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Hearst Corporation

Hearst Corporation
Industry Mass media
Founded San Francisco, California, United States
(March 4, 1887 (1887-03-04))
Founder William Randolph Hearst
Headquarters Hearst Tower
Midtown Manhattan
New York City
, United States
Key people
William Randolph Hearst III
Frank A. Bennack, Jr.
(Executive Vice Chairman)
Steve Swartz
Revenue 11px US$ 9 billion (2014)[1]
Number of employees
Divisions Hearst Television
Hearst Magazines
Hearst Ventures
Hearst Business Media
Hearst Entertainment & Syndication
Hearst Newspapers

The Hearst Corporation is an American multinational mass media group based in the Hearst Tower in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Founded by William Randolph Hearst as an owner of newspapers, the company's holdings have subsequently expanded to include a highly diversified portfolio of media interests. The Hearst family is involved in the ownership and management of the corporation.

Hearst is one of the largest diversified communications companies in the world. Its major interests include 15 daily and 36 weekly newspapers and more than 300 magazines worldwide, including Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, and O, The Oprah Magazine; 31 television stations through Hearst Television, Inc., which reach a combined 20% of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including A+E Networks, and ESPN Inc.; as well as business publishing, digital distribution, television production, newspaper features distribution, and real estate ventures.

Trustees of William Randolph Hearst's will

Under William Randolph Hearst's will, a common board of thirteen trustees (its composition fixed at five family members and eight outsiders) administers the Hearst Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and the trust that owns (and selects the 24-member board of) the Hearst Corporation. The foundations shared ownership until tax law changed to prevent this. As of 2014, the trustees are:



  • Steven R. Swartz, president and chief executive officer of the corporation
  • Frank A. Bennack Jr., former chief executive officer and executive vice chairman of the corporation
  • Gilbert C. Maurer, former chief operating officer of the corporation and former president of Hearst Magazines
  • Mark F. Miller, former executive vice president of Hearst Magazines
  • David J. Barrett, former chief executive officer of Hearst Television, Inc.
  • James M. Asher, chief legal and development officer of the corporation
  • John G. Conomikes, former executive of the corporation
  • Mitchell Scherzer, senior vice president and chief financial officer of the corporation

The trust dissolves when all family members alive at the time of Hearst's death in August 1951 have died.


George Hearst (1820–1891), mining entrepreneur, American publisher and U.S. senator, entered the newspaper business in 1880, acquiring the San Francisco Daily Examiner. Seven years later he turned the Examiner over to his son, 23-year-old William Randolph Hearst.

On March 4, 1887, William Randolph Hearst became editor and publisher of the San Francisco Examiner and transformed the sedate Examiner into "The Monarch of the Dailies". He acquired the most advanced printing equipment of his day, substantially revised the newspaper’s appearance and hired the best journalists he could find. He pushed his staff to write exciting news stories, and wrote editorials worded with force and conviction that enlivened the paper. Within a few years, the new Examiner was a success. In 1895 Hearst purchased the New York Journal, laying the foundation for one of the major newspaper dynasties in American history.

Hearst experimented with every aspect of newspaper publishing, from page layouts to editorial crusades. His newspapers introduced innovations such as multi-color presses, halftone photographs on newsprint, comic sections printed in color and wire syndication of news copy. Stories by Hearst correspondents from around the world were sold to other newspapers, giving rise to the Hearst International News Service, which later merged with the United Press and became part of United Press International, the main competitor to the Associated Press.

Hearst Magazines was begun in 1903 with the publication of Motor magazine. Within the next 10 years Hearst acquired several popular titles in 1905, starting with Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping in 1911. In 1911, Hearst also bought a middling monthly magazine called World To-Day and renamed it Hearst's Magazine in April 1912. In June 1914 it was shortened to Hearst's and was ultimately titled "Hearst's International" in May 1922. In order to spare serious cutbacks at San Simeon, Hearst merged the magazine Hearst's International with Cosmopolitan effective March 1925 calling it Hearst's International combined with Cosmopolitan. The Cosmopolitan title on the cover remained at a typeface of eight-four points, over a 20-year time span, the typeface of the Hearst's International decreased from thirty-six points to a barely legible twelve points. Hearst died in 1951 and the Hearst's International disappeared from the magazine cover altogether in April 1952.[2]

Hearst began producing newsreels in the mid-1910s, creating one of the earliest animation studios: the International Film Service. While the studio folded quickly, Hearst would regularly make film adaptations of his comic strips in collaboration with Hollywood studios until the late 1950s, though most of them have become lost films as those had to be destroyed after ten years after their release; a precautionary measure done by Hearst in case the films didn't do well, to minimize the impact of any flop on the comic's popularity.

