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LATEST NEWS Legendary Herald Examiner Editor Jim Bellows has died, for details please click HERE.
REUNION NEWS For video, audio, commentary, photos, and much more from the 2008 reunion, please click HERE.

Los Angeles

Herald Examiner

118 YEARS OF PUBLISHING


News and Chronology as reported in the Los Angeles Times
 

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"It has been a losing business but a winning newspaper."
--Robert J. Danzig, Hearst Corp. vice president, announcing the closing of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner


"The Herald Examiner, once the nation's largest afternoon newspaper and in recent years known for its lively writing
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HerEx Forum
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and crusading reporting, published its final edition today.

Death of the 238,000 circulation daily leaves Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest city, with only one metropolitan daily.

The Herald Examiner took shape in 1962 when the morning Examiner, founded in 1903, and the evening Herald Express, dating back to 1871, merged to take over sole possession of Los Angeles' afternoon newspaper market.

But in exchange, the paper made what many newspaper experts consider a fatal mistake: It turned over the morning to the Los Angeles Times.


  • Gordon Dillow: The Herald Is Years Gone, Yet the Stories Live On


    This page was last modified:

    Story Links

  • Ted Warmbold, San Antonio Light Editor, Dies at 45
  • Toronto Sun's Owner Confirms Exploratory Talks on Buying L.A. Paper
  • Management at Herald Works on Buyout Plan
  • FIGHTING FOR LIFE: Potential Buyers Fear Herald Examiner May Be Too Sick to Save
  • Herald Examiner Goes on the Block--Officially
  • Herald Examiner to Shut Down
  • Herald Examiner Will Halt Publishing Today
  • Herald Examiner Sales Boom
  • Piled Up Over Two Decades, Losses Became Insurmountable
  • End of the Herald Examiner
  • 'They Really Did It,' Staff Members Cry as the News Sinks In
  • 118 YEARS OF PUBLISHING
  • Hearst Corp. Has Gained Vigor by Changing Focus
  • Herald Leaves a Rollicking Legacy
  • Paper's Rivals Likely Will Gain Readers, but at a Price
  • What the Herald's Death Means
  • Flash! That's How Fast the Last Herald Went
  • 'Life Goes On' for Suddenly Jobless Workers
  • BEN STEIN: The Herald Examiner: Requiem for a Fighter
  • AL MARTINEZ: The Day After
  • With Herald's Death, Its Downtown Site Is Put Into Play





  • 1111 South Broadway

  • The HerEx building becomes a movie set
  • A little peek inside the HerEx
  • Another little peek inside the HerEx
  • Hark, the Herald Examiner Sings: Urban Partners Undertakes $35 Million Fix of Hearst's Historic Newspaper Structure
  • Photos from the HerEx morgue
  • Funny Paper: Missing the Herald-Examiner

    HERALD EXAMINER BUILDING UPDATES

    Two residential towers designed by Thom Mayne.
    Two residential towers designed by Thom Mayne.

  • Herald Examiner Press Building Comes Down

    The long-closed Herald Examiner building is the site of some activity -- demolition activity. Hearst Corp., which has owned the complex at 1111 S. Broadway for nearly 100 years, recently began taking down the site's former press building after receiving the necessary approvals, a Hearst spokesperson said. Although there is no timeline for building on the soon-to-be open space, plans call for replacing the press building, which fronts Hill Street, with two residential towers designed by Thom Mayne: a 24-story 268-unit structure, and a 37-story, 319-unit high-rise. The towers are part of a project that would also see a renovation of the Julia Morgan-designed Broadway building. Downtown-based Urban Partners had been working on the plan, but the firm is no longer involved, and the Hearst representative said the company is looking for a development team to proceed with the construction. In recent years the building has occasionally been used for filming activity; among other appearances, the show "Fear Factor" shot a Halloween episode in the former press edifice.


    --Downtown News 6/18/2007

  • Developer Tweaks Plan For Herald Examiner
    Urban Partners has modified early plans to redevelop the Herald Examiner Building at 1111 S. Broadway. In the main building, originally designed by noted architect Julia Morgan, plans for a new mezzanine with 24 residential units have been scrapped. Instead, the plan will more closely resemble the historic design, and will feature 29,000 square feet of retail and 39,725 square feet of offices. Plans have also been altered for two new mixed-use structures; the retail component in a 23-story edifice at 1108 S. Hill St. has been reduced from 5,900 to 2,560 square feet, while the condo component will increase by 21 to 256. A ground-up, 37-story building proposed at 120 W. 12th St. will continue to include 8,050 square feet of retail while the number of condos will decrease to 319 with 479 parking spaces. The city is reviewing the changes as part of an environmental impact report. The Herald Examiner Building has been closed since the Hearst-owned newspaper folded in 1989. Architect Thom Mayne has been commissioned to design the project's signature high-rise while architect Brenda Levin will oversee the historic renovation.


    --Downtown News 12/5/2005

    Devin Pailet, a project manager with Urban Partners, is part of the team that is working with the Hearst Corporation to revamp the 1914 Herald Examiner Building. Photo by Gary Leonard/Downtown News.
  • Heralding a New Beginning
    Historic Newspaper Building and Two New Condo Towers by Thom Mayne to Include Nearly 600 Units

    The storied Herald Examiner Building, shuttered since the Hearst-owned newspaper folded in 1989, is being turned into a residential and retail complex with two towers designed by award-winning architect Thom Mayne.
    Developer Urban Partners, which is working in tandem with property owner the Hearst Corporation, said plans are underway to restore and convert the 1914 landmark on the southwest corner of 11th and Broadway into offices and condominiums. As part of the mixed-use development, two new towers would rise on adjacent land owned by Hearst. A 37-story structure will likely feature 330 for-sale units at 120 W. 12th St., while a 23-story building at 1108 S. Hill St. will include 235 condos. [MORE]


    --Downtown News 8/26/2005
  • Downtown News Editorial, 9/5/2005

  • Developer Dan Rosenfeld on the vertical future of Los Angeles
    Dan Rosenfeld, of Urban Partners, is one of the city’s leading developers. His firm spearheaded the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters, at First and Main, in downtown, and he is building the urban village that will spring up above and around the Wilshire-Vermont Red Line subway station late next year. He is also working with Pritzker Prize–winning architect Thom Mayne, who designed Caltrans, on an apartment tower to be annexed to the former Herald Examiner building, the 1914 Spanish Colonial Revival gem commissioned by William Randolph Hearst and designed by Julia Morgan, the architect of San Simeon. ... "We’re looking for a building that works — and something more. The building has to function at every practical level. It has to be efficient, safe, durable, and absolutely satisfy every living requirement. Then it has to provide something more. That’s sort of an intangible element."

    --LA Weekly 4/29 - 5/5/2005


  • Plans Still Vague For Examiner Site
    Fifteen years after the last Herald-Examiner rolled off the presses, plans are still up in the air for the three-building complex that formerly housed the city's last afternoon newspaper. Devan Pailet, a development executive for Urban Partners, said early plans call for a mix of for-rent residential and retail. The 90-year-old building has largely sat empty for the past 15 years. Like many abandoned office buildings Downtown, the Herald Examiner building has been used as a movie set in Terminator 2, The Usual Suspects, X-Files and recent episodes of "Fear Factor." Representative from Hearst and its real estate division, Sunical Land, did not immediately return calls, although Pailet said company officials have shared input about the future of the building. The last Herald-Examiner was published Nov. 3, 1989.

    --Downtown News 11/15/2004


  • Developers recently announced a change in plans for the long vacant former home of Los Angeles' last afternoon newspaper. Urban Partners has dropped plans to lease space in the Herald Examiner building to commercial tenants. Devan Pailet, a development executive at Urban Partners, says the firm is reworking plans to renovate three-structure campus (an earlier plan would have rehabbed the building at a cost of $35 million). Pailet said the complex will contain a mix of residential and office spaces. Pailet said the building's Broadway Avenue building will be revamped purely into residential space while the press building will see a mix of office and residential uses. San Francisco-based Hearst Corporation, the former owner of the Herald Examiner until it folded the paper in 1989, owns the three-building complex. The structure at the corner of 11th and Broadway has been empty for the past 15 years. The 1914 property is one of Los Angeles' architectural gems, a primarily Mission-Revival style structure with Spanish, Italian and Moorish details.

    --Downtown News 9/21/2004





  • There once was an Examiner

  • Streets of Los Angeles Crowded with Marching Citizens Cheering for William Randolph Hearst
  • Convention Center Site, Unconventional Newspaper
  • Index of links to the Examiner
  • Index of links to the Herald
  • Index of links to the Express




  • Tales from the art market: D. Hockney


  • Let the New York Times cover Hirst like mad. Here at Modern Art Notes we're more amused by the funky side of the art market. Take this David Hockney, Untitled (Two Apples and a Lemon), a 'color offset lithograph, signed in marker.' It was originally available 20-plus years ago for $0.25, that is, as a free insert in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner newspaper. It just sold at auction for $1,200 (with buyer's premium), a 480,000 percent increase in value. Or price. Or who-knows-what. Many tens of thousands of these were printed, so cumulatively they're worth well over $100 million. Sorta. 6/26/07




  • Jim Roark's Pulitzer-Nominated Photo


  • Outfielder Rick Monday of the Chicago Cubs dashes between two men in the Dodger Stadium outfield in Los Angeles, in this April 25, 1976 Herald Examiner photo, snatching an American flag the men were about to burn. What happened to photographer, James Roark, who shot the only photo of the incident? Roark, whose photo was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, lost his job when the paper closed, became a night cook in Portland and was beaten and killed outside a restaurant in 1995. He was 49.




  • Tom Plate
    and the 'Hit-a-Pet' stunt



  • As a deputy editor of late and sometimes lamented Los Angeles Herald Examiner paper, back then under the editorship of Jim Bellows, I occasionally was asked to look at gossip items before they went to press. This was a wise thing to do, particularly in the case of the newspaper's gossip columnist, because not only was he a wildly imaginative (!) fellow, but he had been trained in the British tradition, where almost anything goes (i.e., if a story item cannot be conclusively proven to be false, it may just be true -- and thus is inherently and imminently publishable).

    And so one morning at the struggling Hearst paper, trailing as it was in the deep shadow of the mighty Los Angeles Times, I arrived bright and early at the office to the sound of the great Bellows bellowing out to me, "Tom! Good Lord! Look at PAGE TWO!" This was how we had labeled our gossip page.

    I immediately figured that the commotion had something to do with some amazing item! I grabbed the paper on my desk. There, shouting out from page two, was one of the weirdest headlines one would ever get to see: "Hit a Pet!" Next to that was a picture of the cutest little dog ever, and then the caption: "Are you having trouble sleeping at night because the dog in the alley thinks he's Pavarotti? Has the cat next door made your favorite petunia bed his personal potty? Hit-a-Pet can help! No more frustrating exchanges with pet owners who just don't care. Hit-a-Pet takes care of all of your furry problems. Call us and you'll soon be sleeping free and easy through the night. Squeamish about using our service? We take care of pet problems quietly and under the cover of darkness. And we take Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Just telephone us at 213 237 7000."

    Jim shouted at me through the wall, "Tom, call that number, I don't have the nerve."

    I dutifully dialed it. A ring or two or three, and then the human voice representing the institution said: "Los Angeles Times, how may I help you?"

    By then, the Los Angeles Times (our competition) had been absolutely flooded with outraged phone calls from pet lovers and animal rights organizations alike. It was two hours until we could remake the edition. Being the serious, ethical American paper that we were, we of course published a formal apology and publicly retracted the item, as well as reprimanded the gossip writer.

    Well, I did not reprimand him (I thought the gig was absolutely hilarious but, then again, I had worked a little stint on Fleet Street!) but I think Jim Bellows might have warned him not to do anything like that again but had to try hard not to die laughing.

    The truth is, the "Hit a Pet" stunt was damn funny. It was the kind of gleeful absurdity that you rarely got in American newspapers. In America, you are virtually guaranteed a spanking from the boss for even attempting to pull off something like that. What dull lives of quiet desperation most US journalists live!

  • Read more excerpts.




