Travels in Medialand

An Atlantic atlas of America's communications companies


Hearst (red)

No longer the mammoth of the journalistic jungle of earlier days, the Hearst Corporation is still an important owner of newspapers, magazines at home (Harper's Bazaar, Good Housekeeping Cosmopolitan, Town & Country, House Beautiful, Popular Mechanics) and abroad, radio and television properties, and a newspaper feature syndicate. One center of Hearst power is Baltimore, where it owns the evening News-American and the NBC radio and TV affiliates. Total daily circulation for eight newspapers: 1,851,012. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., doesn't like to talk about money, but our research suggests that the corporation is worth $250 million; one estimate of Hearst's gross sales figure for 1968: $500 million.

The Chicago Tribune (black)

A mighty fortress is the Chicago Tribune, a bulwark of ancien régime conservatism never yielding. Colonel McCormick, creator of "The World's Greatest Newspaper," is gone, but the men who command his caissons go rolling along. If the Tribune weren't the circulation leader in Chicago and surrounding suburbs (805,924 daily), and if the New York Daily News (which the Tribune Company now controls) weren't the nation's largest circulation paper (2,102,655 daily), television and radio properties in these top markets would help; the Tribune Company owns them anyway. An afternoon Chicago paper, Chicago Today (née Chicago's American), broadcast interests in Minnesota, Colorado, and Connecticut, CATV systems in Michigan and California, and newspapers in Florida constitute the Tribune Company's outer barricades. The Tribune Company is worth something in the $250 million range, say men in the business. One assessment of its 1968 gross sales: $300 million.


Gaylord (black)

At ninety-six, E. K. Gaylord is a prototypical regional press lord. His Oklahoma Publishing Company owns the state's most influential and profitable newspaper and TV properties (as well as television stations in Texas, Wisconsin, and Florida), and is wont to employ them as weapons of war against legislation he dislikes (the Great Society's Model Cities program) and politicians he opposes (Oklahoma's liberal former senator Mike Monroney).

Don Reynolds (red)

Don Reynolds' headquarters are in Arkansas, where he owns newspapers, radio and television outlets; his Donrey Media Group spreads westward and follows patterns of regional concentration: ten newspapers in Oklahoma, radio-television combinations in Laredo, Texas, and (not shown here) Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, and a scattering of newspapers in California, Washington, Nevada, and Hawaii. Invoking limits on what publishers call "the people's right to know," Reynolds and Gaylord are closemouthed about their fortunes. Some insiders' guesses about the worth of the two baronies: Reynolds, $30 to $35 million; Gaylord, $60 million. Last year, we were reliably told, Gaylord grossed about $33 million.


The Los Angeles Times

The Chandler family is one of the most formidable institutions in Southern California, and their Los Angeles Times is the most powerful paper in the West (daily circulation: way ahead of all competition in California at 958,124, and rising), and not at all shy about exercising its considerable (generally Republican) influence. It is also, perhaps, the most improved American newspaper of recent decades. That would satisfy most publishers, but the Times-Mirror Company's interests have spread eastward and northward to include a trail of book publishers (including one important one, NAL-World), Popular Science magazine, joint ownership of the L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service, and a forest-products operation which yields the Times the paper it's printed on. Times-Mirror's 1968 net income from operations, on revenues of $353 million: $24,197,000.



Scripps-Howard's chain of sixteen daily newspapers in major cities now reaches a circulation of 2,248,267. "Annual revenue from all sources" for the newspaper company "exceeds $250 million," according to company president Jack R. Howard. Sources of the income include United Press International (E. W. Scripps Co. owns 95 percent), news syndicates, and the World Almanac. In the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Memphis, where the E. W. Scripps Company has a predominant position in newspaper ownership, its publicly owned kinsman, the Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Company, owns television properties.

Scripps-Howard Broadcasting's annual report for 1968 noted a year of "turmoil, tensions and taxes"—an apparent reference both to national and to industry unrest—but was able to report net operating revenues for the year of $22 million and net income of $4.9 million. Jack Howard cited as one source of trouble "an accelerating trend of actions and proposals by the FCC which would change long-standing historical patterns of ownership in the broadcasting industry to promote affirmatively a wider diversification of control" of the mass media. He advised stockholders, "We are hopeful that industry efforts to reverse this trend will be successful, but we feel that our stockholders should be aware of the situation." There are clouds in medialand.

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