An ad asking automakers to place ads in Hearst chain, noting their circulation.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Hearst had the biggest media conglomerate in the world. Apart from having highly circulated magazines and owning 28 newspapers in 18 major cities from coast to coast (many of them under either the American or Examiner banners) read by one out of four Americans each day, Hearst also began acquiring radio stations to complement his papers, in 1929 Hearst along with movie studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer created Hearst Metrotone to produce newsreels shown in movie theatres filled with news footage shot around the world, and in 1947 he produced an early television newscast for the DuMont Television Network: I.N.S. Telenews, becoming the owner of one of the first television stations in the country, WBAL-TV in Baltimore one year later.

However, the Great Depression hit him hard, forcing Hearst to sell the Washington Times-Herald to the McCormick-Patterson owners of the Chicago Tribune in the early 1930s and merging most of his remaining papers late in the decade.

The latter decision proved to be fatal for Hearst's media empire as most of them became afternoon papers. However this was seen as a profitable idea in pre-television days as evening newspapers often outsold their morning counterparts as these featured updated stock market information in early editions, while later editions were heavy on sporting news with results of baseball games and horse races. Afternoon papers also benefited from continuous reports from the battlefront during World War II. After the war however, both television news and suburbs had an explosive growth; thus, evening papers were more affected than the ones published in the morning, whose circulation kept stable while their afternoon counterparts' sales plummeted. Another major blow was the fact that by the late 1950s football and baseball games were being played later in the afternoon and now stretched through early in the evening, disabling papers to publish results in decent selling hours.

The earnings of Hearst's three morning papers, the San Francisco Examiner, the Los Angeles Examiner and The Milwaukee Sentinel had to finance the money-losing afternoon Los Angeles Herald-Express, the New York Journal-American and the Chicago Herald-American (1939 merger of the Herald-Examiner and the American), sold in 1956 to the Chicago Tribune's owners (who continued it and later changed to a tabloid Chicago Today in 1969, closed 1974), while the Milwaukee Sentinel was sold and merged with the afternoon Milwaukee Journal in 1962 after a lengthy strike, the same year Hearst's L.A. papers were merged; the morning Examiner and the afternoon Herald-Express into the evening Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, at the same time, a newspaper strike had New York City with no papers, which affected the Journal-American. The LA papers merger implicated the sacking of many journalists who went on to a ten-year strike in 1967, this ended up sinking the company at a faster pace.

Beginning in 1965, the Hearst Corporation began recurring to Joint Operating Agreements, with the first one reached with the DeYoung family, proprietors of the afternoon San Francisco Chronicle, which began to produce a joint Sunday edition with the Examiner, which turned into an evening publication. The following year, the Journal-American reached another JOA with another two landmark NYC papers; the Herald-Tribune and Scripps-Howard's World-Telegram and Sun to form the New York World Journal Tribune, (recalling the names of the city's mid-market dailies) which unfortunately collapsed after only a few months.

The company sold the Boston Herald Traveler and Boston Record American which had been merged in 1972 to all-day publication to the Boston Herald American to Australian Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in 1982, which promptly renamed the paper to one of its predecessors, The Boston Herald to continue to compete with the morning Boston Globe; closed The News American in Baltimore (113 years old) in 1986, after a failed attempt to get a joint operating agreement with the A.S.Abell Company, family publishers of The Baltimore Sun which coincidentally sold its paper several days later to the Times-Mirror syndicate of the Chandlers' Los Angeles Times; The LAT's afternoon competitor Los Angeles Herald-Examiner was folded in 1989; with the San Antonio Light going dark in 1993. Hearst Corp. pulled a surprising "switcheroo" in 2000 and sold its flagship and "Monarch of the Dailies", the afternoon San Francisco Examiner after it acquired the long-time competing but larger in the morning San Francisco Chronicle published by the de Young family, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer switched to a digital-only format in 2009, leaving the Albany Times-Union as the only remaining Hearst paper from its golden age still owned by the company.

William Hearst died in 1951 at age 88, and was succeeded by Richard E. Berlin as chief executive officer; Berlin had served as president of the company since 1943. Berlin retired in 1973. Frank Massi, a longtime Hearst financial officer, served as president from 1973 to 1975, carrying out a financial reorganization followed by an expansion program in the late 1970s. John R. Miller was Hearst president and chief executive officer from 1975 to 1979.[3]

On November 8, 1990, Hearst Corporation acquired the remaining 20% stake of ESPN Inc. from RJR Nabisco for a price estimated between $165 million and $175 million.[4] The other 80% has been owned by The Walt Disney Company since 1996. Over the last 25 years, the ESPN investment is said to have accounted for at least 50% of total Hearst Corp profits and is worth at least $13bn <> </.>

In December 2003, Marvel Entertainment acquired Cover Concepts from Hearst Communications, Inc.[5]

In 2009, A+E Networks acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services with Hearst ownership increasing to 42%.[6][7]

In 2010 Hearst acquired digital marketing agency iCrossing.[8]

In 2011, Hearst absorbed more than 100 magazine titles from the Lagardere group for more than $700 million and became a challenger of Time Inc ahead of Condé Nast.

In December 2012, Hearst Corporation partnered again with NBCUniversal to launch Esquire Network.