  • Tabloid Pictures
    from the Herald Express



  • The L.A. Herald Express was a tabloid rag started by Citizen Hearst in 1931, which miraculously managed to line the bottoms of bird cages for 30 years until merging with the L.A. Examiner. The paper thrived on grab-you-by-the-throat headlines, sensationalistic stories, and photos of everything from tear-jerker shots of lost dogs, to gruesome crime scenes of headless and handless corpses, to fires, cross-dressers, and school kids practicing air-raid drills in hopes that hiding under their desks would protect them from being turned into raisins in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Commies. These 92 duotones selected by editor Keaton (yes, it's that Diane Keaton) hearken back to the days of whiskey-breathed news hacks and cigar-champing shutterbugs leering out from behind weathered Speed Graphics with no. 2 press bulbs and lightsaber flashes. Mostly kitschy now, they nonetheless have value in showing how editors enhanced the emotional kick of a still photo by retouching the prints with drawn-in tears, etc. Press photography is gaining acceptance as an art form, so this volume should be of interest. Good fun at a good price. Recommended.
    --Michael Rogers, "Library Journal"
  • An exhibition curated by Diane Keaton for the Los Angeles Public Library September 1999




  • Agness Underwood
    brewed news for working-class tastes


  • Convention Center Site, Unconventional Newspaper
    "Underwood went out of her way to demonstrate that she was tougher than any man when it came to the more gruesome aspects of her stories. 'I was no sissy in my control of my reaction to blood and guts,' she wrote (in her 1949 autobiography), going on to describe one story in which police discovered two rotting corpses on a living room sofa. While male reporters and police officers stood around outside, waiting for the house to air out, Underwood went in, climbed over the bodies, and retrieved the victims' identification, then phoned in her story. 'Later I sent my brown wool dress to the cleaners,' she wrote, 'but the odor persisted.' "




  • The 'Lion' in Winter
    Jim Bellows, shown inside the building of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, where he was once editor.
 CARLOS CHAVEZ / Los Angeles Times
  • Former newspaper editor pitches a quirky story--his own
  • A faulty tip, a ruined life and hindsight




  • Unforgettable Times with Bud Furillo, 80
    Dean Martin, Bud Furillo and Frank Sinatra
  • The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner was something straight out of the classic newspaper movie, "The Front Page," complete with 1926 Underwood typewriters, rolltop desks and a bottle of good bourbon tucked away in more than one desk drawer.

    The giant presses that rolled out the eight daily editions roared with a romantic hum that was sweet music to the hardworking staff that, by most accounts, put out one of the best sports sections in the country at least four days a week under the watchful eye of Bud Furillo, one of the finest sports columnists/editors to ever sit behind a typewriter.

    His motto?

    "Make 'em wonder what we're up to every day."






  • Maxwell McCrohon, 76;
    the Last Editor
    of the Herald Examiner


  • Australian-born Maxwell McCrohon, last editor of the Herald Examiner, was a journalistic visionary whose innovations in design, story-packaging and feature writing changed the face of journalism and had a wide impact throughout the U.S. newspaper industry.





  • Dave Barton, 53

  • DO YOU have memories of Dave Barton, star copy editor and headline writer at both the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Los Angeles Times? Click HERE and offer a tribute.

  • Read the Dave Barton Memorial page by clicking HERE. [pdf]





    Karl Hubenthal, Cartoonist, 1917 - 1998

  • Karl Hubenthal started his newspaper career in 1935, at the age of 17, in the art department of the Los Angeles Evening Herald-Express. He began drawing a weekly sports cartoon in 1938, and two years later was named Top Sports Cartoonist of the Year at the New York Worlds Fair. In 1955, Hubenthal became editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Examiner, and the Hearst chain distributed his political cartoons nationally for the next 33 years. He continued at the Herald-Examiner until his retirement in 1982, sharing editorial cartooning duties during the last few years with Bill Schorr -- ironically, a former "student" of Hubenthal's who was hired by the Herald-Examiner from the Kansas City Star.





  • Tales of Diamonds and Mud

  • P.J. Corkery: "Years ago, when I worked with Will Hearst III at the old Los Angeles Herald Examiner, he put the situation succinctly. 'In the Hearst Corporation,' he once said, 'the biggest outsiders are the members of the Hearst family.' … Some of those 'outsiders' estimate the fortune at $18 billion. … "




  • Crazy Like a Fox

  • In 1977, future stock market guru Jim Cramer earned a stint on the murder beat with The Herald Examiner, where his life began to unspool in a film-noirish nightmare. First, his apartment was robbed, then it was robbed again, then again. With no money, possessions or benefits, he bought a gun and moved into his car. The psychic hits kept coming when he was picked up (and later released) for armed robbery and then developed mononucleosis.




  • 'Citizen Kane'

  • P.J. Corkery: Was Hearst a Secret Fan?
  • When Orson Welles Met His Citizen Kane




  • Bill Farr, The HerEx
    and Charlie Manson


  • A Journalist's 46-Day Incarnation is More Than a Footnote in History
    Bill Farr's legal troubles began when he was at the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, covering the trial of Charles Manson and his followers. They had been accused of killing actress Sharon Tate - the wife of director Roman Polanski - and several other people in August 1969.





  • The Black Dahlia case
    was the Examiner's story all the way


  • The Myth Noir of Hollywood
    Competition between the papers was keen, but the Black Dahlia case was the Examiner's story all the way, starting with the extra it brought out the first day. It was the Examiner that notified [Elizabeth] Short's mother that her daughter was dead, the Examiner that found Short's suitcases, checked at the bus station, and the Examiner that located [the] top suspect... --Larry Harnisch
  • The Undying Mystery of the Black Dahlia
    The Dahlia's death was the last big crime case to remain the exclusive province of print journalism, minus the TV cameras, sound trucks and talking heads soon to emerge. It was the first in a number of sex-related Southland crimes, a forerunner to the Manson murders, to the Hillside Strangler, a Red Light Bandit, numerous stalkers and--most celebrated of all, perhaps--to O.J. Simpson. --Lionel Van Deerlin




  • Truth stranger than fiction
    Back in the 1960s and '70s, when wrestling was still pretending to be real, Olympic Auditorium wrestling promoter Mike LeBell had an underling call in results after the matches. But then Los Angeles Herald Examiner sports editor Bud Furillo convinced him it would be easier to get the results in the paper if they were called in before the matches. After that, John Beyrooty, who handled the wrestling beat, got the "results" of matches that started at 8 p.m. by 6 p.m. Beyrooty always included the line: "In other unbelievable action ..."
    --Los Angeles Times, May, 6, 2005



    Cult-fave '80s band
    Was (Not Was)
    regroups for another go


  • In due course, I moved to Los Angeles in search of bluer skies and greener paydays, and wound up finding a gig as the jazz critic at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner... and, in what would prove to be a valuable breach in journalistic ethics, I used the stationery of my employers to pen a letter of recommendation to any prospective record executives on behalf of "this brilliant young band." --David Weiss (David Was)



    Original 'Pitch' a mess

  • "The first clue that [the movie]"Fever Pitch" [with Ryan O'Neal]would not unseat "Citizen Kane," or even "California Split," in the hearts of cinema historians came early one morning in the sports office of the old Los Angeles Herald Examiner, as I and several other real-life Herald copy editors hit our marks for the filming of a pivotal scene."
    --Kevin Modesti



    We've seen this before...

  • Hearst puts P-I up for sale
  • Firm hired by Hearst to look for P-I buyer
  • Times document: P-I demise a goal since '85
  • Memo points up Times' intent
  • Times refuses to publish ad aimed at keeping P-I alive
  • Two-paper group's ad rejected by Times
  • Thursday Ruling May Mean Goodbye for 'P-I'
  • Judge rules against Seattle Times
  • Times' concession eases danger to P-I for four years
  • Hearst files defense of JOA ruling
  • Hearst's practices elsewhere hint at strategy in newspaper battle
  • Justices to hear Seattle newspapers' dispute




  • Also in the Hellbox

  • The Washington Star
  • The Houston Post


  • The Cleveland Press, and here, and here too.
  • The New York City newspapers
  • Baltimore News-American
  • Dallas Times-Herald and here too.
  • Chicago Daily News
  • Newark Evening News and here, and here too.
  • New York Herald Tribune


  • Los Angeles Daily News and here, and here too.
  • Green Bay News-Chronicle
  • Birmingham Post-Herald and HERE, and HERE,too

  • City News Service
  • CNNfn [even TV news dies]


    Have other links?
    E-mail more Dead Newspapers




  • The race to be LAST

    Panel of L.A. Newspaper Men
    (Listen)

    Larry Mantle of KPCC talks with Rip Rense author of The Last Byline, Jim Bellows, author of The Last Editor: How I Saved The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times from Dullness and Complacency, Al Martinez, author of The Last City Room and columnist for the Los Angeles Times about their books, and about their long careers in Journalism.






    Click here for Journalism Jobs




    Big Brother may be watching. Click here.




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    . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.






    Counter launched
    July 2, 2003





    "IT HAS often amazed me that Los Angeles doesn't cover its own fabulousness very well. Since the demise of the gossip page on the old Herald-Examiner, La La Land has been pretty much left in the clutches of the supermarket tabloids."
    -- Liz Smith, Sept. 5, 2003




    Sunday February 26, 1989
    Ted Warmbold, San Antonio Light Editor, Dies at 45
    From Associated Press
    SAN ANTONIO -- Ted Warmbold, editor of the San Antonio Light, died Saturday after a 10-day illness at the age of 45.

    Warmbold, former executive editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, also held executive titles with newspapers in Rochester, N.Y., San Bernardino and Dallas. He had been the chief news executive at the Light since joining the newspaper in June, 1981.

    "Ted was the most talented editor I have had the privilege of working with during my almost 25 years in the newspaper business," said publisher George B. Irish.

    The newspaper said Warmbold died at Humana Metropolitan Hospital after a bout with cryptococcal meningitis.

    The disease is an opportunistic infection in people whose immune system is weakened, including victims of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy or bone marrow transplants, said Dr. Ron Kennedy, a researcher at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research.

    Attended Seminary Schools

    A native of St. Louis, Warmbold attended various seminary schools before transferring to the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he received his degree.

    In 1969, Warmbold was named assistant managing editor at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and, in 1972, Gannett named him managing editor of the San Bernardino Sun-Telegram.

    He left Gannett in 1975 and became assistant managing editor of the Dallas Times Herald and the following year became executive editor of D Magazine, the city magazine of Dallas and Fort Worth.

    In 1977, the Hearst Corp. hired him as executive editor of the Herald Examiner and in 1981, Hearst named him executive editor at the Light. He was promoted to editor in 1986.He is survived by his wife, his mother, three sisters and two brothers.A funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio. Burial will be in St. Louis.

    To Top


    Friday March 10, 1989
    Toronto Sun's Owner Confirms Exploratory Talks
    on Buying L.A. Paper

    Canadian Firm Interested in Herald Examiner

    FOR THE RECORD: In a story in Friday's Business section, the financial results of Canada's Sun newspapers for 1987 were incorrectly converted from Canadian to U.S. dollars. At current exchange rates, the papers posted operating earnings of $25.8 million (U.S.) on revenue of $150.9 million (U.S.).

    By DENISE GELLENE and PAUL FELDMAN, Times Staff Writers

    The owner of the Toronto Sun, a saucy Canadian tabloid heavy on pictures and crime stories, confirmed Thursday that it is exploring the purchase of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.

    Toronto Sun Publishing Corp. stressed that its discussions with Hearst Corp., the media giant that owns the Herald, were exploratory. "There are no ongoing discussions," said John Rowsone, executive assistant to President J. Douglas Creighton. "At this point, it is all quite premature."

    According to a report in Thursday's editions of the Toronto Globe and Mail, the discussions between Hearst and Toronto Sun executives at least partly concerned the possibility of converting the Herald Examiner to a tabloid.

    "Hearst has been looking at changing the Herald Examiner into a tabloid, and they've been up here and we've been down there looking at it . . . and to see the city," Creighton said in the Globe and Mail.

    One alternative said to be under discussion would have the Sun teaming up with Hearst to jointly run the Herald. Hearst executives didn't return telephone calls seeking comment Thursday.

    Founded in 1971 by 67 reporters from the defunct Toronto Telegraph, the Toronto Sun is known for its racy style similar to Britain's tabloids and the New York Post.One of the Sun's best-known features is a provocatively attired "SUNshine Girl," published daily on Page 3. The Sun also runs a daily photo of a "SUNshine Boy" further inside the paper.

    The paper, Canada's third-largest daily, focuses heavily on local crime stories, accompanied by blaring headlines. National and international events receive perfunctory, or decidedly unusual, treatment. For example, coverage of a recent economic summit conference in Toronto included daily horoscopes of the seven leaders.

    The formula is highly profitable. At current exchange rates, the Sun newspapers in Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary posted operating earnings of $37.2 million (U.S.) in 1987 on revenue of $2.17 million (U.S.) "They are aggressive and smart, probably the best tabloid publishers in the country," said James Cole, a media industry analyst with the Canadian investment firm Brown Baldwin Nisker James Capel Inc. Cole estimated that 70% of the profits came from the flagship Toronto Sun, with daily circulation of about 306,000. Its parent company, Toronto Sun Publishing, is 51% owned by the big Canadian media firm Maclean Hunter Ltd.

    Interest Called 'Extraordinary'

    Sun Publishing, which is also considering stepping into the Washington market, purchased the Houston Post in 1983 for $100 million. Four years later, it sold the paper for $150 million to publisher William Dean Singleton.

    John Morton, a Washington newspaper industry analyst, said it was "extraordinary" that the Sun would be interested in the money-losing Herald. He said Los Angeles might not be receptive to the Sun's tabloid style, which is so successful in Canada. "Tabloids are fairly dependent on street sales, and L.A. is not a street sales market.

    "The Herald Examiner, once the nation's largest afternoon newspaper, has never fully recovered from the effects of a bitter 1967 strike. Daily circulation, which was as high as 720,000 in the mid-1960s, is currently about 242,000.

