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Boston Herald

The Boston Herald is a daily newspaper that serves Boston, Massachusetts, United States, and its surrounding area. It was started in 1846 and is one of the oldest daily newspapers in the United States. It has been awarded eight Pulitzer Prizes in its history, including four for editorial writing and three for photography before it was converted to tabloid format in 1981.



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 old Herald headquarters at 255 Washington Street (built 1878)
The old Herald headquarters at 255 Washington Street (built 1878)

The Original Boston Herald

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.[1]

The Boston Herald and Boston Journal

In October 1917, John H. Higgins, the publisher and treasurer of the Boston Herald[2] bought out its next door neighbor The Boston Journal and created The Boston Herald and Boston Journal[3]

The Boston Traveler

Even earlier than the Herald, the weekly American Traveler was founded in 1825 as a bulletin for stagecoach listings.[4]

The Boston Evening Traveler

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.[5]

In 1857 The Boston Atlas, The Boston Chronicle and The Evening Telegraph were merged into The Traveler.[5]

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

The old Boston Advertiser Building
The old Boston Advertiser Building
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.[6] 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.[7] Hearst Corp. continued using the name Advertiser for its Sunday paper until the early 1970s.

The Boston Record

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.[4]

The Boston American

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.

The Boston Herald Traveler

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 d but 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.

The Boston Herald Traveler and Record American

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.

Murdoch purchases The Herald American

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!"[8]

The Boston Herald once again

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.

Independent ownership

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). 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 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.[9]


The Heralds 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 the SS Andrea Doria in July 1956. Herald photographer Stanley Forman received two Pulitzer Prizes consecutively in 1976 and 1977, the first being 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, and the latter (known as "The soiling of Old Glory") being of Ted Landsmark, an African American city official, being beaten with an American flag during Boston's school busing crisis. In 2006 the Herald won two SABEW awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for its breaking news coverage of the takeover of local company Gillette Co. and for overall excellence.[10]


  • Howie Carr writes extensively on local politics and is a radio talk show host and frequent TV commentator.
  • Margery Eagan and Peter Gelzinis are longtime metro columnists, as is Joe Fitzgerald, who was formerly a sports columnist.
  • Michael Graham is an op-ed columnist for the Boston Herald.
  • Ron Borges is a sports columnist and former long-time columnist for The Boston Globe.
  • Gerry Callahan is a sports columnist and talk show host for WEEI.
  • Steve Buckley is a longtime sports columnist and frequent co-host on WEEI.
  • Dave Wedge is a political columnist, longtime reporter and frequent TV and radio commentator.
  • Jessica Heslam covers the media.
  • Joe Sciacca is the tabloid's new editor-in-chief, taking over in July 2010 for Kevin Convey, who left the Herald to become editor of the New York Daily News.[11] Sciacca is a former political reporter and columnist who is a regular panelist on "Beat the Press" on the WGBH TV show Greater Boston, which is hosted by Emily Rooney.
  • Laurel Sweet is an award-winning reporter who covers courts and crime.
  • Jessica Van Sack is an award-winning reporter who covers local innovation, worldwide technology trends and social media. She also reviews tech gadgets and writes the weekly Booting Up column.
  • Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa, along with their assistant Megan Johnson, write the Herald's Inside Track[12] and cover celebrity news.
  • Bernard Lee (poker player) is a poker professional/media personality who has also written for and CardPlayer Magazine and hosts his own radio show. Since 2005, Lee has written the Boston Herald's poker column every Sunday.

Boston Herald in Education Program

The Boston Herald in Education Program provides teachers throughout Massachusetts with classroom newspapers and educational materials at no cost. Teachers use the newspapers in the classroom along with frameworks-compatible teacher guides and in-paper educational series. Each day, the Boston Herald distributes approximately 10,000 newspapers to participating classrooms in over 184 communities throughout Massachusetts.[13] October 2007, the In Education program partnered with the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation and Got Books? to support school communities and place fundraising book donation containers at schools across the state in order to help raise money for schools and supplement costs of the newspaper program.[14]

See also


Further reading

  • Sterling Quinlan, The Hundred Million Dollar Lunch (Chicago, J.P. O'Hara, 1974), ISBN 0-87955-310-3.

External links

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