On 20 February 2014, Hearst Magazines International appointed "Gary Ellis for the new position of chief digital officer".[9]

In December of that same year, DreamWorks Animation sold a 25% stake in AwesomenessTV for $81.25 million to Hearst.[10]


A non-exhaustive list of its properties and investments includes:



Weekly Newspapers

  • Darien News (Connecticut)
  • Fairfield Citizen (Connecticut)
  • New Canaan News (Connecticut)
  • New Milford Spectrum (Connecticut)
  • Westport News (Connecticut)
  • Marlette Leader (Michigan)
  • Vassar Pioneer Times (Michigan)
  • Advertiser North (New York)
  • Advertiser South (New York)
  • Ballston Spa Pennysaver (New York)
  • Clifton Park North Pennysaver (New York)
  • Clifton Park South Pennysaver (New York)
  • Latham Pennysaver (New York)
  • Pennysaver News (New York)
  • Spa City Moneysaver (New York)
  • The Weekly (New York)
  • Bulverde Community News (Texas)
  • Business Express (Texas)
  • Canyon News (Texas)
  • Conexión (Texas)
  • Hardin County News (Texas)
  • Jasper Newsboy (Texas)
  • Kelly USA Observer (Texas)
  • La Voz (Texas)
  • Lackland Talespinner (Texas)
  • Fort Sam Houston News Leader (Texas)
  • Medical Patriot (Texas)
  • Muleshoe Journal (Texas)
  • Neighborhood News (Texas)
  • North Central News (Texas)
  • Northwest Weekly (Texas)
  • Our People (Texas)
  • Randolph Wingspread (Texas)
  • Northeast Herald (Texas)
  • Southside Reporter (Texas)
  • The Zapata Times (Texas)

Television and Cable (investments)



Antitrust allegations

On July 14, 2006, San Francisco businessman and real estate investor Clint Reilly filed a lawsuit against Hearst Corp. (owner of the San Francisco Chronicle) and MediaNews Group (owner of the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Marin Independent Journal, Oakland Tribune and all other paid-circulation dailies in the Bay Area), alleging that the two companies have been conspiring to control advertising rates, a violation of antitrust laws.

Joseph M. Alioto represented San Francisco businessman and real estate investor Clint Reilly in an antitrust lawsuit against the Hearst Corporation

In November 2006, Reilly's attorney presented to U.S. District Judge Susan Illston a letter from Hearst senior vice president James Asher to MediaNews President Jody Lodovic that said the two companies agreed to "offer national advertising and internet advertising sales for their San Francisco Bay area newspapers on a joint basis, and to consolidate the San Francisco Bay Area distribution networks of such newspapers ..." Illston, suggesting she had been misled by the companies when they said they had not been collaborating, issued a 14-page ruling[11] forbidding Hearst and MediaNews from working together on national advertising sales or distribution.

On December 21, 2006, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and nonprofit Media Alliance filed suit to make the details of Reilly's lawsuit—and MediaNews and the Chronicle's response—public. As a result of the filing, many documents in the case were voluntarily disclosed by the defendants. The judge allowed redacted versions of two more documents to be released. She kept 17 others under seal. One of the documents unsealed was the deposition of Hearst's Asher, who says that as of September 2006, his company had recorded cumulative losses of $330 million on its investment in the Chronicle,[12] which it acquired in mid-2000. He said Hearst proposed selling the Chronicle to MediaNews, but MediaNews didn't offer enough money. Asher also said Hearst and MediaNews have discussed working together for years. On April 25, 2007, prior to the start of the scheduled trial, the parties announced that a settlement had been reached.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Hearst". Forbes. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ Landers, James (2010). The Improbable First Century of Cosmopolitan Magazine. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press. pp. 169–213. ISBN 978-0-8262-1906-0. 
  3. ^ "A brief history of the Hearst Corporation" (PDF). Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ GERALDINE FABRIKANT (1990-11-09). "Hearst to Buy 20% ESPN Stake From RJ". Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  5. ^ "Marvel Acquires Cover Concepts to Extend Demographic Reach; Acquisition Extends Reach of Marvel's Publishing Operations to 30 Million Public School Children". BNet. December 18, 2003. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  6. ^ A&E Acquires Lifetime,, August 27, 2009
  7. ^ A&E Networks, Lifetime Merger Completed, Broadcasting & Cable, August 27, 2009
  8. ^ The New York Times, Google and Hearst Make Digital Acquisitions
  9. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra (20 February 2014). "Hearst Magazines International Makes Digital Hire". WWD. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Verrier, Richard (December 11, 2014). "Hearst Corp. buys 25% stake in AwesomenessTV". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles Times Media Group). Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  11. ^ U.S. District Court, Order Re: Second Application for Temporary Restraining Order, November 28, 2006
  12. ^ Said, Carolyn. San Francisco Chronicle, February 1, 2007. Hearst, MediaNews talks included possible sale of Chronicle"
  13. ^ Egelko, Bob (2007-04-25). "Hearst, MediaNews Group settle Reilly suit". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 

External links