    The paper's possible sale has been rumored for years. At the same time, Hearst has tried to boost readership by switching to morning delivery and by purchasing (and later selling) 28 community weekly newspapers in the Los Angeles area. Recently, Herald Examiner executives recommended to corporate officials in New York that the paper be converted to a tabloid.

    Herald Examiner reporters contacted Thursday seemed wary of the prospects for working for a publication operated by the Sun. "If they want to run a classy tab, fine," said one veteran reporter. "But if it's (sleazy), I'm out of here."

    Earlier this week, 550 unionized Herald Examiner employees narrowly ratified a three-year contract. During the bitter negotiations, the workers had sought an agreement that the contract would remain in place if the newspaper was sold, according to sources. But that request was dropped after newspaper management assured union negotiators that there were no plans afoot to sell the paper.

    To Top


    Thursday May 4, 1989
    Management at Herald Works on Buyout Plan

    By JESUS SANCHEZ, Times Staff Writer

    The top executive at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner said Wednesday that he is working on a proposal for a management-led buyout of the paper by a group that would include employees.

    "I think it's a long shot," said John J. McCabe, the paper's chief operating executive, who began to outline the proposal on Tuesday. "We have to develop a strategic plan and ascertain if there would be equity funding available."

    McCabe said the paper's owner, New York-based Hearst Corp., last week gave him the go-ahead to put together a buyout proposal. McCabe said he approached Hearst management with his idea several weeks ago, after officials from the Toronto Sun and oil tycoon Marvin Davis had separately shown an interest in the daily paper but then decided against buying it.

    "What is implicit is that the paper is up for sale," said McCabe, who has worked at the Herald since 1983. "Hearst would not have people taking a look at the paper if it was not up for sale."

    Hearst officials were not available for comment.

    McCabe, who announced his plans to a group of the paper's editors Wednesday afternoon, said his proposal would be based on converting the 242,000-circulation daily to a tabloid format. "That would give us an opportunity to find that niche that we have not found in our marketplace," he said.

    McCabe stressed the plan is risky. "It would take several years to turn it around," he said. "The big 'if' is if there is funding out there to support such an endeavor."

    The financing search will begin after the strategic plan is done, probably by the end of May, McCabe said. Hearst has not set a deadline for submitting the plan, he said.

    Although he gave no details, McCabe said all employees of the paper, not just top managers, would be allowed to participate in the buyout.

    To Top


    Monday May 22, 1989
    FIGHTING FOR LIFE
    Potential Buyers Fear Herald Examiner May Be Too Sick to Save

    By THOMAS B. ROSENSTIEL, Times Staff Writer

    Shortly after oil and movie tycoon Marvin Davis decided not to buy the Los Angeles Herald Examiner a few weeks ago, an official from the paper approached Jose Lozano, publisher of La Opinion, the city's leading Spanish-language daily.

    The asking price for the Herald Examiner, Lozano was told, was more than $100 million. And if he bought it, Lozano said, "We would be looking at monthly losses of $1 million, plus any capital spent on improvements."

    Lozano declined. "I think," he said tersely, "it is too sick to save."

    Not everyone is so gloomy. Toronto Sun Publishing Co. of Canada was persuaded that the Herald can be profitable, though it didn't want to take on the commitment.

    But the message is clear: Eighty-six years after William Randolph Hearst founded the Examiner, and after at least a decade of losing money, Hearst Corp. has put the Herald Examiner up for sale.

    It has not, apparently, hired a broker to peddle the paper outright, and some who have looked believe the proud, privately owned Hearst company is being particular about to whom it will talk.

    But most in the newspaper industry believe the universe of potential buyers is small. And some say the key question is whether Hearst, if it cannot find a buyer, will close the paper.

    If that happened, almost everyone believes that Los Angeles would suffer--the nation's second-largest city left with only one metropolitan newspaper and an improving host of suburban papers. A certain segment of Angelenos, say experts, would stop reading newspapers altogether. Roughly 800 people would lose their jobs.

    Sense of Loyalty

    And a uniquely scrappy competitor and watchdog over official misconduct would vanish, threatening to make the remaining media less aggressive: Among the stories that the Herald has beat The Times and others on are Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's connections to Far East National Bank, one of the elements in the current revelations about Bradley's finances.

    All this seems to have evoked a surge of loyalty in the long-defiant Herald staff. "There was an initial flurry of 'Oh God, I think we should leave', " said one employee active in the paper's union, but now "there is no sense of people jumping ship en masse."

    "It's vitally important to the people of Los Angeles that we have a second metro-wide newspaper," said Herald reporter Andy Furillo, "and we're the only paper attempting to do that."

    Hearst officials would not return phone calls for this story. But according to insiders, they want to sell in part to pursue broadcasting projects here--something ownership of a newspaper in the same market makes impossible under current federal regulations.

    The actual asking price is less than half the $100 million intermediaries told Lozano, sources who have dealt directly with Hearst said.

    And many newspaper executives believe that to sell, Hearst might have to settle for no cash at all, trading the paper instead for a share of future profits.

    But Hearst has been quietly looking for alternatives to competing in Los Angeles for more than two years, some of that time apparently unbeknown even to its own local managers.

    Hearst's efforts to sell became more serious in the past 12 to 18 months, according to sources, and then became public after January, when Hearst looked for help from the Toronto Sun Publishing Co. The Sun publishes a series of racy tabloids in Canada that have defied the conventional wisdom that says second newspapers cannot make money.

    Ostensibly seeking advice about the viability of a tabloid daily paper in Los Angeles, Hearst really was open to any option, from using the Sun Co. as a consultant, to a partnership, to selling the Herald, Sun President J. Douglas Creighton said.

    Creighton said he believes that a tabloid would work in the market. But he backed away from the Herald anyway, first because he would have needed to replace the Herald's old converted letterset presses with full-color offset machines. Second, his company is launching two other papers in Canada.

    Were it otherwise, Creighton said, "if we could have struck a deal I think it could have worked."

    Soon after, Davis made his approach. And although it has never been publicized before, it wasn't his first try. Davis had agreed in 1984 to finance a third-party buyer for the Herald Examiner, but Hearst had no interest in selling.

    This time Hearst wanted to talk. But after looking it over, Davis now backed away, convinced, sources said, that the cost of running the paper would be too great.

    Next, a Herald management group, led by Chief Operating Officer John McCabe, conceded publicly that it had been given approval by Hearst to put together a buyout plan from employees. After their bid became public, those involved confided to friends that they began getting a series of phone calls from interested local parties.

    Still, no one investor has come forward yet with the finances to back a deal. "I think it's a long shot," McCabe has said.

    Hearst's theory for selling the paper is that its name, presence in the market, its 15,000 news racks and its distribution system all are worth something, according to informed sources. Hence, the first asking price is a significant sum.

    But many doubt that the company will get it.

    Little Cash Involved

    "My understanding is Hearst is willing to give it away to anyone willing to keep it open for a reasonable length of time," said one media executive active in buying newspapers, who, perhaps in an effort to talk Hearst down, derided the paper's chances.

    Arrangements to sell a paper for little or no cash are not unusual. Hearst purportedly sold Rupert Murdoch the Boston Herald for less than $1 million, plus a claim on future profits. In return, Murdoch was given the real estate and had responsibility for any closing costs.

    But finding a buyer with the financial wherewithal to keep the paper running could be difficult.

    The paper lost nearly $16 million in 1986 on revenue of $44 million, according to several sources, and losses are higher now.

    Newspaper executives doubt that any publicly owned media company would dare absorb such losses, fearing it would depress the company's stock price.

    If no qualified buyer emerges, the fact that Hearst is not shopping the paper aggressively has some thinking it may still hold on.

    While the losses are high, insiders say Hearst still can easily absorb them. The paper, too, remains a powerful symbol to the Hearst family, which is still active in the company (William Randolph Hearst III publishes the original Hearst paper, the San Francisco Examiner.)

    And the Spanish Renaissance-style Examiner Building, with its hand painted tiled entrance floor and marble and gold lobby, once housed William Randolph Hearst's private apartment.

    But others familiar with Hearst are less certain it still wants the paper: "When they decided sell Boston (Hearst sold the Boston Herald to Murdoch in 1982), that to me was a turning point in the Hearst philosophy," said one Hearst consultant. "They were no longer going to carry these on forever."

    Four years later Hearst closed the Baltimore News American after seeking a buyer unsuccessfully for just six months.

    There are other signs Hearst might be ready to give up. Glenn Schwarz, sports editor of the Hearst-owned San Francisco Examiner, was told by his management a few weeks ago that he might be able to add positions, despite a budget freeze, if he hired people from the Herald Examiner. (After Schwarz contacted two people here, Herald Editor Maxwell McCrohon wrote a letter to Schwarz' boss stopping the discussions).

    How did the Herald get to this point? The problems really date to 1962, when Hearst chose fatefully to concentrate on afternoon circulation, merging the morning Examiner with the less successful Herald-Express. The decision occurred two days after Times Mirror Co. closed its afternoon paper, the Mirror, leaving the afternoon wide open so it could concentrate on a massive expansion of the morning circulation Times.

    But Hearst's move left the Herald, like most afternoon papers, with a more blue-collar audience, because such readers traditionally tended to go to work and return home earlier in the day.

    And advertisers followed the money. By 1967, The Times enjoyed a 2-1 advantage in advertising, despite only a 120,000 lead in circulation. The Herald still had circulation of more than 720,000, but it was starting to fall.

    Then came the strike.

    Circulation Plunged

    The American Newspaper Guild struck the Herald over wages in 1967 and was eventually joined by 11 other unions. It went on for 10 years, in part, say Herald staffers from the time, because Publisher George Hearst wanted to break the contracts and reduce costs.

    When the strike formally ended in 1977, Herald circulation was just 330,000, less than half its prestrike level.

    In the years since, Hearst has thrashed around for a strategy it felt would succeed. But few second newspapers have succeeded at such a game of catch-up. And at least some in Herald management past and present feel Hearst has never had the will to fully commit resources to any single strategy.

    As the strike ended, Hearst installed Francis Dale as publisher and, as editor, James Bellows, best known as the innovative editor of New York Herald Tribune. Their strategy, essentially, was to position the paper for younger, sophisticated readers, people who considered The Times stodgy and liked the Los Angeles typified by the movie colony and the West Side.

    The strategy never fully blossomed. "They needed to put more money into it," Bellows says now. "We made an effort, but we needed more."

    And Bellows left in frustration in 1981. The next year, Herald President N. S. (Buddy) Hayden decided the Dale-Bellows strategy was ill-conceived: Why, he argued, go after the Times' strength, the West Side?

    So he set out on a split course for blue-color and upscale readers called "Class and Mass," developing prototypes for a slick Sunday format for upscale readers and a provocative blue-collar format on weekdays.

    Hearst executives accepted the recommendations but again chose to study further, and in 1984 Hayden left, later followed by Dale.

    More recently, Hearst has pondered making the paper a tabloid. More prototypes were produced. Local management decided to go ahead, but again New York hesitated.

    Throughout, the paper has continued to attract gifted staff. And it has frequently bested the competition--including on such stories as the financial and safety improprieties at RTD and the questionable campaign finances of councilman Richard Alatorre.

    But while advertising linage has remained stable for the past several years, circulation has continued to shrivel. It stands at about 238,000 weekdays, and on Sunday the Herald is No. 3 among papers in Los Angeles County behind the suburban Daily News.

    Hayden and others credit Hearst with sticking by the paper.

    But others blame Hearst for never fully financing a renovation: "They always try to save their way into prosperity," said former Executive Editor Donald Forst, who was Hearst's last editor in Boston, and is now editor of Times Mirror's New York Newsday.

    And now, some staff members are enthused by the prospect that Hearst might sell, hoping a new owner might be more generous with resources. "This is positively the most exciting period since I've been here," argued reporter Furillo, "and the sooner that the Hearst company gets out of this paper the better."

    To be fair, Hearst has problems difficult to escape. For one, only 20% of its readers get the paper delivered at home. The rest buy it at newsstands, which makes it less desirable for advertisers, who prefer to have a paper that is kept around the house and passed among family members.

    What's more, 38% of the Herald's readers, and many of its most affluent, also get another paper. Hence, many advertisers have decided they are reaching that audience already.

    And if the Herald were to die, some of the rest of the Herald audience is almost certain to stop reading newspapers altogether. These are readers who are either fiercely loyal to the Herald, or are marginal readers who find The Times too demanding, said John Morton, a newspaper analyst with the brokerage firm of Lynch, Jones & Ryan.

    "It has happened in every market where a paper has died," Morton said. "When it goes, some sizable number of the reading public goes with them."What also would go is a style of newspapering already too scarce. The Herald echoes a day when working for papers was a freer, less structured game, played by editors and reporters willing to take risks.

    Says sports columnist Doug Krikorian: "I'm not sure if I would continue in the newspaper business if it weren't here."

    To Top


    Saturday July 29, 1989
    Herald Examiner Goes on the Block--Officially

    The Los Angeles Herald Examiner was officially put up for sale on Friday. The newspaper's parent, Hearst Corp., said it has hired New York investment banker Lazard Freres & Co. to approach potential buyers.

