The San Francisco Examiner
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The ''San Francisco Examiner'' is a
newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publications that appear in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most ...

newspaper
distributed in and around
San Francisco San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in Northern Calif ...

San Francisco
,
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...

California
, and published since 1863. The longtime "Monarch of the Dailies" and
flagship A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of navy, naval ships, characteristically a flag officer entitled by custom to fly a distinguishing flag. Used more loosely, it is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels, typically the ...
of the
Hearst Corporation Hearst Communications, Inc., often referred to simply as Hearst, is an American multinational mass media and business information conglomerate based in the Hearst Tower in Midtown Manhattan Midtown Manhattan is the central portion of the ...

Hearst Corporation
chain, the ''Examiner'' converted to free distribution early in the 21st century and is owned by Clint Reilly Communications, which bought the newspaper at the end of 2020 along with the ''SF Weekly''.


History


Founding

The ''Examiner'' was founded in 1863 as the ''Democratic Press'', a pro-
Confederacy Confederacy may refer to: A confederation, an association of sovereign states or communities. Examples include: * Battle of the Trench, Confederate tribes * Confederate States of America, a confederation of secessionist American states that existed ...

Confederacy
, pro-slavery, pro-
Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Party and similar terms may also refer to: Active parties Africa *Botswana Democratic Party *Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea *Gabonese Democratic Party *Democ ...
paper opposed to
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government ...

Abraham Lincoln
, but after his assassination in 1865, the paper's offices were destroyed by a mob, and starting on June 12, 1865, it was called ''The Daily Examiner''.


Hearst acquisition

In 1880, mining engineer, entrepreneur and US Senator
George Hearst George Hearst (September 3, 1820 – February 28, 1891) was an American businessman, miner, and politician. After growing up on a small farm in Missouri, he founded many mining operations, and is known for developing and expanding the Homesta ...

George Hearst
bought the ''Examiner''. Seven years later, after being elected to the
U.S. Senate The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives being the Lower house, lower chamber. Together they compose the national Bica ...
, he gave it to his son,
William Randolph Hearst William Randolph Hearst Sr. (; April 29, 1863 – August 14, 1951) was an American businessman, newspaper publisher, and politician known for developing the nation's largest newspaper chain and media company, Hearst Communications Hearst Commu ...

William Randolph Hearst
, who was then 23 years old. The elder Hearst "was said to have received the failing paper as partial payment of a poker debt." William Randolph Hearst hired S.S. (Sam) Chamberlain, who had started the first American newspaper in Paris, as managing editor and Arthur McEwen as editor, and changed the ''Examiner'' from an evening to a morning paper. Under him, the paper's popularity increased greatly, with the help of such writers as
Ambrose Bierce Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914) was an American short story writer, journalist, poet, and Civil War veteran. His book '' The Devil's Dictionary'' was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by t ...

Ambrose Bierce
,
Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of a real name) adopted by an au ...

Mark Twain
, and the San Francisco-born
Jack London John Griffith London (born John Griffith Chaney; January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was an American novelist, journalist and social activist. A pioneer of commercial fiction and American magazines, he was one of the first American authors ...
. It also found success through its version of
yellow journalism Yellow journalism and yellow press are American terms for journalism and associated newspapers that present little or no legitimate, well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales. Techniques may include ex ...
, with ample use of foreign correspondents and splashy coverage of scandals such as two entire pages of cables from Vienna about the
Mayerling Incident The Mayerling incident is the series of events surrounding the apparent murder–suicide pact A pact, from Latin ''pactum'' ("something agreed upon"), is a formal agreement. In international relations, pacts are usually between two or more ...
; satire; and patriotic enthusiasm for the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, So ...
and the 1898 annexation of the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...

Philippines
. William Randolph Hearst created the masthead with the "Hearst Eagle" and the slogan ''Monarch of the Dailies'' by 1889 at the latest.


20th century

After the great earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed much of San Francisco, the ''Examiner'' and its rivals—the ''
San Francisco Chronicle The ''San Francisco Chronicle'' is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area The San Francisco Bay Area, popularly referred to as the Bay Area, is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco Bay, San Francisco, San Pablo Ba ...
'' and the ''
San Francisco Call ''The San Francisco Call'' was a newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspapers ...
''—brought out a joint edition. The ''Examiner'' offices were destroyed on April 18, 1906, 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 Julia Hunt Morgan (January 20, 1872 – February 2, 1957) was an American architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with th ...

Julia Morgan
. 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 The San Francisco Call, San Francisco ''Call-Bulletin'', and the ''San Francisco Chronicle, 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 disadvantageous revenue sharing agreement for the ''Chronicle''. On October 31, 1969, sixty members of the Gay Liberation Front, the Committee for Homosexual Freedom (CHF), and the Gay Guerilla Theatre group staged a protest outside the offices of the ''Examiner'' in response to a series of news articles disparaging people in San Francisco's gay bars and clubs. The peaceful protest against the ''Examiner'' turned tumultuous and was later called "Friday of the Purple Hand" and "Bloody Friday of the Purple Hand." (courtesy: the GLBT Historical Society, Gay Lesbian Historical Society. ''Examiner'' employees "dumped a barrel of printers' ink on the crowd from the roof of the newspaper building." The protestors "used the ink to scrawl slogans on the building walls" and slap purple hand prints "throughout downtown [San Francisco]" resulting in "one of the most visible demonstrations of gay power" according to the ''Bay Area Reporter''. According to Larry LittleJohn, then president of Society for Individual Rights, "At that point, the tactical squad arrived – not to get the employees who dumped the ink, but to arrest the demonstrators. Somebody could have been hurt if that ink had gotten into their eyes, but the police were knocking people to the ground." The accounts of police brutality included instances of women being thrown to the ground and protesters' teeth being knocked out. In its stylebook and by tradition, the ''Examiner'' refers to San Francisco as "The City" (capitalized), both in headlines and text of stories. San Francisco slang has traditionally referred to the newspaper in abbreviated slang form as "the Ex" (and the ''Chronicle'' as "the Chron"). File:1942.02.26 San-Francisco-Examiner.jpg, ''San Francisco Examiner'' front page, Friday, February 27, 1942 File:San Francisco Examiner.jpg, ''The Examiner'', 2007


