The Herald's history can be traced back through two lineages, the Daily Advertiser and the old Boston Herald, and two media moguls, William Randolph Hearst and Rupert Murdoch.
The original Boston Herald was founded in 1846 by a group of Boston printers jointly under the name of John A. French & Company. The paper was published as a single two-sided sheet, selling 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."
In 1847, the Boston Herald absorbed the Boston American Eagle and the Boston Daily Times.
In October 1917, John H. Higgins, the publisher and treasurer of the Boston Herald bought out its next door neighbor The Boston Journal and created The Boston Herald and Boston Journal
Even earlier than the Herald, the weekly American Traveler was founded in 1825 as a bulletin for stagecoach listings.
The Boston Evening Traveler was founded in 1845. The Boston Evening Traveler was the successor to the weekly American Traveler and the semi-weekly Boston Traveler. In 1912, the Herald acquired the Traveler, continuing to publish both under their own names. For many years, the newspaper was controlled by many of the investors in United Shoe Machinery Co. After a newspaper strike in 1967, Herald-Traveler Corp. suspended the afternoon Traveler and absorbed the evening edition into the Herald to create the Boston Herald Traveler.
The Boston Daily Advertiser was established in 1813 in Boston by Nathan Hale. The paper grew to prominence throughout the 19th century, taking over other Boston area papers. In 1832 The Advertiser took over control of The Boston Patriot, and then in 1840 it took over and absorbed The Boston Gazette. The paper was purchased by William Randolph Hearst in 1917. In 1920 the Advertiser was merged with The Boston Record, initially the combined newspaper was called the Boston Advertiser however when the combined newspaper became an illustrated tabloid in 1921 it was renamed The Boston American. Hearst Corp. continued using the name Advertiser for its Sunday paper until the early 1970s.
On September 3, 1884, The Boston Evening Record was started by the Boston Advertiser as a campaign newspaper. The Record was so popular that it was made a permanent publication.
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 been renamed the 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 The Boston Herald Traveler a line of newspapers that stretched back to the old Boston Herald.
In 1946, Herald-Traveler Corporation acquired Boston radio station WHDH. Two years later, WHDH-FM was licensed, and on November 26, 1957, WHDH-TV made its début as an ABC affiliate on channel 5. In 1961, WHDH-TV's affiliation switched to CBS. Herald-Traveler Corp. operated for years under temporary authority from the Federal Communications Commission stemming from controversy over luncheon meetings the newspaper's chief executive had with an FCC commissioner during the original licensing process (Some Boston broadcast historians accuse the Boston Globe of being covertly behind the proceeding. The Herald Traveler was Republican in sympathies, and the Globe then had a firm policy of not endorsing political candidates.) The FCC ordered comparative hearings, and in 1969 a competing applicant, Boston Broadcasters, Inc. was granted a construction permit to replace WHDH-TV on channel 5. Herald-Traveler Corp. 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 on March 19 WHDH-TV was forced to surrender channel 5 to the new WCVB-TV.
Without a television station to subsidize the newspaper, the Herald Traveler was no longer able to remain in business, and the newspaper was sold to Hearst Corporation, which published the rival all-day newspaper, the Record American. The two papers were merged to become an all-day paper called the Boston Herald Traveler and Record American in the morning and Record-American and Boston Herald Traveler in the afternoon. The first editions published under the new combined name were those of June 19, 1972. The afternoon edition was soon dropped and the unwieldy name shortened to Boston Herald American, with the Sunday edition called the Sunday Herald Advertiser. The Herald American was printed in broadsheet format, and failed to target a particular readership; where the Record American had been a typical city tabloid, the Herald Traveler was a Republican paper.
The Herald American converted to tabloid format in September 1981, but Hearst faced steep declines in circulation and advertising. The company announced it would close the Herald American—making Boston a one-newspaper town—on December 3, 1982. When the deadline came, Australian media baron Rupert Murdoch was negotiating to buy the paper and save it. He closed on the deal after 30 hours of talks with Hearst and newspaper unions—and five hours after Hearst had sent out notices to newsroom employees telling them they were terminated. The newspaper announced its own survival the next day with a full-page headline: "You Bet We're Alive!"
Murdoch changed the paper's name back to the Boston Herald. The Herald continued to grow, expanding its coverage and increasing its circulation until 2001, when nearly all newspapers fell victim to declining circulations and revenue.
In February 1994, Murdoch's News Corporation was forced to sell the paper, in order that its subsidiary Fox Television Stations could legally consummate its purchase of Fox affiliate WFXT (Channel 25) because Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy included language in an appropriations barring one company from owning a newspaper and television station in the same market. Patrick J. Purcell, who was the publisher of the Boston Herald and a former 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 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.
After years of operating profits at Community Newspaper and losses at the Herald, Purcell in 2006 sold the suburban chain to newspaper conglomerate Liberty Group Publishing of Illinois, which soon after changed its name to GateHouse Media. The deal, which also saw GateHouse acquiring The Patriot Ledger and The Enterprise respectively in south suburban Quincy and Brockton, netted $225 million for Purcell, who vowed to use the funds to clear the Herald's debt and reinvest in the Paper.
On August 5, 2013, the Herald launched an internet radio station named Boston Herald Radio which includes radio shows by much of the Herald staff. The station's morning lineup is simulcast on 1510 AM WMEX and 830 AM WCRN from 6am Eastern time to 10am Eastern.
The Herald's four Pulitzer Prizes for Editorial Writing, in 1924, 1927, 1949 and 1954, are among the most awarded to a single newspaper in the category. In 1957 Harry Trask was a young staff photographer at the Traveler when he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his photo sequence of the sinking of SS Andrea Doria in July 1956. Herald photographer Stanley Forman received two Pulitzer Prizes consecutively in 1976 and 1977, the first for Fire Escape Collapse, a dramatic shot of a young child falling in mid-air from her mother's arms on the upper stories of a burning apartment building to the waiting arms of firefighters below. The 1977 Pulitzer was awarded for The Soiling of Old Glory, as Ted Landsmark, an African American civil rights lawyer, was charged at by a protester with an American flag during the Boston busing crisis. The 1978 Pulitzer for Feature photography for staff coverage of The Blizzard of 1978.
In 2006, the Herald won two SABEW awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers: one for its breaking news coverage of the takeover of the Boston-based Gillette Company by Procter & Gamble, and another for "overall excellence."Joe Sciacca is the paper's editor-in-chief. Sciacca is a former political reporter and columnist.
Warren T. Brookes was an economics reporter at The Herald from 1975 until 1985, when he moved to the Detroit News but based in Washington, D.C.
Howie Carr writes extensively on local politics and is a radio talk show host and frequent TV commentator.
Peter Gelzinis is a longtime metro columnist, as is Joe Fitzgerald, who was formerly a sports columnist.
Joe Battenfeld is the Herald's political columnist and multi-media reporter.
Michael Graham is an op-ed columnist for the Boston Herald.
Ron Borges is a sports columnist.
Gerry Callahan is a sports columnist and talk show host for WEEI.
Steve Buckley is a longtime sports columnist.
Gayle Fee writes the Herald's Inside Track and cover celebrity news.
Bob McGovern is the Herald's legal columnist and also works as a reporter.
Peter Lucas was a longtime political columnist and reporter
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