    Hearst has been privately pursuing a sale for months. Millionaire Marvin Davis and the Toronto Sun Publishing Co. of Canada have already considered and rejected a purchase of the paper. Herald Examiner management also is considering an employee buyout plan.

    Robert Danzig, vice president and general manager of Hearst Newspapers, said the Herald Examiner does not fit with the company's "strategic direction."

    The Herald Examiner, founded 86 years ago by William Randolph Hearst, has been losing money for at least a decade. There has been speculation in the newspaper industry that the Herald Examiner might be closed if a buyer isn't found.

    To Top


    Wednesday November 1, 1989
    Herald Examiner to Shut Down
    Media: Thursday's edition will be the last for the publication founded in 1903 by William Randolph Hearst.

    From Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Herald Examiner, once the nation's largest afternoon newspaper but recently just a scrappy shell of its former self, announced today it will cease publication Thursday.

    Robert Danzig, vice president and general manager of Herald Newspapers, made the announcement at an emotional meeting in the newsroom this afternoon.

    The Herald Examiner, founded by William Randolph Hearst in 1903 as the Los Angeles Examiner, was put up for sale by the Hearst Corp. earlier this summer.

    Hearst cited "intense pressure" from The Los Angeles Times, the city's dominant daily with five times the Herald's daily circulation.

    The Herald, which in recent years had switched to morning publication, also had to wrestle with increasingly successful suburban papers like the Orange County Register, based in Santa Ana, and the Los Angeles Daily News, based in the San Fernando Valley.

    Herald reporter Laura Bleiberg was covering the Beverly Hills teachers strike vote today when she got the news. She broke out in tears.

    "I'm shocked. It's definitely the best place I've worked. I've worked at lots of other places that have folded. When everyone was running around the office (at the Herald), freaking out, I kept telling them to calm down."

    Bleiberg, who joined the newspaper about a year ago, also said she had just started looking for another job, but wasn't sure what she would do since she had not expected the end to come before the end of the year.

    In its dying days, the Herald covered local politics aggressively, breaking a number of stories on embattled Mayor Tom Bradley.

    While the Herald provided little staff-produced coverage of Washington or international affairs, the paper's entertainment coverage, sports columnists and local reporting was highly regarded.

    The Times has a daily circulation of 1,118,649 while the Herald, which had a circulation of 729,000 in 1967, slumped to 238,392 daily, according to figures compiled by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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    Thursday November 2, 1989
    Herald Examiner Will Halt Publishing Today
    Newspapers: 118 years of publication in Los Angeles ends with demise of Hearst daily. Heavy financial losses forced the decision.

    By JUDY PASTERNAK and THOMAS B. ROSENSTIEL, TIMES STAFF WRITERS

    The Los Angeles Herald Examiner, strapped with declining circulation and shrinking revenues, announced Wednesday that it will cease publication as of today, closing out a 118-year history that provided Los Angeles with some of its richest journalistic lore.

    Robert J. Danzig, Hearst vice president and general manager of the company's newspapers, stood on a desk Wednesday in the Herald's newsroom and broke the news in a brief statement to the assembled staff.

    "It is with great regret that we have made this decision," Danzig said. "It has been a losing business but a winning newspaper."

    He said afterward that the decision to close the paper had been made at noon. It came after a much-publicized yearlong search for a buyer by the New York-based Hearst Corp. The Herald was expected to lose $18.7 million this year, but is now losing as much as $2 million a month, according to sources familiar with the paper's books.

    The Herald's circulation as of Sept. 30 was 232,437, down from 721,026 after the merger of the morning Examiner and the afternoon Herald-Express created the Herald Examiner in 1962.

    The closing leaves Los Angeles only one downtown-based general interest daily newspaper.

    Los Angeles Times executives said they might pick up at most 50,000 Herald readers, and other local papers stand to gain some circulation. Nearly 90,000 of the Herald's readers already buy another newspaper.

    Staff members were stunned by Danzig's announcement, even though for months many of them, alert to the dire possibilities, had been searching for work elsewhere. Many cried and embraced. Others simply walked around talking to each other, trying to take in the enormity of what they had just heard.

    Their reaction spoke to the esprit de corps that permeated the news staff in the end.

    "Obviously, everybody saw it coming," said Herald Deputy City Editor Lennie LaGuire. "Most of us had come to terms with the fact that it was going to close sometime soon. But I was kind of hoping it would last past the first of the year, that we could keep going with some of the stories we were working on."

    She added, tearfully: "I just can't believe it feels like this, to close like an insurance office. It really feels like a death in the family."

    "It's like everybody got punched in the stomach," said reporter Ellis Conklin. "Everybody's having a hard time breathing.

    "Reporter Alina Tugend was intently taking notes during a speech by former President Jimmy Carter at the Biltmore when a consultant coordinating public relations for the event pulled her aside. He had to tell her the Herald's plug had been pulled.

    "Alina just said, 'OK, thanks,' and left abruptly, very upset," said the consultant, David H. Novak.

    About 2 p.m., an hour after the announcement, an assistant sports editor telephoned hockey writer Rick Sadowski at a hotel in Boston, where he was on assignment to cover a game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Boston Bruins.

    Sadowski, a 10-year Herald veteran, had planned to fly to Hartford on Saturday and Buffalo on Sunday with the Kings. "But I just called the airport and made arrangements to come home," he said. "There's no reason to cover those games now."

    Like many employees, Sadowski worried about the financial fallout.

    "We just bought a house in September," he said.Many Herald employees had clung to the belief that a financial angel would come to the rescue. Tycoons like Marvin Davis, Kirk Kerkorian and Malcolm Forbes were rumored as possible buyers--"everybody but Donald Trump," one advertising man said. Others speculated that Japanese investors would take over.

    'We Did Our Job'

    Jeryl Parade, an assistant manager in classified advertising, was one of several Herald workers upset with Hearst corporate management. Market studies, Parade said, showed that the Herald provided a special advertising niche, especially in automotive and job recruitment ads. "Tomorrow we'll have our Auto '90 Preview--our biggest preview of cars ever. And our classifieds have grown," Parade said. "We did our job here."

    As required by a new federal law governing plant shutdowns, employees will be paid and will receive benefits for the next 60 days. An outplacement agency has been retained to help employees find new jobs.

    The paper is the descendant of Hearst's Examiner, founded 86 years ago, the morning Herald, started 112 years ago, and the Los Angeles Express, which began publishing 118 years ago.

    In its heyday, the Examiner scored scoops on everything from the "Black Dahlia" murder case to the explosion of the first H-bomb. The afternoon Herald Express under Hearst was the largest afternoon paper west of Chicago. The Herald Express also had the first woman city editor in Agness (Aggie) Underwood in 1937.

    Herbert H. Krauch started at the Herald as an office boy in 1912. The first week he was there, City Editor Jack Campbell got into an argument over a story with reporter Peter Dunn.

    "Jack Campbell floored Peter Dunn with one punch," Krauch, now 93, recalled Wednesday.

    Krauch had been studying civil engineering, but "after I saw the fistfight, I thought newspaper work was so exciting, I decided to become a newspaper man."

    He rose through the ranks, serving as editor of the paper from 1952 to 1962. He was in charge of combining the Herald-Express and the Examiner.

    "I had to let go about 265 editorial people from the Examiner, a lot of them friends of mine," he said.

    At the same time, he noticed a big safe in the Examiner office. He asked what was in it and was told, "Nothing now, but we used to keep $25,000 in the safe, because Mr. Hearst would call at 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning asking for 100 or 200 bucks.

    "Expressions of regret about the closing came from politicians and community leaders, and they shared a common theme: Any reduction in newspaper competition is a loss for readers.

    "Los Angeles will be poorer for it," said City Council President John Ferraro. "The Herald Examiner has been a strong voice in our city and its reporting of events will certainly be missed."

    "It's one more blow against freedom of the press," said County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn. "We need as many newspapers as possible to tell the public about government at the local level."

    "The closing of the Herald Examiner limits the choices for Los Angeles readers," said Mayor Tom Bradley in a statement issued by his press secretary.

    Referring to The Times and the San Fernando Valley-based Daily News, he added, "I sincerely hope the two remaining daily newspapers focus attention on covering the entire city, bringing attention to unheard stories that impact many of the 3.4 million people who make the City of Los Angeles home."

    "I think the Herald did a better job in dealing with local issues and minority communities," said Linda Wong, executive director of California Tomorrow, an immigrants' advocacy group.

    The Herald has received acclaim in the past year for its investigations into the Bradley Administration.

    "Anyone who works in a competitive city knows that competition keeps staff on their toes and much more concerned (about) missing stories," said Ben H. Bagdikian, a professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. "Competition . . . has always meant an improvement in the quality of reporting."

    Times Publisher David Laventhol stated: "The absence of the Herald is going to place an even greater responsibility on The Times to be fair, accurate and complete in its reporting and to provide a forum for multiple voices on important issues."

    Added Times Editor Shelby Coffey III: "It's a sad day for journalism and a sad day for Southern California. The Herald Examiner has been a lively competitor and it will be a melancholy absence."

    The Times is considering picking up some of the Herald's syndicated features and is reviewing applications from many Herald employees. The Times also will acquire more than 10,000 of the Herald's newspaper stands and racks, and its subscription list.

    Among prospective buyers who looked at the paper, it was learned, were the Toronto Sun Publishing Co. of Canada, movie and oil tycoon Marvin Davis, British tabloid publisher Robert Maxwell, and a group that included City News Service owner Tom Quinn.

    Changes in 1962

    In the end, Hearst was not demanding a heavy price, only someone with the money and commitment to make a serious attempt at turning the publication around.

    The paper's problems dated to 1962, when Hearst chose to concentrate on afternoon circulation, merging the morning Examiner with the less successful Herald-Express. The announcement closely followed the closure by Times Mirror Co. of its afternoon paper, The Mirror.

    That left The Times with no morning competition, and the Herald was forced to pursue a blue-collar audience that tended to go to work and return home earlier in the day.

    Advertisers followed the money. By 1967, The Times enjoyed a 2-1 advantage in advertising, despite only a 120,000 lead in circulation. The Herald's readership started to fall.

    That year the American Newspaper Guild struck the Herald over wages and was eventually joined by 11 other unions. By the time the strike ended 10 years later, the Herald's circulation was just 330,000.

    Since then, Hearst has thrashed around for a comeback strategy, trying to position the paper for more sophisticated readers, pondering a conversion to a tabloid. It also converted back to a morning publication.

    As circulation declined, rumors of the paper's demise or sale swirled around the city from time to time. But the Herald was a powerful symbol to the Hearst family, which is still active in the company. The building at 11th and Broadway, with its hand-painted tiled entrance floor and gold and black onyx lobby, once included press lord William Randolph Hearst's private apartment.

    Brokers for Grubb & Ellis Commercial Real Estate Services said chances are good that the ornate Herald building will be sold to someone who will keep the existing structure. "A major printer could use that, maybe a group that prints law books," said broker Ray Lepone.

    Times staff writers Darrell Dawsey, Maura Dolan, Scott Harris, Shawn Hubler, John Kendall, Jesus Sanchez and Hector Tobar contributed to this story.

    To Top


    Thursday November 2, 1989
    SOUTHLAND
    Herald Examiner Sales Boom

    From Times wire services

    The last edition of the once powerful Los Angeles Herald Examiner hit the streets of Los Angeles and Orange counties today, but only briefly, as souvenir seekers cleaned out most news racks shortly after dawn.

    Entrepreneurs were reported to be getting as much as $20 a copy for the papers with the bold "SO LONG, L.A.!" headline.

    "Some kid on fraternity row flagged down the Herald truck when it got here this morning and bought six bundles (of 50 papers each)," said Gary Pine at the sports information office at USC.

    "The last we heard, he'd sold three bundles--at $20 a copy.

    "Bob Martin, circulation manager for the paper, said nearly 380,000 papers had been sold by noon. Martin, who said the boom marked the fourth-best sales day in the paper's history, said the paper would print an extra 10,000 newspapers.

    To Top


    Thursday November 2, 1989
    Piled Up Over Two Decades, Losses Became Insurmountable

    By THOMAS B. ROSENSTIEL, TIMES STAFF WRITER

    Once it was the newspaper for the city's working class, a key piece of Hearst's sensational empire.

    In the end, however, Hearst Corp. was willing to give the Los Angeles Herald Examiner away, as long as a buyer had the financial backing and commitment to seriously attempt a turnaround.

    At least one group made an offer in recent weeks, although it wanted Hearst to continue to share in the losses.

    But 86 years after William Randolph Hearst founded what was then called the Examiner and after losing more than $85 million since 1984 alone, Hearst Corp. wanted out. And no qualified buyers wanted it on those terms.

    The announcement Wednesday that Hearst was giving up the search says something about how newspapers became a white-collar medium after World War II. It says something too about the troubles of the Hearst Corp.

    When it began in 1903, Hearst had already inherited the Examiner in San Francisco and had started the Journal in New York.

    He was a champion of the progressive era and of sensationalist "yellow journalism," and had started building an empire that would extend to movies, magazines, newsreels, the International News Service and more. He was still attempting a political career that would end in two failed runs at the presidency.

    And Hearst's arrival marked Los Angeles as an emerging city.

