San Francisco Examiner: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

San Francisco Examiner
Sfexaminer logo.png
Type Free daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner Clarity Media
Publisher John Wilcox
Editor Jim Pimentel
Founded 1863/1865
Headquarters 450 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
Circulation 190,000 daily;
250,000 weekend
(as of January 2007)
Official website

San Francisco Examiner is a U.S. daily newspaper. It has been published continuously in San Francisco, California, since the late 19th century.



19th century

The beginning of the Examiner is a topic of some controversy. The date for its start is often given as 1865, but former Examiner columnist P.J. Corkery has written that its first issue was actually printed on October 20, 1863, under the name The Daily Democratic Press but that on June 12, 1865, the same newspaper "began to appear on the streets as The Examiner." The reason, he said, was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865.

The Daily Democratic Press had been a pro-Confederacy, pro-slavery newspaper. When word of Lincoln’s assassination by southern sympathizer reached San Francisco, outraged citizens stormed the newspaper's office, wrecked it and set fire to it, and sought to kill the paper and the editors. The proprietors, recovering their typecases from the ashes, decided an image change was in order, and renamed the paper, The Examiner.[1]

The paper was bought by mining engineer and entrepreneur George Hearst in 1880 and seven years later he gave it to his son, William Randolph Hearst, who was then 23 years old. A story that Hearst had won the paper in a poker game is "pure Hearst mythology," Corkery wrote, but other sources continue to make that or a similar statement.[2][3]

Under Hearst, the paper's popularity increased greatly, with the help of such writers as Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, and the San Francisco-born Jack London.[4] Sales were helped by the Examiner's version of yellow journalism, printing scandal and satire, as well as helping build support for the Spanish–American War and the annexation of the Philippines.

20th and 21st centuries

Home delivered tabloid version of San Francisco Examiner

William Randolph Hearst created the masthead with the Hearst Eagle and the slogan Monarch of the Dailies.

After the great earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed much of San Francisco, the Examiner and its rivals — the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Call — brought out a joint edition. The Examiner offices were destroyed on April 18, 1906 [5] but when the city was rebuilt a new structure, the Hearst Building, arose in its place at Third and Market streets. It opened in 1909, and in 1937 the facade, entranceway and lobby underwent an extensive remodeling designed by architect Julia Morgan. [6] Through the middle third of the twentieth century, the Examiner was one of several dailies competing for the city's and the Bay Area's readership; the San Francisco News, the San Francisco Call-Bulletin, and the Chronicle all claimed significant circulation, but ultimately attrition left the Examiner one chief rival—the Chronicle. Strident competition prevailed between the two papers in the 1950s and 1960s; the Examiner boasted, among other writers, such columnists as veteran sportswriter Prescott Sullivan, the popular Herb Caen, who took an eight-year hiatus from the Chronicle (1950-1958), and Kenneth Rexroth, one of the best-known men of California letters and a leading San Francisco Renaissance poet, who contributed weekly impressions of the city from 1960 to 1967. Ultimately circulation battles ended in a merging of resources between the two papers.

For 35 years starting in 1965, the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner operated under a Joint Operating Agreement whereby the Chronicle published a morning paper and the Examiner published in the afternoon. The Examiner published the Sunday paper's news sections and glossy magazine and the Chronicle contributed the features. Circulation was approximately 100,000 on weekdays and 500,000 on Sundays. By 1995, discussion was already brewing in print media about the possible shuttering of the Examiner due to low circulation and an extremely disadvantgeous revenue sharing agreement for the Chronicle. [3]

When Chronicle Publishing Company divested its interests, the Hearst Corporation purchased the Chronicle. To satisfy antitrust concerns, Hearst sold the Examiner to ExIn, LLC, a corporation owned by the politically connected Fang family. San Francisco political consultant Clint Reilly filed a lawsuit against Hearst, charging that the deal did not ensure two competitive newspapers and was instead a sweetheart deal designed to curry approval. On July 27, 2000, a federal judge approved the Fangs' assumption of the Examiner name, its archives, 35 delivery trucks and a subsidy of $66 million, to be paid over three years.

In May 2002, the Examiner relaunched as a tabloid, as part of an attempt to capture a younger audience.

On February 24, 2003, the Examiner became a free daily newspaper and is now printed Sunday through Friday.

New business model

On February 19, 2004, Philip Anschutz of Denver, Colorado, purchased the Examiner and its printing plant. The move was expected by the Fang family once the subsidy expired. His new company, Clarity Media Group, launched The Washington Examiner in 2005 and published The Baltimore Examiner 2006-2009. The Examiner is currently run by Anschutz subsidiary SF Newspaper Company. In 2006, Anschutz donated the archives of the Examiner to the University of California, Berkeley Bancroft Library, the largest gift ever to the library. [4]

Under Clarity ownership, the Examiner pioneered a new business model[7] for the newspaper industry. Designed to be read quickly, the Examiner is presented in a compact, tabloid size without story jumps. It focuses on local news, business, entertainment and sports with an emphasis on content relevant to local readers. It is delivered free to targeted homes in San Francisco and San Mateo counties (whether requested or not), and to single-copy outlets throughout that market area. Its circulation is audited by Certified Audit of Circulation (CAC).


  1. ^ How Old Is The Examiner?
  2. ^ "A Timeline of San Francisco History"
  3. ^ Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Judge clears way for Hearst to buy San Francisco Chronicle." July 27, 2000 [1]
  4. ^ William Randolph Hearst, 1863-1951
  5. ^ [2],
  6. ^ Images of the Hearst Building, San Francisco, California, by Julia Morgan
  7. ^ Robertson, Lori (April/May 2007). "Home Free". American Journalism Review. Retrieved 2007-04-18.  

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