Beginning his publishing career with the founding of The McGraw Publishing Company in 1899, and later joining forces with John Alexander Hill to found The McGraw-Hill Book Company, James McGraw was always at the cutting edge of business journalism and industrial press. Following his partner¿s death in 1916, he founded and presided over The McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, which soon became the world¿s largest technical publisher. By 1917 McGraw¿s company published American Machinist, Coal Age, The Contractor, Electric Railway Journal, Electrical Merchandising, Electrical World, Engineering and Mining Journal, Engineering News-Record, Metallurgical and Chemical Engineering, and Power. In 1929 the company began publishing Business Week.
McGraw¿s leadership helped the business press establish the high standards of authoritative reporting and interpretation of industrial and technical information that prevail today. He came into the field just as the U.S. was experiencing a rapid technological expansion that made possible the amazing growth of our national productivity. His vision saw the need, his intelligence devised the instrument and his energy created a new type of industrial press to serve the needs of our industrial growth.
He pressed for more effective editorial education of readers in the new methods, materials and equipment that technology made available. At the same time, he required that his publications seek out and cultivate markets of consistently higher potential to their advertisers. By thus setting high goals for himself and his publication staff, he helped raise the business paper publishing to new heights.
McGraw believed that editorial competence and responsibility must be matched by high circulation standards. He was among the first to print total circulation figures in his publications. He stood consistently for rigid scrutiny of circulation practices and full verification of circulation claims.
These two contributions, one toward the establishment of high journalistic standards in the business press and the other toward the maintenance of high integrity in circulation practice, helped build a business and industrial press that constitutes a major social and economic value for advertising.