    In 1913, he commissioned Julia Morgan of San Francisco to design a Spanish Renaissance headquarters at Broadway and 11th Street, with a hand-painted tiled lobby of gold and marble and a private apartment for Hearst upstairs.

    In 1922, Hearst bought the afternoon Herald (founded in 1876), and in 1931, he bought the the Express (founded in 1871).

    Two companies now dominated the city: Hearst with its morning Examiner and evening Herald-Express and Times Mirror with its morning Times and evening Mirror.

    These were wild days, and no one epitomized Hearst's papers better than reporter and later Herald-Express city editor Agness Underwood.

    Aggie's speciality was crime news, Hearst style.

    "Sensational New Clues in Hunt for Fiend" headlined one of her stories, typical of the day.

    And her first paragraph, about three children strangled in Inglewood, said it all: "What little Jeanette Marjorie Stephens loved in life--a ruffled blue organdy dress--will be her shroud in death."

    After she became city editor in 1947, Underwood kept a baseball bat on her desk to use on obstreperous press agents, she would recall later.

    And reporters swore she kept a gun with blanks inside her desk drawer, which she allegedly would fire at the ceiling if the place got too quiet.

    After the war, and after William Randolph Hearst's death in 1951, Hearst newspapers had the same problem in Los Angeles as they did in other cities.

    Hearst readers were generally blue collar and "that is the traditional audience that television took away in droves," said John Morton, a Washington newspaper analyst.

    Hearst's heirs, who are now running the company, also failed to re-orient their papers toward an America that was becoming more suburban.

    When Otis Chandler took over as publisher of The Times in 1960 and set about improving the paper, The Times already led in morning circulation over the Examiner by 150,000. Hearst's Herald-Express had a narrower lead in the afternoon.

    Then in 1962, in a move some would later call collusion, Times Mirror closed the afternoon Mirror. Hearst, in turn, merged the Herald-Express and the Examiner and abandoned the morning field to The Times.

    The choice would prove fateful. Afternoon papers were difficult to deliver on time in the suburbs, Morton said, and only blue-collar readers tended to want a paper delivered at that time of day.

    By 1967, the rival Times enjoyed a 2-1 lead in advertising, despite only a 120,000 advantage in circulation. The Herald Examiner still had 720,000 in circulation, but it was stagnant and advertisers were fleeing.

    Then came the strike.

    The American Newspaper Guild struck the Herald over wages in 1967. Eleven other unions eventually joined.

    Labor, the heart of Herald readership, started to switch to The Times.

    The strike lasted 10 years, in part, say Herald staffers from the era, because Publisher George Hearst wanted to break the unions.

    When the strike ended in 1977, Herald circulation was cut in half to 330,000.

    In the years since, Hearst changed from a company run by William Randolph's heirs to professional managers, and the company hunted for a plan to save the Herald Examiner.

    It installed Francis Dale as publisher and in 1978, named James Bellows as editor. Bellows was best known as the innovative editor of the New York Herald Tribune, where he worked with such writers as Jimmy Breslin and Tom Wolfe.

    Their strategy, essentially, was to position the paper for younger, sophisticated readers who might see The Times as stodgy--a newspaper designed for the Westside and the movie colony.

    It never took hold.

    "Hearst was putting a lot (of money) forward," Bellows recalled Wednesday. "It just needed more." Bellows left in 1981, replaced by Mary Anne Dolan, one of the first women to edit a newspaper in a major city.

    Others, such as Herald Examiner President N.S. (Buddy) Hayden, wondered why the newspaper was tackling the Westside, where the Times was strongest. He set out on a split course called "Class and Mass," a mix of upscale readers on Sunday and blue-collar readers during the week. Slick prototypes of a new Sunday paper were developed.

    But Hearst management chose to study further. In 1984, Hayden left and later was followed by Dale.

    By then, the paper was losing nearly $14 million a year on revenues of $44 million, according to the sale prospectus prepared by the investment firm of Lazard Frere & Co.

    More recently, the paper had considered going tabloid and more prototypes were produced. But again Hearst management in New York hesitated.

    One of those who negotiated with Hearst in recent months to buy the Herald Examiner and who saw the market research for the tabloids called it "incredibly poor."

    In the meantime, losses inched upward to more than $18 million last year.

    Still, the paper continued to attract gifted reporters and remain a scrappy competitor, particularly at covering City Hall. Among the stories on which it has bettered the competition are financial and safety improprieties at the Southern California Rapid Transit District, the questionable campaign finances of City Councilman Richard Alatorre and Mayor Tom Bradley's connections to Far East National Bank, one of the elements in the revelations about Bradley's finances.

    As recently as two years ago, Hearst officials told interested suitors they did not want to sell, despite the losses, now nearly two decades old.

    Privately, though, Hearst did make inquiries about two years ago about the possibility of a joint operating agreement with The Times, in which The Times effectively would subsidize the continuation of the Herald. Those discussions went nowhere.

    In the last 12 to 18 months, the management at Hearst, its commitment exhausted, began looking for a buyer. Among those who looked but did not buy--as recently as a few weeks ago--were the Toronto Sun Publishing Co. of Canada, movie and oil tycoon Marvin Davis, British tabloid publisher Robert Maxwell and a group involving Tom Quinn, owner of City News Service, a local news wire service. An attempt by a management group to mount a leveraged buyout also failed.

    Several suitors interviewed by The Times said the cost of turning the paper around could be enormous, perhaps as much as $100 million, and take years.

    The suitors said that toward the end, Hearst was willing to sell the paper for virtually nothing if the buyer had the financial resources and commitment to attempt a serious turnaround.

    "The issue is not the purchase price or the real estate or the paper," said Barbara Lindemann Schlei, a local attorney who represented one consortium of suitors who looked at the paper. "The issue is ensuring there is a plan to turn it around and the money to do it. . . . That offer is not on the table."

    Wednesday, after 86 years and more than two decades of losses, Hearst gave up waiting.

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    Thursday November 2, 1989
    EDITORIAL
    End of the Herald Examiner

    Since the turn of the century the Herald Examiner and its predecessors have been part of the life of Los Angeles. It has been both an actor in the events of this region and a mirror of them, holding up to its reading public a reflection of the news and the issues of the day as it saw them.

    When it was founded in 1903 by the most flamboyant of the American press lords, William Randolph Hearst, the Los Angeles Examiner joined his New York Journal and San Francisco Examiner as the third star in a constellation of journalistic enterprises that for decades exerted a powerful pull on America's popular culture. Like a good beer, the journalism they served up was brewed for working-class tastes, a frothy but filling blend of Progressive-era reforms and the entertaining sensationalism of yellow journalism.

    Perhaps the best individual example of that Hearst style was Aggie Underwood, the late Herald city editor who, as a crime reporter, once unblushingly began a story on the murder of three children with this sentence: "What little Jeanette Marjorie Stephens loved in life--a ruffled blue organdie dress--will be her shroud in death."

    Today, the public's appetite for such reportage probably is satisfied by lesser television talk shows. The paper lost and never regained the influence or the readers it had under its founder and his immediate successors. In recent years its readers and its income dwindled. Offered for sale, it found no buyers, and so its owners have closed its doors.

    It is not merely the sharp whiff of mortality gusting up Broadway that brings an empathic shudder to us at The Times. The Herald Examiner's serious role as an aggressive commentator on issues of local importance will not be easily filled. Its absence will place an even greater responsibility on The Times to be fair, accurate and complete in its reporting and to be attentive to the views and concerns of all segments of this increasingly diverse community.

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    Thursday November 2, 1989
    'They Really Did It,' Staff Members Cry as the News Sinks In

    By CHARISSE JONES, TIMES STAFF WRITER

    At 1 p.m. Wednesday, Robert J. Danzig, vice president of Hearst Corp., walked into the Herald Examiner city room. Dressed in a dark suit, he climbed atop a copy editor's desk. He stood silent for a moment, a piece of paper in his hand.

    A nervous buzz that had prevailed in the newsroom stopped. Reporters, photographers and editors gathered around the desk and waited to hear what Danzig, a stranger from New York, had come to tell them. Their collective experience told them the news would not be good.

    They had been summoned from various corners of the Herald Examiner building at 11th and Broadway, from a bar across the street. One reporter had been drawn out of a Jimmy Carter press conference downtown.

    'I Knew'

    "I walked into the newsroom and I saw all the people gathered around," said Assistant City Editor Bill Johnson, who had hustled to the newsroom from the Hill Street Grill. "And I knew the paper was dead."

    Danzig began to read from the paper in his hand. His voice seemed sad, subdued. He stuck to the text.

    "The Los Angeles Herald Examiner will cease publication on Nov. 2," he read. "It is with great regret that we have made this decision to close the Herald Examiner.

    "Employees, who had long known this day would come, nonetheless were overcome with emotion. Some cried. Some workers just stared, while others grabbed each other tight--like they were afraid to let go, of the newspaper and of each other. There was no gallows humor.

    Danzig read on.

    "We were unable to find a purchaser that could provide the financial capacity to sustain the business."

    Danzig spoke of the corporation's sadness at the decision, of how proud the executives in New York all were of the Herald and its staff. An employee cut to the essentials.

    "Do we come to work tomorrow?" she asked.

    Danzig said he didn't know for sure.

    After five minutes, the executive stepped down. Reporters ran to the phones calling up relatives, and they all seemed to utter the same thing into the receiver.

    "They did it," they said. "They really did it." A typist started circulating a list, filled with the phone numbers and names of those who had worked for the paper and wanted to keep in touch. One sheet was almost covered by 1:30 p.m.

    There were more tears after Danzig departed.

    "How," reporter Susan Seager asked, "am I going to feed my baby?"

    Through the afternoon, the sort of cynical humor typical of newspaper people began to creep into conversations.

    It wasn't so bad, said Andy Furillo, a reporter of eight years who followed his father's footsteps to the Herald, where he met his bride.

    "I got a wife out of the deal. How do you beat that?" he said, smiling.

    Old stories of better days circulated, as they often do at wakes. Beer bottles began to pop up beside computer terminals.

    The staff bulletin board began to fill with job notices from places as far away as White Plains, N.Y., and as near as Orange County.

    As deadline approached, Assistant City Editor Kerry Webster wandered among the reporters who were preparing stories that told of their paper's demise.

    "OK everybody," said Webster. "Write like there's no tomorrow."

    There wasn't.

    To Top


    Thursday November 2, 1989
    118 YEARS OF PUBLISHING

    Compiled by Cecilia Rasmussen, Times Researcher

    William Randolph Hearst founded the Los Angeles Examiner in 1903, in order to assist his campaign for the presidential nomination on the Democratic ticket and to complement his San Francisco Examiner.

    Over the years a series of changes involving two other Los Angeles dailies--including two mergers--took place, culminating with the creation of the Hearst chain's Los Angeles Herald Examiner in January, 1962.

    On December 15, 1967, Herald Examiner employees began a strike that lasted almost a decade and resulted in at least $15 million in losses. At the time of the labor strife, the paper's irculation was about 721,000 daily and it had 2,000 employees. The strike ended in March, 1977, with circulation having dropped to about 330,000 and the number of employees to 700.

    The paper--though continuing to publish --never really recovered. On Wednesday it was announced that publication would cease today.

    HOW THE HERALD EXAMINER EVOLVED
    Los Angeles Express: Mar. 27, 1871 - May 2, 1916
    Evening Express: May 3, 1916 - Feb. 28,1919
    Los Angeles Evening Express: Mar. 1919 - Dec. 9, 1931 (Hearst buys, 1931)
    Los Angeles Daily Herald: Oct. 2, 1873 - Mar. 22, 1890
    Los Angeles Herald: Mar. 23, 1890 - Nov. 1, 1911 (Hearst buys, 1922)
    Los Angeles Evening Herald: Nov. 2, 1911 - Dec. 9, 1931
    Los Angeles Evening Herald & Express: Dec. 10, 1931 - Jan. 7, 1962 (Hearst starts)
    Los Angeles Examiner: Dec. 12, 1903 - Jan. 7, 1962
    Los Angeles Herald Examiner: Jan. 8, 1962 - Nov. 2, 1989

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    Thursday November 2, 1989
    Hearst Corp. Has Gained Vigor by Changing Focus
    Media: In the past decade, the firm has shed many of its money-losing papers and become a modern media conglomerate.

    By PAUL RICHTER, TIMES STAFF WRITER

    NEW YORK -- It wasn't so long ago that Hearst Corp. was seen as the stodgy old man of the media world.

    The company that William Randolph Hearst founded in 1887 was burdened with troubled newspapers in central cities and run by a management whose highest goal, many outsiders felt, was to cling desperately to the faded glory of its past.

    In this decade, the New York-based company has moved with a new vigor. And ironically, the closing of the Herald Examiner--the sad step that Hearst so long resisted--marks a major milestone in Hearst's transformation to a modern media conglomerate.

    The privately held company that shut down or sold newspapers in New York, Boston, Baltimore and other cities has now apparently disposed of its last money-losing paper. What remains is a $2-billion-a-year conglomerate with 13 money-making newspapers, including the San Francisco Examiner, Houston Chronicle and Seattle Post-Intelligencer; a widely admired collection of 14 consumer magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and Esquire; a chain of six television stations and seven radio stations; book publishers; cable programming ventures, and other media holdings.

