Monday, April 02, 2007

New York Times Doesn't Quite Get LA Times History Correct!

In a somewhat trickily worded phrase... the New York Times seems to imply that the LA Tmes was founded in 1884 by General Otis:

It also ends the financial stake in Tribune of two great American newspaper dynasties: the McCormicks, whose patriarch, Colonel Robert R. McCormick, founded Tribune in 1847; and the Chandlers, whose patriarch, General Harrison Gray Otis, founded Times Mirror in 1884 and who became the biggest shareholder in Tribune when Tribune bought Times Mirror in 2000.

The Times itself was actually founded on December 4, 1881 by Thomas Gardiner and Nathan Cole, Jr. and was printed by the Mirror Printing Office and Book Binder. Within weeks, though, they found expenses far exceeded revenues so the three owners of the printing company (which also had published the Los Angeles Mirror since 1873) took over the operation in early 1882. That summer Harrison Gray Otis agreed to become editor and he was given the option to buy 25% of the paper.

Otis later exercised his option and then in 1884 formed a new holding company for the Times, the Mirror and the printing company - the Times Mirror Company - and brought in Colonel H. H. Boyce as his financial partner to buy out the partners who then owned the other 75% of the paper. Then in 1886 Chandler bought out Boyce to become the sole owner.

So the paper was founded in 1881, Otis became part owner in 1882, he became 50% owner of a re-organized company in 1884 (which is what the NYT correctly refers to) and the sole owner in 1886.

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