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Sunday, February 12, 2006


The Boston Herald is a tabloid newspaper, the smaller of the two big dailies in Boston, Massachusetts, with a daily circulation of 242,957 in September 2002. The other is The Boston Globe. The current Herald has a history that can be traced back through two lineages and two media moguls nearly a century separated. Its history involves the Daily Advertiser and the old Boston Herald and it was owned at one point by William Randolph Hearst and later by Rupert Murdoch. The Daily Advertiser was established in 1813 in Boston by Nathan Hale. The paper grew to prominence through the 19th century taking over other Boston area papers. In 1904, William Randolph Hearst began publishing his own newspaper in Boston called The American. Hearst ultimately ended up purchasing the Daily Advertiser in 1917. By 1938, the Daily Advertiser had changed to the Daily Record, and The American had become the Sunday Advertiser. A third paper owned by Hearst called the Afternoon Record, which had renamed to Evening American, merged in 1961 with the Daily Record to form the Record American. The Sunday Advertiser and Record American would ultimately be merged in 1972 into a line of newspapers that stretched back to the old Boston Herald. The old Boston Herald was founded in 1846 by a group of Boston printers jointly under the name of John A. French & Company. They paper was published as a single sheet, two-sided paper and it was sold it for one cent. Its first editor, William O. Eaton, just 22 years old, said The Herald will be independent in politics and religion, liberal, industrious, enterprising, critically concerned with literacy and dramatic matters, and diligent in its mission to report and analyze the news, local and global. Even earlier than the Herald, the Boston Traveler was founded in 1825 as a bulletin for stage coach listings. In 1912, the Herald acquired the Traveler, eventually becoming the Boston Herald Traveler, in 1967. In 1946, the Herald Traveler organization acquired Boston radio station WHDH. Two years later, WHDH-FM was licensed, and on November 26, 1957, WHDH-TV made its d´┐Żbut as an American Broadcasting Company affiliate on channel 5. In 1961, WHDH-TVs affiliation switched to Columbia Broadcasting System. Soon after, channel 5 was embroiled in a Federal Communications Commission proceeding over whether it was appropriate for a newspaper to own a television station. (Many Boston broadcast historians accuse the Boston Globe of being covertly behind the proceeding. The Herald Traveler was Republican in sympathies, and the Globe was allied with the Kennedy political family interests.) The FCC ordered a comparative hearing, and in 1969 a competing applicant, Boston Broadcasters, Inc. was granted a construction permit to replace WHDH-TV on channel 5. The Herald Traveler fought the decision in court by this time, revenues from channel 5 were all but keeping the newspaper afloat but its final appeal ran out in 1972 and WHDH-TV signed off for good on March 19. Without a television station to cross-subsidize the newspaper, the Herald Traveler was no longer able to remain in business, and the newspaper was sold to Hearst Corporations rival Record American. The two papers were merged to become the Boston Herald American. The paper became a tabloid newspaper in September 1981. On December 20, 1982, the paper was purchased by Rupert Murdoch, who changed its name back to the Boston Herald. The Herald continued to grow over the ensuing decades, expanding its coverage and increasing its circulation. In February 1994, News Corporation was forced to sell the paper, in order that its subsidiary Fox Television Network could legally consummate its purchase of a Boston-area television station. Patrick Purcell, who was the publisher of the Boston Herald and a News Corporation executive, purchased the Herald and established it as an independent newspaper. Several years later, Purcell would give the Herald a suburban presence it had never had by purchasing the money-losing Community Newspaper Company from Fidelity Investments. Although the companies merged under the banner of Herald Media, Inc., the suburban papers maintained their distinct editorial and marketing identity. In March 2004, the Herald hired Mike Barnicle, a local columnist fired by its rival the Boston Globe back in 1998 for journalistic fraud.


Sterling Quinlan, The Hundred Million Dollar Lunch (Chicago, J.P. OHara, 1974), ISBN 0879553103.


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