    "Hearst had a great reluctance--a noble reluctance--to take this step," said John Morton, newspaper analyst who heads a firm of the same name in Washington. "But for all that, they'll come out of it looking pretty healthy."

    From the 1950s until nearly the '80s, Hearst was run by Chief Executives Richard E. Berlin and John R. Miller, who were financially conservative and strongly influenced by Hearst's heirs. They saw their task as hanging onto the nationwide chain of Hearst papers that in the 1930s claimed 15% of all U.S. newspaper circulation.

    The Hearst empire included many evening metropolitan newspapers that suffered as the wealthier readership left the central cities for the suburbs in the postwar decades. In the early '60s, the chain was in frail health, an experience that may have persuaded Berlin to avoid the risks of diversification.

    Hearst's style began to change with the ascent of a new chief executive, Frank E. Bennack Jr., in 1979. Bennack, a Texan who ran the San Antonio Light before taking Hearst's top job, apparently had a new measure of independence from the Hearst family.

    In Bennack's tenure, Hearst has spent what analysts have estimated at nearly $2 billion to acquire new businesses, including magazines, television and radio stations, and book publishers.

    Today, while about 15 Hearsts are employees or directors of the corporation, only one, Publisher William Randolph Hearst III of the Examiner, runs an operating unit. Since the mid-1970s, the company has been owned by a trust, which is overseen by a 13-member board that includes five Hearsts.

    The family's fortune has been estimated at nearly $4 billion.

    Advertising Age magazine, the only source of estimates on Hearst Corp.'s revenue, reckoned last summer that the company was the ninth-largest U.S. media company, with nearly $2 billion in 1988 revenue. Of that, $689 million was from newspapers, with $919 million from magazines, $263 million from broadcast properties, $15 million from cable TV and $100 million from other sources.

    Under Bennack, the company has dealt with two other money-losing papers by selling the Boston Herald American to media lord Rupert Murdoch in 1982 and by closing down the Baltimore News-American in 1986. Hearst turned the Seattle Post-Intelligencer into a money-maker by entering a government-blessed joint operating agreement with the Seattle Times that allows a merging of the competitors' business and production departments.

    (In 1965, during the Richard Berlin era, Hearst guaranteed that the San Francisco Examiner would remain profitable by entering a joint operating agreement with the San Francisco Chronicle.)

    While Hearst officials have insisted on keeping their financial results secret, they have disclosed that even before the Herald Examiner's shutdown, newspaper operations accounted for less than one-third of the company's revenue.

    That isn't to suggest that they necessarily plan to pare newspaper operations further. In March, 1987, to the surprise of some, Hearst purchased the Houston Chronicle in recession-weary Texas for $375 million and thus took on a battle with the Houston Post. The Chronicle has gained slightly in circulation over the past four years, rising to a current daily circulation of about 428,000. The newspaper is now profitable, analyst Morton believes.

    All may not be so rosy in San Francisco. There are rumblings that the heirs of the family controlling the Chronicle may want to pull out of its joint operating agreement with the Examiner that is currently slated to run until at least 2005.

    The Examiner also continues to lose readership. The paper's daily circulation was averaged about 135,400 papers for the first six months of the year, down from 142,000 in 1985 and from 300,000 when the joint agreement was signed in 1965. The Chronicle's daily circulation averaged about 556,000 for the first six months of 1989.

    Hearst's magazine group continues to hold the respect of competitors. The group has demonstrated an ability to spin off new publications that extend the value of its magazine franchises. Two years ago, the group came out with Victoria magazine, a woman's magazine aimed at the socially conservative audience that reads Good Housekeeping.

    "They have a very strong lineup and know how to keep extending it," said Nancy Smith, director of media services at the Young & Rubicam ad agency in New York.

    Also in 1987, Hearst bought Esquire, the much-traveled men's fashion and literature magazine, and breathed new life into it.

    Among the group's best-known executives are Helen Gurley Brown, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, and John Mack Carter, who is editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping and oversees Hearst's magazine development efforts.

    TOTAL 1988 MEDIA REVENUE: $1.99 billion
    In Millions:
    Magazine: $919
    Newspaper: $689
    Broadcast: $263>br> Other: $100
    Cable: $15
    Source: Advertising Age


    To Top


    Thursday November 2, 1989
    Herald Leaves a Rollicking Legacy
    Journalism: Romping, stomping tales of brash paper are recalled as staff members prepare to say "30."

    For the Record: A Times story Thursday on the legacy of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner incorrectly reported that a Herald editor sang the lyrics from the 1977 tune "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue?" to Louella Parsons after the Hollywood columnist once mixed up the eye color of an actress. The lyrics actually came from the 1925 song "Brown Eyes--Why Are You Blue?"

    By JOHN BALZAR, TIMES STAFF WRITER

    They record all variety of events unfolding in every sort of place, but inevitably newspapers leave behind their own stories too.

    Beneath the smudges of ink and through the yellowing pages, newspapers make their own history.

    And when a newspaper passes, journalists grieve. The community--their community--is unalterably changed. And in their minds, reduced. Something romantic is lost. The civic pulse grows weaker. And reporters are tempted to hoist a stein of beer, or a shot of whiskey, or today, perhaps, a Perrier and lime. They grow melancholy and lapse into folklore.

    With the Los Angeles Herald Examiner there were many good memories--funny, sad, old-fashioned, whatever--making the rounds Wednesday on the eve of its demise.

    There were the romping, stomping tales from the men who worked for one of America's most colorful and remarkable women journalists, the late Agness (Aggie) Underwood. There were stories of topless bathing suits, mystery murders, a bucket of money delivered each day out the window for the bookie, an agonizing strike, of underdog journalism.

    There was the sharp and indelible memory of a city room so authentic in its feel that Jack Webb created a carbon copy for the set of his hard-bitten 1959 movie, called "30." In the newsroom, "30" is typed at the bottom of a story to signify the end.

    "Those were the happiest days of my life. They were rollicking, freebooting days right out of the play 'The Front Page.' Those were the last days of their kind, absolutely the last of that kind anywhere," said Frank Elmquist, 62, a star rewrite man for the Herald from 1957 to 1965.

    The veterans of the Herald Express, which was combined under a single masthead in 1962 with the Examiner, recall foremost the era of a remarkable newsroom editor.

    "The main story of this is Aggie Underwood," said Jack Smith, a Times columnist who worked for the Herald Express from 1949 to 1952. "She was a tough, Irish woman, sentimental. . . . She was a roughneck and loud. But she took pride in being a lady.

    "She had a fantastic memory. Mickey Cohen was the big gangster of the day. She knew his home phone number. She knew the district attorney's phone number. She knew every bar in town."

    Underwood was first among American women to be named the city editor of a major daily.

    It's a tossup which is more remarkable--her entry into the business or her ultimate command of it.

    She was the mother of two and wanted extra money for stockings, as the story is told. So Aggie became a telephone operator at a newspaper. She ended up working on a story one time when no one else was around to do the work.

    From there she went on to become a celebrated crime reporter on one paper and then moved to become the crime-oriented editor of the Herald. Crime, after all, was what sold newspapers, along with sex and skulduggery."

    I remember once when she was covering the murder of a waitress," Smith said. "She dropped a carnation on the body so she could call it the 'Carnation Murder' and then had her photographer take the picture. A policeman moved in and questioned her, and she said, 'Don't you dare tell me how to make a picture!'

    "Naming a crime still is important in journalism. And the Herald Examiner was involved in the naming a couple of doozies.

    The Black Dahlia murder, the still unsolved 1947 slaying of a beautiful young woman named Elizabeth Short, got its name from a soda jerk who knew the victim. That is the recollection of Smith, who wrote the original story for a competing newspaper in what was then a multipaper market. The soda jerk said Short got the nickname because she wore her black hair in a bouffant, resembling a dahlia.

    But in legend, the Herald and its writer Bevo Means get credit. They attributed the Black Dahlia to either the victim's black clothing or her lacy black underwear, depending on who is telling the story to what audience today.

    More recently, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Times reported the savage crime spree of the "Valley Intruder." Herald Examiner editors sat in a round table until they found a more lasting name: "The Night Stalker."

    Norman (Jake) Jacoby started as a police beat reporter in 1935 and still covers it from the LAPD's Parker Center. From 1952 to the infamous strike of December, 1967, he worked for the Herald.

    "It was a great newspaper, and it was able to focus on the interesting aspects of stories," Jacoby remembered.

    The style of the day was to send out two or three reporters to a story and then have a rewrite man or woman put their accounts together in one breathless dispatch. Sometimes, though, the journalists of the era tried individual initiative.

    Elmquist recalled the year 1964, when fashion designer Rudi Gernreich "invented" the topless bathing suit.

    "I knew sooner or later some gal would try to wear one," Elmquist said. "So I said, 'What happens if we make it happen?' So I got a stripper and got her in a topless bathing suit and took her down to Santa Monica beach and tried to get her arrested."

    The cops, though, wouldn't touch it and, in the end, neither would the Herald.

    If these were care-free, romantic days of modern journalism, they also were one-dimensional.

    Minorities were virtually uncovered.

    "In the black community, we didn't go down there when they got born, when they got wed or when they got killed," Elmquist acknowledged. "I don't think we were really hypocrites; we were innocents."

    The journalistic triumphs of the time may seem slightly out of place today.

    Times police reporter Nieson Himmel worked on the Herald from 1945 to 1967. His strongest memory? The Herald breaking the story of the explicit love letters Lana Turner wrote to Johnny Stompanato, who had been stabbed to death by Turner's daughter on Good Friday, 1958.

    Himmel also recalled the Herald's willingness to have fun, like the time they opened a new men's room and celebrated with a party featuring two strippers and a baby elephant and a whole lot of other things he can no longer remember.

    Robert Epstein, executive arts editor of The Times, worked at the Herald for more than 20 years. Those were the days when show business columnist Louella Parsons wielded power beyond the wildest dreams of today's journalists. Nobody was allowed to change a word of her copy. Never.

    So when she described an actress as having blue eyes and the picture came in with brown, a trembling editor had to call. He sang a few bars of "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue?" and then added, "Louella, this is the problem we have with your column." She relented to the change.

    The strike, of course, changed the paper, its standing, the people who continued to work there and just about everything else. But not its fun-loving spirit. Creative editors like Jim Bellows and Mary Anne Dolan arrived and experimented with format and left unable to revive the underdog. Through it all, though, the style of the staff remained unchanged.

    "It was an exciting place to work. There was such a small staff to cover such a large city that most reporters covered a little bit of everything. While the paper could get a little soft during the slow times, it always rose to the occasion for the big story," said Times Orange County reporter Chris Woodyard, a 1983-87 veteran of the Herald.

    Linda Breakstone joined the Herald in October, 1978. On Wednesday, amid the broken hearts, she worked on tomorrow's story--her last at the paper.

    "When people asked you why you worked at the Herald Examiner instead of The Times, I always answered it was the energy . . . the small victories, sometimes it was just getting the story," she said.

    The bittersweet memories of Wednesday were mixed with uncertainty for many.

    Sports columnist Mel Durslag started with the Herald in 1940. He is senior man there. He is one of the few with a memory of William Randolph Hearst. The two stood shoulder to shoulder in the men's room way back when and didn't say a word to each other.

    With the final announcement of "30" Wednesday, Durslag was disconsolate. The years of rumors had not prepared him for the reality. Yes, he still has a part-time job at TV Guide, he said, "but I don't know what I'll do now. Maybe I should have thought about this but I didn't."

    Things have happened so fast," he added. "I've been all over the world, several times. Always in good style. Next? I have no idea. I'll find a corner and sell pencils, how's that? Or I'll head out to the glue factory."

    At Corky's Restaurant, a hangout for Herald staffers across the way on 11th Street, a wake for the newspaper continued late into the night. And while sentiment, and beer, flowed freely, the management kept a firm grip on reality.

    "When a newspaper dies, a newspaper bar also dies," one woman at the wake said. "The waitresses tonight told us that all drinks were cash only--no tabs."

    Times staff writers Myrna Oliver, Leslie Ward, Scott Harris and Edward J. Boyer also contributed to this story.

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    Thursday November 2, 1989
    Paper's Rivals Likely Will Gain Readers, but at a Price

    By JESUS SANCHEZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER

    Los Angeles-area newspapers are gearing up to capture the readers and advertisers of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, which will publish its last edition today.

    But any circulation gains might be costly in the short run, say industry officials and analysts, and there will be very little Herald advertising to go around, because most of it is already carried by its competitors.

    "The surviving newspapers will get some additional readers but are not going to get much incremental advertising," said J. Kendrick Noble Jr., a media industry analyst at Paine Webber Group.

    Furthermore, analysts say the Herald's competitors may suffer financially in the short term because they won't be able to pass on the cost of printing additional papers to advertisers for at least six months.

    "I would think there will be some costs before there are some benefits," said newspaper industry analyst John S. Reidy at Drexel Burnham Lambert.

