Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
The San Francisco Examiner

The San Francisco Examiner

Ask a question about 'The San Francisco Examiner'
Start a new discussion about 'The San Francisco Examiner'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
The San Francisco Examiner is a U.S. daily newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

. It has been published continuously in San Francisco, California, since the late 19th century.

19th century

The Examiner was founded in 1863 as the Democratic Press, a pro-Confederacy, pro-slavery paper opposed to Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

, 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.

In 1880, mining engineer and entrepreneur George Hearst
George Hearst
George Hearst was a wealthy American businessman and United States Senator, and the father of newspaperman William Randolph Hearst.-Early life and education:...

 bought the Examiner. Seven years later, after being elected to the U.S. Senate, he gave it to his son, William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst was an American business magnate and leading newspaper publisher. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887, after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father...

, 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 Bierce
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist...

, Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

, and the San Francisco-born Jack London
Jack London
John Griffith "Jack" London was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone...

, and also through the Examiner's version of yellow journalism
Yellow journalism
Yellow journalism or the yellow press is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism...

, with ample use of foreign correspondents and splashy coverage of scandals such as two entire pages of cables from Vienna about the Mayerling Incident
Mayerling Incident
The Mayerling Incident refers to the series of events leading to the apparent murder-suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria and his lover Baroness Mary Vetsera. Rudolf was the only son of Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria and Empress Elisabeth, and heir to the throne of the combined...

; satire; and patriotic enthusiasm for the Spanish–American War and the annexation
Battle of Manila Bay (1898)
The Battle of Manila Bay took place on 1 May 1898, during the Spanish-American War. The American Asiatic Squadron under Commodore George Dewey engaged and destroyed the Spanish Pacific Squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón...

 of the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...


20th and 21st centuries

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
San Francisco Chronicle
thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

and the San Francisco Call
San Francisco Call
The San Francisco Call was a newspaper that served San Francisco, California. Because of a succession of mergers with other newspapers, the paper variously came to be called The San Francisco Call & Post, the San Francisco Call-Bulletin, San Francisco News-Call Bulletin, and the News-Call Bulletin...

— 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 Morgan
Julia Morgan was an American architect. The architect of over 700 buildings in California, she is best known for her work on Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California...


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
Herb Caen
Herbert Eugene Caen was a Pulitzer Prize-winning San Francisco journalistwhose daily column of local goings-on, social and political happenings,...

, who took an eight-year hiatus from the Chronicle (1950–1958), and Kenneth Rexroth
Kenneth Rexroth
Kenneth Rexroth was an American poet, translator and critical essayist. He is regarded as a central figure in the San Francisco Renaissance, and paved the groundwork for the movement...

, one of the best-known men of California letters and a leading San Francisco Renaissance
San Francisco Renaissance
The term San Francisco Renaissance is used as a global designation for a range of poetic activity centered on San Francisco and which brought it to prominence as a hub of the American poetic avant-garde. However, others The term San Francisco Renaissance is used as a global designation for a range...

 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.

When the Chronicle Publishing Company
Chronicle Publishing Company
The Chronicle Publishing Company was a print and broadcast media corporation headquartered in San Francisco, California that was in operation from 1865 until 2000...

 divested its interests, the Hearst Corporation
Hearst Corporation
The Hearst Corporation is an American media conglomerate based in the Hearst Tower, Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States. Founded by William Randolph Hearst as an owner of newspapers, the company's holdings now include a wide variety of media...

 purchased the Chronicle. To satisfy antitrust
The United States antitrust law is a body of laws that prohibits anti-competitive behavior and unfair business practices. Antitrust laws are intended to encourage competition in the marketplace. These competition laws make illegal certain practices deemed to hurt businesses or consumers or both,...

 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 sweetheart 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.

On February 24, 2003, the Examiner became a free daily newspaper
Free daily newspaper
Free daily newspapers are distributed free of charge, either in central places in cities and towns, or with other newspapers. The revenues of such newspapers are based on advertising.-In the U.S.:...

 and is now printed Sunday through Friday.

New business model

On February 19, 2004, the Fang family sold the Examiner and its printing plant, together with the two Independent newspapers, to Philip Anschutz
Philip Anschutz
Philip Frederick Anschutz is an American entrepreneur. Anschutz bought out his father's drilling company in 1961 and earned large returns in Wyoming. He has invested in stocks, real estate and railroads...

 of Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

. His new company, Clarity Media Group, launched The Washington Examiner in 2005 and published The Baltimore Examiner
The Baltimore Examiner
The Baltimore Examiner was a free daily newspaper, one of the two big dailies in Baltimore, Maryland . It was launched in 2006 by the Philip Anschutz-owned Clarity Media Group as part of a national chain that includes The San Francisco Examiner and The Washington 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
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

 Bancroft Library
Bancroft Library
The Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library of the University of California, Berkeley. It was acquired as a gift/purchase from its founder, Hubert Howe Bancroft, with the proviso that it retain the name Bancroft Library in perpetuity...

, the largest gift ever 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, 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 select neighborhoods in San Francisco and San Mateo
San Mateo County, California
San Mateo County is a county located in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. It covers most of the San Francisco Peninsula just south of San Francisco, and north of Santa Clara County. San Francisco International Airport is located at the northern end of the county, and...

 counties (whether requested or not), and to single-copy outlets throughout that market area.

By February 2008, the company had transformed the newspaper's examiner.com
Examiner.com is a media company based in Denver, Colorado, that operates a network of local news websites, allowing "pro–am contributors" to share their city-based knowledge on a blog-like platform, in 238 markets throughout the United States and parts of Canada with two national editions, one for...

 domain into a national hyperlocal
The term hyperlocal can be used as a noun in isolation or as a modifier of some other term . It connotes having the character of being oriented around a well defined, community scale area with primary focus being directed towards the concerns of its residents...

 brand with local Websites throughout the United States.

See also

  • San Francisco Chronicle
    San Francisco Chronicle
    thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

  • The Washington Examiner
  • C.H. Garrigues, jazz columnist
  • San Francisco newspaper strike of 1994
    San Francisco newspaper strike of 1994
    The San Francisco Newspaper Strike of 1994 was a labor dispute called by the Newspaper Guild in November 1994. Employees of San Francisco's two major daily newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner walked off the job for eleven days....

External links