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 The Los Angeles Daily Herald CDNC logo CDNC logo

Established in 1873, the Los Angeles Daily Herald [LCCN: sn84038806] represented the largely Democratic views of the city of Los Angeles and focused primarily on issues local to Los Angeles and Southern California. Appealing to a mostly working-class audience, the Heraldís conversion during its 116 years of publication from focusing primarily on agriculture to reporting extensively on Hollywood gossip and local scandal reflects the transformation of Los Angeles itself during the twentieth century.

The Los Angeles Daily Herald was first published on October 2, 1873 by C.A. Storke. First in Southern California to use the innovative steam press, the Herald's offices at 125 South Broadway were popular with the public because large windows on the ground floor allowed passersby to see the presses in motion. William Ivan ďIkeĒ St. Johns and Adela Rogers St. Johns, a popular husband and wife reporting team, were among the celebrated Herald staff. Stroke lost the paper to creditors who together formed the Los Angeles City and County Publishing Company in 1874. The Herald continued to focus on local news including agriculture, business and culture in Los Angeles and Southern California. Under the leadership of R.M. Widney, the paperís circulation increased dramatically at little cost to the company. Widney interviewed local farmers and business owners for free and used this information to report on the region. A weekly edition using this material sold over 1,000 copies a week. Beginning in the teens, under the leadership of Hearst-trained editors Edwin R. Collins and John B.T. Campbell, the local coverage for which the Herald was known shifted from an emphasis on agriculture to a focus on scandal, crime, and the emerging Hollywood scene. By the 1920s, editors Wes Barr and James H. Richardson were so well known for their investigative reporting that they became the prototypes for the morally ambiguous, chain-smoking reporters who narrated so many film noir flicks of the 1930s. In 1933, B.T. Campbell hired the legendary Agness Underwood to be the first female editor in Los Angeles. Her hard-boiled investigations and scintillating coverage of local scandal and crime propelled Los Angeles gossip onto the national news scene in the 1940s and 1950s. The Herald officially joined the Hearst news empire in 1922. Several sources, however, suggest that Hearst had secretly purchased the paper in 1911 when Campbell and Collins took the helm.

Upon purchasing the Los Angeles Evening Express [LCCN: sn95061002] in 1931 and merging it with the Herald, Hearstís Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express [LCCN: sn85041092] became the largest circulating evening newspaper west of the Mississippi. In 1962, Hearst struck a deal with Otis Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times [LCCN: sn8104356] and the Los Angeles Mirror [LCCN: sn94051754]. Hearst agreed to close his morning paper, the Los Angeles Examiner [LCCN: sn82014773], if Chandler closed the evening Mirror. Hearst and Chandler were therefore able to free themselves of their more unprofitable papers and secure the lionís share of the Los Angeles evening and morning news markets respectively. In 1967, internal conflict resulted in a strike that lasted almost ten years and cost the paper $15 million and over half its circulation. The Hearst familyís attempts to sell the paper, then called the Los Angeles Herald Examiner [LCCN: sn82015932], were unsuccessful. In 1989, the paper stopped its presses for good. The Herald Examiner fell victim to both the loss of the evening news market and the division of the sensationalist news market among a variety of national tabloid magazines. The majority of Herald Examiner subscribers, and some of their advertisers and staff, found their way to the Los Angeles Times, which continued to dominate the news market in the region.

-Jamie Bufalino

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