    Still, players in the hotly competitive market are not wasting any time carving up the Herald's 238,392-daily circulation and advertisers.

    "We intend to beef up all three (of our newspapers) to pick up as much circulation as we can," said Thomas J. Wafer Jr., general manager of Copley Los Angeles, which owns the Outlook in Santa Monica, the Daily Breeze in Torrance and the San Pedro News Pilot. "We will be looking to beef up coverage in certain areas and pick up street sales.

    "I don't want to seem cold about this thing," Wafer said. "It's a sad thing when any newspaper dies. But the readers don't automatically go to other newspapers. We lose them as newspaper readers, and we need newspaper readers."

    The Long Beach Press-Telegram said it will increase the number of its news racks and might launch an advertising campaign to attract the 16,000 Herald readers in its market.

    "I don't believe we would get all those readers," said Mack Quintana, senior vice president of sales and marketing of the Press-Telegram, which has a daily circulation of 128,000. "I'm sure all of us will be vying for a piece of those readers."

    The Los Angeles Times said it will purchase the paper's subscription lists, some comics and syndicated features and more than 10,000 of the Herald's news racks. The Times said it might pick up at most 50,000 Herald readers.

    "We hope to convert them to Times readers," said Times Publisher David Laventhol. But, he noted, "you are dealing with a relatively small pie here, and it probably won't affect the marketplace. It's sad but true."

    The Herald has seen its circulation and influence dwindle since 1967, when circulation peaked at 729,000. Since then, the paper's circulation fell by nearly half a million, and it recently claimed about 8% of the 4 million households in the five-county greater Los Angeles area. The Times, by comparison, claims about 25%, according to industry estimates.

    Analysts say most of the Herald's readership was concentrated in Los Angeles and was relatively insignificant in suburban areas such as Orange County. "They are spread out over the entire Los Angeles market and even beyond," said David J. Auger, publisher of the Daily News in the San Fernando Valley. But "the impact is fairly negligible in our market."

    The paper's mostly blue-collar readership also did not appeal to advertisers who prefer more affluent, professional workers.

    "If Hughes Aircraft had recruitment ads, the Herald would not be the place to go to if you wanted to reach someone in the aerospace industry," said Ron Lawrence, media director at the Los Angeles office of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, an advertising agency.

    "It was never a must buy," Lawrence said. "We will probably look to fill the gap by going to more local papers, some of which are distributed free of charge."

    Industry observers said it is unlikely that another newspaper company would come in to fill the gap left by the Herald.

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    Friday November 3, 1989
    What the Herald's Death Means
    Publishing: Many metropolitan areas are supporting more newspapers than ever. A lot of them are weeklies covering the suburbs.

    By THOMAS B. ROSENSTIEL, TIMES STAFF WRITER

    At first glance, the death of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner might seem an old story: another signal that American cities can no longer support two newspapers.

    It sometimes seems that reading is going out of fashion and that newspapering is a dying industry.

    But the answer, a growing number of newspaper publishers believe, is more subtle.

    In part, second urban dailies like the Herald Examiner have been supplanted by growing suburban papers, a change that reflects the shift in American life from classic suburbs oriented toward central cities to suburbs that are more distinct regions themselves.

    So, while New York City once had nine dailies, the New York metropolitan region now has 23. While Los Angeles once had five newspapers, the region now has 13, many of them growing.

    And while the percentage of Americans who subscribe to daily newspapers is certainly smaller than it was 30 years ago, some newspaper professionals are coming to believe that many Americans now rely on a combination of television and local weekly newspapers.

    Indeed, earlier this year, Ingersoll Publications launched a new daily in St. Louis, a tabloid called the Sun, that will combine advertising strength with Ingersoll's 43 weeklies surrounding the city.

    Similarly, the Chicago Sun-Times recently purchased two major groups of weeklies that ring Chicago, and it now sells advertising packages in combination with those papers. (The Herald Examiner tried a similar strategy in the early '80s.)

    "The biggest part of the story is not that a city won't support two newspapers," said Craig Ammerman, a newspaper consultant and former editor of the defunct Philadelphia Bulletin, "but that the region that used to support two, three or four is now supporting 15 or 20."

    One reason is that the definition of cities has changed.

    "People say Hartford, Conn., has been a one-newspaper town since the Hartford Times folded," leaving only the Courant, said John Morton, a newspaper analyst with Morton Research in Washington. "But the name Hartford no longer adequately describes the Hartford newspaper market," which includes Hartford and Middlesex counties.

    This is not uniformly true across the country. "I think you will find wide variation from market to market," said Donald E. Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, whose metropolitan region remains largely focused around central Washington.

    Yet in many cities, one of the reasons that second metropolitan papers such as the Herald Examiner have died is that advertisers had more choices about where to spend their ad dollars, analysts said.

    "Retail advertisers in particular followed the population to the suburbs and became less identified with downtown and the civic problems of the cities themselves," said Leo Bogart, author of "Press and Public" and a senior fellow at the Gannett Center for Media Studies.

    In that sense, suburban competitors "probably had as much to do with the death of the Herald Examiner as the Los Angeles Times did," said James N. Rosse, provost of Stanford University and a professor of economics who specializes in newspapers. Another of the Herald's competitors, the Daily News, based in the San Fernando Valley, did not even exist as a daily paper until 1975.

    Now, competition within suburban areas has become extraordinary. At his own home in the Bay Area, Rosse can subscribe to eight daily newspapers, including three national dailies and papers from San Jose, San Francisco and Palo Alto. He also can subscribe to a slick weekly aimed at affluent readers.

    Some publishers even have started to doubt the conventional view, now decades old, that newspaper readership is declining.

    "What people are doing is equating newspaper readership with daily newspaper circulation," said Sam McKeel, the respected former publisher of the successful Philadelphia Inquirer and now chief executive of the Chicago Sun-Times.

    But those numbers may be deceptive.

    It is true that daily newspaper circulation has not kept pace with the nation's growth in population. Daily circulation has grown by only 2.5 million since 1965, while the U.S. population has increased by more than 52 million.

    And certainly a major reason is that people have turned to the many other sources for information, particularly television.

    But one body of thought growing among newspaper publishers is that even those who rely heavily on television "get the details of where they live and where they vote from local newspapers," including weeklies, which are not counted in the traditional measures of newspaper readership.

    Indeed, while circulation growth of dailies has been modest, circulation of weeklies has more than doubled since 1965.

    "These (weekly) suburban papers are getting very important," argued McKeel, whose own group of 60 community newspapers ringing Chicago are magazine-like in thickness.

    "There has been a fairly significant shift away from daily to community newspapers that are less than daily frequency, and this readership isn't measured," said Morton.

    Some believe that this move toward community and suburban publications may only increase, as the urban landscape shifts further from traditional suburbs toward groups of distinct satellite cities within a metropolitan area.

    "As the growth in the suburbs continues, an increasing percentage (of people) have no tie to the city; they don't go there," said Ammerman.

    "The next crisis may be what will the big metropolitan papers do, if advertisers say to them, 'We only want to buy the circulation of yours that is in the city,' " Ammerman said. "What if the suburban circulation is so good that they don't want to pay for that double coverage. I think that worries the hell out of some of those metro papers."

    "That means we need to evolve and to change," said David Lawrence, publisher and chairman of the Miami Herald, whose paper is faced with the development of a distinct regional area in a neighboring county to the north.

    The Herald also found its own city increasingly divided by ethnicity. "We have a huge number of people of Hispanic heritage, some of them most comfortable in a language other than English," Lawrence said.

    The Herald now has a sister publication, El Nuevo Herald, that is closer to being a separate publication than merely a Spanish translation of the Herald.

    In Los Angeles, similarly, the growth of the Latino population is a factor in the newspaper industry. The city now has two Spanish language papers, and while the Herald Examiner was suffering, the older of these, La Opinion, was growing rapidly. Circulation has swelled to more than 100,000 this year from 40,000 in 1980.

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    Friday November 3, 1989
    Flash! That's How Fast the Last Herald Went

    By DARRELL DAWSEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER

    For Adolph Botello, Thursday's newspaper run should have been just another trip to the coin box: Drop in a quarter, grab the paper, go back to work.

    Instead, it became a protracted hunt for the city's latest treasure--the last edition of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.

    "I've been driving up and down the streets, trying to find a copy of the newspaper," said Botello, sliding the last four copies out of a coin box across the street from the newspaper's nearly deserted office building. "The racks were all empty. There aren't many left."

    Indeed, almost as soon as copies of the elusive edition hit the streets Thursday morning, souvenir seekers from Los Angeles and Orange counties were snatching up stacks of the papers from local newsstands and coin boxes.

    Nearly 400,000 copies were sold before noon, said Bob Martin, circulation manager for the Herald Examiner. In some parts of Los Angeles, readers and vendors said, racks had been emptied as early as 7 a.m.

    Martin said today's newsstand sales total was the fourth-largest for a single day in the history of the paper. The coveted edition is expected to sell more than any other copy of the paper in the past 20 years.

    "We've sold everything we've put out," said Martin, whose paper announced Wednesday that it would publish its final edition Thursday. "People have been calling us all day looking for a paper. Our dealers and newsstands are calling us because they sold out as well. People expect this to be a collector's item."

    Newsstand vendors said they were happily stunned by the skyrocketing sales of the final edition.

    "We usually sell about 40 or 50 a day," said Nirmal Singh, a vendor in Westwood. "We sold 200 today, but we could have used 500."

    Despite the sudden sales increase, Singh said, his business would suffer slightly in the long run from the closure of the Herald Examiner.

    "It was a good paper and people would buy it," he said. "We're going to lose money. Of course, we're going to stay in business, but it'll still be a loss."

    Some readers were aggravated by the scarcity of the last edition.

    "Where's the Herald Examiner? Don't you have the Herald Examiner? Doesn't anybody have a Herald Examiner?" growled Robbie Hubbard at two vendors in front of a Wilshire Boulevard newsstand. "This is the second place I've gone, and nobody has a copy. I can't believe this."

    While buyers like Hubbard scrambled to find just one copy, others hoarded and hawked stacks of the papers as fast--and for as much--as they could.

    "Some kid on Fraternity Row flagged down the Herald truck when it got here this morning and bought six bundles" of 50 papers each, said Gary Pine, a sports information official at USC. "The last we heard, he'd sold three bundles--at $20 a copy."

    One veteran newspaper collector questioned whether the edition was worth such a price.

    "People tend to collect papers for world events," said Rick Brown, founder of the Newspaper Collectors Society of America. "Papers with headlines and stories about the (recent Bay Area) earthquake will be worth a lot. A newspaper's folding may have an impact on the community, but it's not a world event. The last edition probably won't be worth much."

    But many readers said they cared little for profit margins. They said they planned to hold on to their copies in remembrance of the paper that was once America's largest afternoon daily.

    "I'm going to miss the Herald," said Valerie Doby, 28, an accountant at Transamerica Insurance Co. "I've been downtown for 10 years and they have always been there for me. All we can do is keep (the employees of the daily) in our prayers."

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    Friday November 3, 1989
    'Life Goes On' for Suddenly Jobless Workers
    Employment: Herald staffers are already picking up the pieces and getting on with their careers. For most, this means starting a job search.

    By JESUS SANCHEZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER

    Herald Examiner account executive Kevin Mallett wasted little time.

    Thursday morning found the 30-year-old newspaper executive filling out a job application at a competing paper the day after the Herald announced it would close forever.

    "Life goes on," said Mallett, who had been with the Herald seven months. "I have a wife, two kids and a mortgage. You have to lick your wounds. Then you've just got to get up and get going."

    After an evening of emotional get-togethers at local bars and restaurants, many of the Herald's roughly 750 employees had already taken some steps Thursday to find new jobs and begin new lives.

    Meanwhile, a trio of Los Angeles investors whose bid for the Herald Examiner was rejected Thursday said they will make a new offer that includes more cash, according to United Press International.

    Attorney Richard R. Hopkins told the news service that the investment group, which includes entrepreneur Peter A. O'Neil and former Herald controller John Reid, wanted to convert the paper to a tabloid, rename it the Los Angeles Post and rehire most of the staff.

    The offer apparently had no impact on plans to shut down the Herald for good. The Herald's owner, Hearst Corp., said employees will continue to receive paychecks and health benefits for the next 60 days, and a firm will be hired to help employees find news jobs elsewhere.

    Employees dropped by the Herald's downtown Los Angeles office Thursday to collect their belongings, visit with colleagues, gather job tips and pick up plans for a wake this Sunday evening at the Los Angeles Press Club.

    But many were still shaking their heads in disbelief.

    "I've been sort of numb since all of this started," said David Limrite, 31, feature section art director. "I haven't had time to deal with it. The first day I don't walk in here will be when it really hits."I

    If some employees weren't ready to start looking for jobs, several companies had already launched recruitment efforts aimed at Herald workers. Reporters and editors said newspapers from across the nation had begun calling up prospects, and faxed job notices had been posted on bulletin boards.

    Recruiters from the Orange County Register occupied a room in a downtown hotel to interview applicants, and other newspapers were reportedly flying in their headhunters. The Times has already hired a few Herald staff writers, who began work immediately.

