The Telegraph is an American daily newspaper published seven days a week in Alton, Illinois, serving the St. Louis Metro-East region. It is owned by Civitas Media, based in Davidson, North Carolina, which owns approximately 100 daily and weekly newspapers across 12 states. Civitas Media is a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management. [3]

It was founded in 1836 as the Alton Telegraph by Lawson A. Parks.[5] It is published seven days a week.[6] Until the 1970s, the Telegraph was known as the Alton Daily Telegraph and then the Alton Evening Telegraph.

George Leighty (born 8/11/1911 - died 8/26/1966) was a veteran news reporter who worked for the Telegraph starting in the 1930s. He died in an accident while driving back from White Hall, Illinois, where he had gone to cover a story. His death and obituary were announced in congress by Representative Melvin Price, who stated that George would be missed as a well respected member of the "4th Estate". George Leighty's obituary was entered in the Congressional Record.

In 1969 the Alton Telegraph was sued for defamation by a local builder, James C. Green. A jury awarded $9 million. The newspaper could not appeal unless it posted a $10 million bond, and instead declared bankruptcy, eventually settling for slightly more than its insurance limits.[7]

The Cousley family controlled the paper from 1889 to 1985, when they sold the paper to Ingersoll Publications, who had acquired the Suburban Journals the previous year.[8] When Ingersoll successor Journal Register exited the St. Louis market, The Telegraph was sold to Freedom Communications.[9]

Along with The Telegraph, Civitas Media also owns the Journal-Courier in nearby Jacksonville, Illinois, and the Sedalia Democrat in Missouri. These three newspapers, along with The Lima News in Ohio, constituted the Central Division of Freedom Communications before being sold to Ohio Community Media in May 2012 before becoming part of Civitas Media.[2][10]