Hearst is an American multinational conglomerate group based in the Hearst Tower in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Founded by William Randolph Hearst as an owner of newspapers, the company has holdings that have subsequently expanded to include a highly diversified portfolio of media interests. The Hearst family is involved in the ownership and management of the corporation.

Hearst is one of the largest diversified communications companies in the world. Its major ownership interests include 15 daily and 36 weekly newspapers and more than 300 magazines worldwide, including Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, and O, The Oprah Magazine; 31 television stations through Hearst Television, Inc., which reach a combined twenty percent of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including A+E Networks, and ESPN Inc.; as well as business publishing, digital distribution, television production, newspaper features distribution, and real estate ventures.

Trustees of William Randolph Hearst's will

Under William Randolph Hearst's will, a common board of thirteen trustees (its composition fixed at five family members and eight outsiders) administers the Hearst Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and the trust that owns (and selects the 24-member board of) the Hearst Corporation. The foundations shared ownership until tax law changed to prevent this. As of 2014, the trustees are:

Family members

Non-family members

  • James M. Asher, chief legal and development officer of the corporation
  • David J. Barrett, former chief executive officer of Hearst Television, Inc.
  • Frank A. Bennack Jr., former chief executive officer and executive vice chairman of the corporation
  • John G. Conomikes, former executive of the corporation
  • Gilbert C. Maurer, former chief operating officer of the corporation and former president of Hearst Magazines
  • Mark F. Miller, former executive vice president of Hearst Magazines
  • Mitchell Scherzer, senior vice president and chief financial officer of the corporation
  • Steven R. Swartz, president and chief executive officer of the corporation

The trust dissolves when all family members alive at the time of Hearst's death in August 1951 have died.



The Formative years

In 1880, George Hearst (1820–1891), mining entrepreneur, American publisher, and U.S. senator, entered the newspaper business, acquiring the San Francisco Daily Examiner.

On March 4, 1887, he turned the Examiner over to his son, 23-year-old William Randolph Hearst. The newly appointed editor and publisher transformed the sedate Examiner into "The Monarch of the Dailies": he acquired the most advanced printing equipment of his day, substantially revised the newspaper’s appearance, and hired the best journalists he could find. He pushed his staff to write exciting news stories, and wrote editorials worded with force and conviction that enlivened the paper. Within a few years, the new Examiner was a success.

In 1895, Hearst purchased the New York Journal, laying the foundation for one of the major newspaper dynasties in American history. He established Hearst's Chicago American in 1900, renamed the morning New York Journal into the New York American in 1901. The Los Angeles Examiner was launched in 1903 followed by the Boston American one year later.

Hearst experimented with every aspect of newspaper publishing, from page layouts to editorial crusades. His newspapers introduced innovations like multi-color presses, halftone photographs on newsprint, comic sections printed in color, and wire syndication of news copy. Stories by Hearst correspondents from around the world were sold to additional newspapers, giving rise to the Hearst International News Service and the Universal wire service.

Hearst Magazines launched

In 1903, Hearst Magazines was begun with the publication of Motor magazine. Within the next 10 years Hearst acquired several popular titles, starting in 1905 with Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping in 1911. Also in 1911, Hearst bought a middling monthly magazine called World To-Day, which in April 1912 he renamed Hearst's Magazine. In June 1914, its title was shortened to Hearst's, and it was ultimately retitled Hearst's International in May 1922. In 1953 Hearst Magazines bought Sports Afield magazine which it kept until 1999 when it was sold to Robert E. Petersen.


Hearst began producing film feature in the mid-1910s, creating one of the earliest animation studios: the International Film Service. While the studio folded quickly, Hearst would regularly make film adaptations of his comic strips in collaboration with Hollywood studios until the late 1950s, though most of them have become lost films, as those had to be destroyed after 10 years after their release; a precautionary measure by Hearst in case the films didn't do well, to minimise the impact of any flop on said comic's popularity.

Hearst established Cosmopolitan Pictures in the 1920s, distributing his films under the newly-created Metro Goldwyn Mayer. In 1929, Hearst and MGM created the Hearst Metrotone newsreels.

Merger of Cosmopolitan with Hearst's International

In order to spare serious cutbacks at San Simeon, Hearst merged Hearst's International magazine with Cosmopolitan effective March 1925, calling it Hearst's International combined with Cosmopolitan. The Cosmopolitan title on the cover remained at a typeface of 84 points, over a 20-year time span, while the typeface of the Hearst's International decreased from 36 points to a barely legible 12 points. Hearst passed away in 1951, and the Hearst's International disappeared from the magazine cover altogether in April 1952.

The golden era

In the 1920s and 1930s, Hearst owned the biggest media conglomerate in the world. Apart from having highly circulated magazines and owning 28 newspapers in 18 major cities from coast to coast (many of them under either the American or Examiner banners), read by one out of four Americans each day, Hearst additionally began acquiring radio stations to complement his papers.

After purchasing the Atlanta Georgian, the San Francisco Call and the San Francisco Post in 1913, Hearst acquired the Boston Advertiser and the Washington Times (unrelated to the present-day paper) in 1917, followed by the Chicago Herald in 1918 (resulting in the Herald-Examiner) and the Washington Herald in 1922. Beginning in 1921, the company extended its reach, establishing or acquiring the Detroit Times, the Boston Record (turning the Advertiser into a tabloid), the Milwaukee Telegram and Wisconsin News, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1921), the Albany Times-Union, the Rochester Journal and American, the Syracuse Telegram and American, the Los Angeles Herald (1922), the Baltimore News and American (1923) and the New York Mirror (1924). In 1924 he additionally merged his Milwaukee operations with the Pfister family, owners of The Milwaukee Sentinel. Hearst owned the evening Wisconsin News while the Pfisters kept the Sentinel adding Hearst's features.