    On the sidewalks around the Herald's offices, officials from financial and insurance firms were handing out flyers. "I came down here to get the last issue, and while I was here I thought I might as well headhunt," said Dick Compton, an insurance and financial sales executive.

    Several Herald employees said they believed that the paper's demise was inevitable and had begun searching for new jobs long ago.

    "I'm in the process of interviewing for another job," said entertainment listing editor Barak Zimmerman. "If anybody didn't see it coming, they were playing ostrich."

    But many Herald employees were in no rush to find jobs--yet.

    "It will be tight for a while," said television and film writer Nancy Randle, but "it's been five intense years and I need a little breathing space."

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    Friday November 3, 1989
    BEN STEIN
    The Herald Examiner: Requiem for a Fighter
    Media: A former columnist recalls a newspaper that was a fearless competitor, where as many battles were fought inside as out.

    By BENJAMIN J. STEIN, Benjamin J. Stein is a Los Angeles lawyer and economist

    First, let's strip away a few myths about the Herald Examiner. It was not killed by the Hearst Corp. in any intentional way. Afternoon papers became a drug on the market nationwide in the era of the freeway commuter and the evening TV news. It became vastly more cost-effective to advertise only in the one largest paper than in two papers in a city. Fixed costs at newspapers were irreducibly large. Economics, numbers on a computer, told the tale of the Herald, not malign individuals.

    By any reasonable standard, the Hearst family kept the paper alive far, far longer than was cost-effective. Cosmo, Avon, TV and radio stations within the Hearst empire subsidized the Herald for far longer than would have been permitted within any public company. The Hearsts were charitable donors to the Herald and to Los Angeles, not the vampires some are now claiming.

    Nor was the Herald a merry, lively, one-for-all and all-for-one club of altruistic, non-materialistic saint-scribblers. Far, far from it. For as long as I knew it, the Herald was rife with intrigues, cabals, factions, all conspiring against each other, seeking more space on the sun deck of the Titanic. One of the greatest editors of the century, Jim Bellows, was endlessly struggling with empire builders in non-editorial departments to the point that it became a major drain on his prodigious abilities. Bellows' two superb successors, Mary Ann Dolan and Stan Cloud, were forced to waste precious time and energy managing turf wars within the paper. The talent that might possibly have kept the Herald going a few more years instead went down the rathole of battles over petty titles and responsibilities.

    Even at lower levels, the Herald was tortured by attacks at various levels by different factions of writers, business people and other staffers. I was myself the victim of some of these attacks. They hurt and they had no productive point that I could ever see.

    But that still leaves plenty of good to talk about. For one thing, the Herald, though small and weak, was fearless. I wrote more than 1,000 columns for the paper. Never, at any time, did any editor attempt to restrain me because my target was a powerful person or company or organization. Bellows, who hired me, had flown against the Imperial Japanese Air Force, and he was not at all afraid of department store managers or politicians. Neither was Dolan or Cloud. They might have hesitated about issues of taste or newsworthiness. They may have had opinions about what mattered to the Herald reader, but they were not afraid of anyone. That matters.

    The Herald had a sense of humor. In its headlines, in its cartoons, in its Page 2 in its early days, the Herald genuinely made readers smile. The people who wrote the Herald understood that in a world where there is an incurable contagious disease, legions of homeless, 10 gang killings per week and human beings selling their children for dope, readers have also got to have a chance to smile. They understood that news is not just man bites dog, but that man often is a dog. In its last years, this sense of humor often became tinged with rage, but it still set a standard of sorts.

    The Herald had a sense of humility. There was a wonderful feeling when one picked up the paper, or walked through the newsroom, or got a paycheck from the Herald that the people who ran it and worked with it knew they were not the center of the universe. We always knew we were on borrowed time. We always knew we would have to be moving on some day soon. We knew the facts of life were stacked against us. It all gave us the feeling of being small that takes away a lot of the burdens of life--when one read it and when one worked for it.

    Goodby, Herald Examiner. Goodby to the little band of warring brothers and sisters, to the small moments of triumph and tragedy. They say that only the foreknowledge of death gives life its highest moments. Now the moment that redeems everything has come for the Herald. Good-by, Her-Ex, we'll all meet you somewhere down the road

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    Saturday November 4, 1989
    AL MARTINEZ
    The Day After

    By AL MARTINEZ

    Gordon Dillow was packing it in. Squinting against cigarette smoke and a hangover from the previous night's wake, he hauled stuff off his desk in armloads and put it as carefully as conditions allowed into cardboard boxes.

    Once or twice he stopped to study a clipping or a letter. "I don't think I ever answered these," he said, holding up a stack of mail. "I guess now I never will."

    Into a box they went, along with pictures, cartoons torn from magazines, a calendar, small gifts from readers and God knows what else. There were two balloons on the wall, one black and one orange, and I wondered if he would take them, too.

    For a moment he held up his telephone, considered putting it in a box, and then said, "Naw," and put it down again.

    "I feel as though I'm intruding on a family funeral," I said.

    Dillow shrugged. He's 38, tall, Texas-born and looks a little like Ron Howard, the child star turned movie director.

    He started in newspapering 12 years ago at something called the Missoula, Mont., Missoulian. The Missoulian? I thought about making a joke, but I didn't.

    You don't make fun the day after a dying.

    "We all knew it was going to happen," he said, "but not so suddenly. When I drove to work yesterday and saw all the television trucks parked outside, it flashed into my head, but I said to myself, 'Please, God, let it be a murder in the city room. . . .'

    "We laughed, and then he said, "In a way, I guess it was."

    It was Thursday, the last day of the Herald-Examiner. The euphoria that accompanies big events and boozy wakes had vanished from the city room like smoke in the wind.

    Robert Danzig's announcement was history, the party was over and it was the day after. Reality was a dull headache and a terrible realization.

    The lady was really dead.

    Her soul might be rollicking in a whimsical hell for failed newspapers, but sobering incredulity was the spirit she left behind.

    There simply was no more Herald-Examiner.

    I was there on that day-after not so much to contribute to the tons of verbiage being written on a newspaper's demise, but to say goodby to a colleague. I wasn't looking for vast insights. I paint the small pictures.

    Gordon Dillow wrote a metro column, too, three days a week. He wrote about the city, about his barber in Glendale, about Corky's across the street and sometimes about his wife.

    He said I could have Corky's to write about, but he kept his wife and his barber.

    "You want this?" he asked, handing me a piece of paper.

    It was an announcement of a basketball game between two teams of dwarfs.

    "I don't think they'll let me make fun of dwarfs," I said.

    Dillow nodded understandingly. "I had a column killed once when I wrote about The Times," he said. "I got the paper delivered to the house, but a dog used to urinate on it before I could go out and pick it up.

    "I called your circulation department, and you know what the lady said? She said, 'Yeah, that happens a lot.' " He shook his head. "You can't make fun of dwarfs, I can't . . . couldn't . . . make fun of The Times."

    He paused, thinking. "I guess I'm going to have to get used to the past tense."

    I looked out from Dillow's office into the city room as he took phone calls offering sympathy. The cursors of a couple dozen word processors blinked in funereal cadence. The screens were otherwise blank. It was a discomforting sight.

    I wondered where the people sat who had brought so much fun and information to L.A. Schwada, Radcliffe, Furillo, Bleiberg, the Krikorians, Fleming, Cusolito, Blake, Sadowski, Durslag, Booe, Koffler, Schwed, Everett.

    Where would they go? What would they do?

    "You know the most mail I ever got?" Dillow said after his phone conversation had ended. "It was on a column that began, 'I hate France. I really hate France.' It was when they wouldn't let our planes fly over or something."

    The column was reprinted in a French magazine, and I got maybe 200 letters. One of them said, 'The paper you work for is a towel!' He must have looked the word up in an English dictionary. He meant rag."

    Later, we went across the street to Corky's and had a hair of the dog. We didn't do any toasting, but I'll do it now.

    Here's to you, Gordie, and to the lady at the party in hell. What a grand and glorious towel she was.

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    Sunday November 12, 1989
    With Herald's Death, Its Downtown Site Is Put Into Play
    Newspaper: Landmark status expected to protect historical structure from demolition or drastic changes when property sells.

    By SHERYL KORNMAN, Kornman is a free-lance writer.

    The investment banking firm of Lazard Freres & Co. in New York City is involved in the Hearst Corp.'s effort to sell the Herald Examiner property at 11th Street and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, sources close to the matter say.

    The site became available when the Herald Examiner ceased publishing Nov. 2.

    A spokesman for the Hearst Corp. at its headquarters in Manhattan said that Hearst has not retained "any broker" and "there are no plans at this point for the property." The spokesman, Jim O'Donnell, said "we have made no announcement about the future of the property."

    Hearst Corp.'s Los Angeles office indicated, however, that Lazard Freres in New York is handling the matter for the company.

    In Los Angeles, John Torgeson, resident manager of Coldwell Banker's commercial division said his company is "working the property--I can't tell you (in) what capacity"--but said "there's no sale pending that we're aware of. Obviously, it's a pivotal piece of real estate. . . . We want to make a deal. They have a very valuable asset there."

    Torgeson said any prospective buyer would not be "another newspaper" or "garment-industry related."

    Jim Kinetz, a commercial broker at Coldwell Banker in L.A., said he anticipates the property will remain on the block for a couple of months in an attempt to drive the price up on what is already a "very desirable piece of property." Kinetz said he expects the interior to eventually undergo extensive renovation to attract tenants able to support a substantial investment by a "creative developer."

    City tax records list the assessed value of the property, designated for light manufacturing and printing, at $2,001,692 and the assessed value of the land at $548,738. Annual property taxes in 1989 were listed as $79,794.

    Commercial brokers at Grubb & Ellis estimate the value of the land at $20 million and the value of the building, completed in 1915, at between $20 million and $30 million.

    Designed by architect Julia Morgan, the Herald Examiner building has an ornate two-story lobby reminiscent of the interior work at the Hearst property at San Simeon, which was also designed by Morgan.

    Grubb & Ellis commercial brokers Ken Rubendall and Kirby Greenlee said the Herald Examiner property is located in a part of downtown Los Angeles where the office market is not strong.

    Rubendall said it is best suited for continued use as a newspaper production facility or for clean light industry, perhaps sewing, toys or electronic.

    The property is a "very attractive" mixed-use site suitable for garment industry-related uses, located near the heart of the garment district, Rubendall said, although "another newspaper makes the most sense."

    Even though it would not be impossible to build, a high-rise on the site "would be hard to finance in a location of that type," Greenlee said. "Any lender that looks at that property would be skeptical of the tenant interest. Going into the area south of 9th Street is "like going into a foreign country in terms of tenant activity.

    "Rubendall said he anticipates that the buyer will be "someone who knows the area very well, someone who already operates within a 3-mile radius" of the site.

    "There's a very good likelihood (the new owner) will be an entrepreneurial foreign investor" from Korea, Iran or Taiwan, Greenlee said, but not Japan. "The Japanese are probably not going to buy in that location. They're interested in very well located assests (near the downtown financial center). They are conservative buyers.

    "Demolition of the building, which is unlikely, would be a difficult and time-consuming process.

    Major changes to the building, which has been designated a Los Angeles historic landmark, would have to be approved by the city's Cultural Heritage Commission.

    The panel has the authority to delay building permits seeking to demolish the property, make substantial alterations to it or relocate it, said Assistant City Atty. Mark Brown, legal counsel to the commission. The commission's recommendations are made to the City Council.

    Brown said the panel could stall activity on the property for up to a year.

    The building also falls under the jurisdiction of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which has additional oversight authority on the property because it is located within the boundaries of South Park, one of the agency's designated redevelopment areas.

    Robert Tague, chief of operations for CRA, said an environmental impact report probably would not be required if new owners plan only "adaptive reuse of the existing structure"--minor interior alterations "not historical in nature."

    If the changes were minimal, building permits could be issued by the Department of Building and Safety several months from the date the plans are submitted.

    "The key is adaptive reuse," Tague said. "It's an historic building. We always prefer they be retained, utilized and adapted to other uses. We are not interested in having historical buildings demolished. We're extremely concerned about anything along that line. Our objective would be to save it, if at all possible."

    Jay Oren, staff architect and community liaison for the city Cultural Affairs Commission, said the difficulty in dealing with a preservation-minded community might slow a new owner's intent of demolishing or substantially altering the building.

    "Any investor would have to come to terms with the Cultural Heritage Commission and California environmental-quality law," Oren said.

    "The Los Angeles Conservancy would most likely mount a concerted campaign to preserve the building," Oren predicted. "It's one of the few examples we have in L.A. of (architect Morgan's) work," he said. "Some parts of the building are truly outstanding, especially the lobby."

    Oren said he would recommend the 1111 S. Broadway site be used by new owners as an office building and that any other reuse be "as close to its original use as possible."

    Rumors circulating in New York that New York Post publisher Peter Kalikow is interested in operating a newspaper at the site are false, said a Kalikow spokesman, Martin McLaughlin. He said Kalikow is "not even casting an eye on L.A. He's putting all his energies into bringing back the New York Post to where it was. I don't think he has any interest in acquiring anything right now in Los Angeles."


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