(C.P.J.) Mooney was a newspaperman’s newspaperman. He would, if necessary, throw out features and even advertisements to make room for news. Incidentally, under his editorship, the Commercial Appeal not only attained the biggest circulation in the South but it probably reached its all-time high for profits. News-room reports had it that, one year, the paper paid dividends of sixty-four percent! Maybe Mooney had the right idea after all — give the public a newspaper, thorough, fair and interesting, and all these other things, including profits, shall be added unto you.
People would buy a copy of the Memphis afternoon newspapers with their heavy headlines about some tragedy, read the story and then remark: “Well, let’s wait and see what the Commercial Appeal says in the morning.
“Get the story first but get it right” was one of Mooney’s mottoes. On the wall of the office hung this:
“The three essentials of reporting: First, Accuracy; Second, Accuracy; Third, Accuracy.” — From “Cub Reporter” by Boyce House, 1947.
Charles Patrick Joseph Mooney is still regarded as the greatest editor of The Commercial Appeal, the daily newspaper of Memphis. He died in 1926, a full decade before the paper became a link in the Scripps chain. Mooney ran the newspaper, but he kept the title of managing editor. Nobody held the title of “editor” or “editor-in-chief.”