the next 60 years.

1912 The Landmark offers itself to the Virginian-Pilot for a merger. The flag carries the names of both papers.

1933 The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Dispatch consolidate after years of rivalry.

1954 At 27, Frank Batten becomes publisher of The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Dispatch, which were owned by his uncle, Samuel L. Slover.

1955 The Portsmouth Star is bought by Slover and publishes as a special component of The Ledger-Dispatch. The company's name is changed to Norfolk-Portsmouth Newspapers Inc.

1962 The Ledger-Dispatch drops Portsmouth Star from its flag and becomes the Ledger-Star.

1967 To reflect its continuing expansion, Norfolk-Portsmouth Newspapers changes its name to Landmark Communications Inc. Batten becomes Landmark's chairman.

1982 Landmark Communications launches The Weather Channel.

1983 Landmark begins publishing Port Folio, at that time a twice-monthly magazine.

1990 Infoline is developed by The Virginian-Pilot to deliver information over the telephone.

1993 PilotOnline.com debuts as one of the first newspaper Web sites in the country. Pilot Media is awarded publishing of The Flagship military newspaper.

1995 The Ledger-Star publishes its final edition, marking the end of afternoon papers in Hampton Roads.

1995 Apartment Book is purchased.

1996 Inside Business is created.

1996 Local News on Cable, or LNC, is created.

1998 HamptonRoads.com is established.

1999 Pilot Direct is developed as a database direct-marketing company.

2006 The company opts to split Trader Publishing Co. with Cox Enterprises, creating Dominion Enterprises. Also, Link, a free daily newspaper, is launched.

2008 Landmark Communications, Inc. changes corporate name to Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC.

2013 PilotOnline.com launches city websites: VirginiaBeachBeacon.com, ChesapeakeClipper.com, SuffolkSunVA.com, NorfolkCompass.com, and PortsmouthCurrents.com.

2015 The Virginian-Pilot celebrates 150 years!


Jakon Hays & Maureen Watts, news researchers


Norfolk Virginian Paper


Col Slover

The Virginian-Pilot 150th Anniversary