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A brief history of the Los Angeles Times

A brief history of the Los Angeles Times
Linotype machines on the fourth-floor composing room of the Los Angeles Times building dedicated on Dec. 4, 1912. (Los Angeles Times)

Here are some key moments in the history of the Los Angeles Times.

Feb. 4, 1881

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The Mirror Printing Office and Book Bindery begins publishing the six-day-a-week Los Angeles Daily Times. The four-page broadsheet costs a penny.

July 28, 1882

Col. Harrison Gray Otis, fresh from a government post in Alaska, becomes an editor of the Daily Times.

October 1884

The Times-Mirror Co. is incorporated and Otis buys the holdings of the other partners in the venture.

July 29, 1905

The Times breaks the story about water from the Owens Valley coming to Los Angeles: “Titanic Project to Give City a River.”

Oct. 10, 1909

The first news story appears about making motion pictures in Los Angeles.

Aug. 8, 1910

Hiram Johnson delivers his famous attack on Otis in a speech while campaigning for governor, condemning him as “vile, infamous, degraded and putrescence” with “senile dementia, gangrened heart and rotting brain.”

Oct. 1, 1910

The Times building on First and Broadway is blasted with dynamite by union radicals; 20 employees are killed and the building is destroyed.

Oct. 1, 1910: Crowds gather outside the Los Angeles Times after the bombing of the newspaper building. This photo appeared on page one on the Oct. 2, 1910, Los Angeles Times.
Oct. 1, 1910: Crowds gather outside the Los Angeles Times after the bombing of the newspaper building. This photo appeared on page one on the Oct. 2, 1910, Los Angeles Times. (Los Angeles Times)

July 31, 1917

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Otis dies and Harry Chandler becomes the second publisher of The Times.

June 28, 1935

The historic eagle is placed atop a new Times building, at the corner of First and Spring streets.

April 10, 1934: The Los Angeles Times Building at First and Spring street during cornerstone ceremonies. A similar photo appeared in the April 11, 1934, Los Angeles Times.
April 10, 1934: The Los Angeles Times Building at First and Spring street during cornerstone ceremonies. A similar photo appeared in the April 11, 1934, Los Angeles Times. (Los Angeles Times)
June 29, 1935: Harry Chandler, president and general manager of the Los Angeles Times, and Norman Chandler, vice-president and assistant general manager, stand in the new Los Angeles Times building entrance. This photo appeared in the June 30, 1935, Los Angeles Times.
June 29, 1935: Harry Chandler, president and general manager of the Los Angeles Times, and Norman Chandler, vice-president and assistant general manager, stand in the new Los Angeles Times building entrance. This photo appeared in the June 30, 1935, Los Angeles Times. (Los Angeles Times)

Feb. 14, 1938

Hedda Hopper begins her Hollywood gossip column in The Times. She competes directly with Louella Parsons, whose column appears in William Randolph Hearst’s Los Angeles Examiner.

Sept. 23, 1944

Harry Chandler dies at age 80. His son, Norman Chandler, becomes the third publisher.

1955

For the first time, The Times publishes more lines of advertising than any other American newspaper, a total of 59,788,874 lines.

April 12, 1960

Norman Chandler names his son, Otis, 32, the fourth publisher of The Times, creating a schism in the family. Otis starts hiring top journalists from around the nation and opening bureaus around the world.

Otis Chandler took a newspaper that had generated almost as much ridicule as revenue and turned it into one of the nation's best.
Otis Chandler took a newspaper that had generated almost as much ridicule as revenue and turned it into one of the nation's best. (Los Angeles Times)
Otis Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles times, left, meets with the editorial board.
Otis Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles times, left, meets with the editorial board. (Los Angeles Times)

November 1970

Weekday circulation tops 1 million.

1979

Times foreign and domestic bureaus total 31, including one in Peking. The paper publishes more advertising than any other in the world for the 25th consecutive year.

April 14, 1980

Tom Johnson is named the fifth publisher of the Los Angeles Times. Johnson succeeded Otis Chandler, who assumed the new post of editor-in-chief of Times Mirror.

Longtime Los Angeles Times editor Bill Thomas, flanked by longtime publisher Otis Chandler, left, and Chandler's successor, Tom Johnson, right, in an undated photo.
Longtime Los Angeles Times editor Bill Thomas, flanked by longtime publisher Otis Chandler, left, and Chandler's successor, Tom Johnson, right, in an undated photo. (Los Angeles Times)

Nov. 1, 1989

The Herald Examiner announces that it will cease operation.

April 1990

Times circulation reaches an all-time high of 1,225,189 daily and 1,514,096 on Sundays, making it the largest daily metropolitan newspaper in the country.

April 17, 1995

The Times wins its 20th Pulitzer Prize in the category of local reporting of spot news for detailing the chaos and devastation of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

November and December 1998

The Times announces cutbacks and reorganizations, eliminating about 750 positions.

March 13, 2000

The Chandlers announce an agreement to sell Times Mirror, including the Los Angeles Times, to Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, four other daily newspapers, 22 television stations and four radio stations.

March 2004

The Times average daily circulation for the period drops to 983,727.

April 2004

The Times wins five Pulitzer prizes, the most earned by any newspaper in a single year.

April 2007

Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell buys Tribune Co. in a highly leveraged deal.

Sam Zell in 2008.
Sam Zell in 2008. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Dec. 8, 2008

In a recession and under heavy debt, Zell’s Tribune files for bankruptcy protection.

July 13, 2012

Tribune emerges from bankruptcy controlled by hedge funds.

July 2013

Tribune announces it will split, spinning off its newspapers into a company called Tribune Publishing.

July 20, 2016

Tribune Publishing changes its name to Tronc.

Jan. 4, 2018

The Times newsroom defies Tronc leadership and votes overwhelmingly to form a union.

February 2018

Tronc announces it will sell the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and other local papers to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.

Patrick Soon-Shiong in the Los Angeles Times' Globe Lobby
Patrick Soon-Shiong in the Los Angeles Times' Globe Lobby (Los Angeles Times)
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