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Death of Herald Tribune, 40 years later

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by hungryhungryhippo, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. It's been four decades since the death of the New York Herald Tribune. How many papers can still be called "writer's papers?" Not too many...

  2. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I've read a book about the Herald-Tribune (The Paper) and also Bellows' book that came out a few years ago. In the late 1970s or early 1980s, design guru Mario Garcia wrote a book about newspaper design that had some old Herald-Tribune pages in it. What I take from all of it is that they had an innovative paper that was about a decade ahead of other newspapers in design, writing, willingness to take chances. And it didn't survive. It couldn't compete with The New York Times, which could outspend the H-T in covering news. As television came into its own and non-tabloid readers decided they had time enough for only one New York newspaper, they chose the one with the most news in it.

    Bellows is probably a genius. But his innovations and gimmickry could not save the Herald-Tribune, the Washington Star or the L.A. Herald-Examiner.
  3. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    An excellent book, one of the best newspaper books out there.

    The H-T couldn't compete with the NY Times largely because it had owners (the Reid family) who pocketed most of the profits, rather than plowing it back into the paper, like the Sulzbergers did.

    When the big newspaper strike hit the NY papers in the early 60s, the H-T was mortally wounded. Not even Jock Whitney's millions could save it
  4. OTD

    OTD Well-Known Member

    Gee, maybe there's a lesson there for . . . ah, nevermind.
  5. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    And if you can't be saved even by Jock Whitney's money, you're in deep shit.
  6. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Bellows is one of those guys I've always wanted to meet, long before I read his book (I read a great story about him years back, can't even remember where it was).
  7. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    The Herald-Tribune is prominent in "The Boys of Summer," too. The bit about the plaster bust of Adolf Hitler in the newsroom made me smile, because there is no way in hell you could do anything remotely that funny today. Shoot, I have a blow-up blimp over my desk (to signify the sports section) and I still check it now and then to make sure some bean-counter hasn't taken it down. The Hitler thing was pure genius. And Breslin is right about ties, too.
  8. Roger Kahn also writes beautifully about the paper in his memoir, Into My Own.
  9. oldhack

    oldhack Member

    As someone who read it, I can say that the Herald-Tribune was a great paper, one that any of you would be proud to have worked for. In the Whitney period, it was elegantly written and edited. There may have been 7 million stories in the Naked City, but the H-T knew which ones to go for and had the writers to go for them. The paper did an amazing series, which seemed to go on forever, called "City in Crisis." Great journalism, Pulitzer journalism, particularly if you know what happened to NYC in the late 60s and 70s. ("FORD TO CITY/DROP DEAD"). The fact that it didn't win a Pulitzer says a lot about where the H-T was and where everyone else was. Compare the NYT obit on JFK with the elegant H-T obit. If you can find it, read Breslin's story on the death of Malcolm X. I remember an editor telling me: "We can't run this because it doesn't have a lede." Or the early H-T stuff by Wolfe ("Junior Johnson Is the Greatest American Hero. Yes!"). Not only can't most of us imagine writing a story like that, most of us can't even imagine writing the headline. So earlier advice was right: run down to your nearest used book store and pick up a copy of The Paper. Great stories about the crazy Reids (how one fired the great sports editor Stanley Woodward, how another hired a guy from the back woods of Oregon as editor of the paper, weird stuff about John Denson, the editor who preceded Bellows). And if you want to know why the paper folded, ask me.
  10. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Oldhack, why did the paper fold?
  11. Suddenly, we're all sitting around the camp fire, and the old feller's picking up his guitar....
  12. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    I'm pulling up a log and waiting ....

    Another great Breslin story is his out-of-the-box account from JFK's funeral. He went to Washington and instead of hanging out with the 6,403 other reporters talking to people lined up in the Capital Rotunda, he went out to Arlington National Cemetery and talked to the gravedigger who was digging JFK's grave.

    Amazing, amazing journalism. Read it if you can.
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