21st century


Fang acquisition

When the Chronicle Publishing Company divested its interests, the
Hearst Corporation Hearst Communications, Inc., often referred to simply as Hearst, is an American multinational mass media and business information conglomerate based in the Hearst Tower in Midtown Manhattan Midtown Manhattan is the central portion of 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, publishers of the ''San Francisco Independent'' and the ''San Mateo Independent''. 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 generous deal designed to curry approval. However, 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. From their side, the Fangs paid Hearst US$100 for the ''Examiner''. Reilly later acquired the ''Examiner'' in 2020. On February 24, 2003, the ''Examiner'' became a free daily newspaper, printed Sunday through Friday.


Anschutz acquisition

On February 19, 2004, the Fang family sold the ''Examiner'' and its printing plant, together with the two ''Independent'' newspapers, to Philip Anschutz of Denver, Colorado. His new company, Clarity Media Group, launched ''The Washington Examiner'' in 2005 and published ''The Baltimore Examiner'' from 2006 to 2009. In 2006, Anschutz donated the archives of the ''Examiner'' to the University of California, Berkeley Bancroft Library, the largest gift ever given to the library. Under Clarity ownership, the ''Examiner'' pioneered a new business model for the newspaper industry. Designed to be read quickly, the ''Examiner'' is presented in a Compact (newspaper), compact size without story jumps. It focuses on local news, business, entertainment and sports with an emphasis on content relevant to its local readers. It is delivered free to select neighborhoods in
San Francisco San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in Northern Calif ...

San Francisco
and San Mateo County, California, San Mateo counties, and to single-copy outlets throughout
San Francisco San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in Northern Calif ...

San Francisco
, San Mateo County, California, San Mateo, Santa Clara County, California, Santa Clara, and Alameda County, California, Alameda counties. By February 2008, the company had transformed the newspaper's examiner.com domain into a national hyperlocal brand, with local websites throughout the United States.


Independent ownership

Clarity Media sold the ''Examiner'' to San Francisco Newspaper Company LLC in 2011. The company's investors included then-President and Publisher Todd Vogt, Chief Financial Officer Pat Brown, and David Holmes Black. Early, incorrect media reports stated that the paper was purchased by Black's company Black Press. In 2014, Vogt sold his shares to Black Press. Present-day owners of the ''Examiner'' also own ''SF Weekly'', an alternative weekly, and previously owned the now-shuttered ''San Francisco Bay Guardian''.


Clint Reilly acquisition

In December 2020, Clint Reilly, under his company, Clint Reilly Communications, acquired the ''SF Examiner'' for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition included buying the ''SF Weekly'' "like a stocking stuffer," Reilly said. He also owns ''Gentry Magazine'' and the ''Nob Hill Gazette''.


Staff


Current

* Carly Schwartz, who was once editor-in-chief of an internal Google news product for employees, was hired as the ''Examiner'' editor-in-chief in 2021. * Allen Matthews was hired as director of editorial operations in 2021. * Al Saracevic was hired as assistant managing editor in 2021. * Stuart Schuffman, also known as Broke-ass Stuart, was a guest columnist. In 2021, he announced that after years, he would be moving his column to ''SF Weekly''.


Former

* Phil Bronstein, editor (left ''Examiner'' in 2012) * Herb Caen, columnist (1950–1958) * David Talbot, founder of the early online magazine ''Salon.com, Salon'' * C. H. Garrigues, jazz columnist (retired 1967) * Edgar Orloff, assistant managing editor (retired 1982) * Ernest Thayer, humor columnist (1886–1888) * Staff writer Joseph Fitzgerald Rodriguez wrote the On Guard column until his departure in 2020.


Editions

In the early 20th century, an edition of the ''Examiner'' circulated in the East Bay under the ''Oakland Examiner'' masthead. Into the late 20th century, the paper circulated well beyond San Francisco. In 1982, for example, the ''Examiner''s zoned weekly supplements within the paper were titled "City", "San Francisco Peninsula, Peninsula", "Marin County, California, Marin/Sonoma County, California, Sonoma" and "East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area), East Bay". Additionally, during the late 20th century, an edition of the ''Examiner'' was made available in Nevada which, coming out in the morning rather than in the afternoon as the San Francisco edition did, would feature news content from the San Francisco edition of the day before—for instance, Tuesday's news in the Nevada edition that came out on Wednesday—but with dated non-hard news content—comic strips, feature columnists—for Wednesday.


See also


General

* ''
San Francisco Chronicle The ''San Francisco Chronicle'' is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area The San Francisco Bay Area, popularly referred to as the Bay Area, is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco Bay, San Francisco, San Pablo Ba ...
'' * San Francisco newspaper strike of 1994


References


External links


''San Francisco Examiner'' website

Guide to the Fang Family ''San Francisco Examiner'' photograph archive, c. 1930–2000
at The Bancroft Library {{DEFAULTSORT:San Francisco Examiner San Francisco Examiner, 1863 establishments in California Anschutz Corporation Companies based in San Francisco Daily newspapers published in the San Francisco Bay Area Free daily newspapers History of San Francisco Publications established in 1863