In 1925, Hearst sold the Syracuse Telegram to the owners of the Syracuse Journal, while selling the New York Mirror in 1928. Notwithstanding he kept overseeing both papers' operations, eventually buying back the Daily Mirror in 1932. In 1927, Hearst acquired the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which he switched with associate Paul Block in exchange for the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. That same year he additionally acquired the Omaha Bee and News. In 1929, Hearst closed the Boston Advertiser (keeping the name for the Sunday edition) and acquired the San Francisco Bulletin merging it with the Call & Post. In late 1931 he additionally bought the Los Angeles Evening Express, forming the Herald-Express. In 1935, the Baltimore News bought E.W. Scripps' Baltimore Post, creating the Baltimore News-Post.


Retrenching after the Great Depression

The Great Depression hit Hearst hard, forcing him to sell the Washington Times and Washington Herald to Eleanor "Cissy" Patterson of the McCormick-Patterson family that owned the Chicago Tribune in 1939 who merged them together into the Washington Times-Herald. That year he additionally bought the Milwaukee Sentinel from Block (who bought it from the Pfisters in 1929), absorbing his afternoon Wisconsin News into the morning publication.

Hearst, with his chain now owned by his creditors after a 1937 liquidation, additionally had to merge a few of his morning papers into his afternoon papers: the morning Herald-Examiner and the afternoon American into the Herald-American in Chicago in 1939, and in 1937 the Evening Journal and the morning American into the Journal-American in New York, the same year the Omaha Bee-News was sold to the World-Herald. Abandoning the morning market was harmful in the long run for Hearst's media empire as most of his remaining newspapers became afternoon papers. Newspapers in Rochester, Syracuse, Fort Worth, and Atlanta were sold off or shut down.

Afternoon papers were a profitable business in pre-television days, most often outselling their morning counterparts featuring stock market information in early editions, while later editions were heavy on sporting news with results of baseball games and horse races. Afternoon papers additionally benefited from continuous reports from the battlefront throughout World War II. After the war however, both television news and suburbs experienced an explosive growth; thus, evening papers were more affected than those published in the morning, whose circulation remained stable while their afternoon counterparts' sales plummeted. An Additional major blow was the fact that beginning in the 1950s, football and baseball games were being played later in the afternoon and now stretched through early in the evening, preventing afternoon papers from publishing all the results.

Television news

In 1947, Hearst produced an early television newscast for the DuMont Television Network: I.N.S. Telenews, and in 1948 he became the owner of one of the first television stations in the country, WBAL-TV in Baltimore.

Newspaper upheavals

The earnings of Hearst's three morning papers, the San Francisco Examiner, the Los Angeles Examiner, and The Milwaukee Sentinel, had to finance the company's money-losing afternoon publications, amongst those the Los Angeles Herald-Express, the New York Journal-American, and the Chicago Herald-American. The latter paper was sold in 1956 to the Chicago Tribune's owners (who continued and later changed it to the tabloid-size Chicago Today in 1969, and closed it in 1974). Hearst additionally sold the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (merged with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and the Detroit Times (merged with the Detroit News) in 1960 and the Milwaukee Sentinel (which merged with the afternoon Milwaukee Journal) in 1962 after a lengthy strike, the same year Hearst's L.A. papers - the morning Examiner and the afternoon Herald-Express - were merged into the evening Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. The 1962-63 New York City newspaper strike left Manhattan with no papers for a large number of months, which affected the Journal-American. The Boston Record and the Evening American were merged in 1961 as the Record-American. In 1964, the Baltimore News-Post became the Baltimore News-American.

In 1958, Hearst's International News Service merged with E.W. Scripps' United Press, forming United Press International as a response to the growth of the Associated Press and Reuters. The following year Scripps' San Francisco News merged with Hearst's afternoon San Francisco Call-Bulletin.


Beginning in 1965, the Hearst Corporation began recurring Joint Operating Agreements ("JOA"s); the first reached with the DeYoung family, proprietors of the afternoon San Francisco Chronicle, which began to produce a joint Sunday edition with the Examiner, which turned into an evening publication, folding the Call-News-Bulletin. The following year, the Journal-American reached another JOA with another two landmark New York City papers: the Herald-Tribune and Scripps-Howard's World-Telegram and Sun, thus forming the New York World Journal Tribune (recalling the names of the city's mid-market dailies), which collapsed after only a few months.

The 1962 merger of the Los Angeles papers had led to the sacking of a large number of journalists who went on to stage a 10-year strike in 1967, which ended up accelerating the pace of the company's sinking.


Newspaper shifts

In 1982, the company sold the Boston Herald American (the result of the 1972 merger of Hearst's Record-American & Advertiser with the Herald-Traveler), to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which promptly renamed the paper as The Boston Herald, competing to this day with the Boston Globe).

In 1986, Hearst bought the Houston Chronicle and that year closed the 113-year-old Baltimore News-American, after a failed attempt to obtain a JOA with the family publishers of The Baltimore Sun - A.S. Abell Company - which coincidentally sold its paper several days later to the Times-Mirror syndicate of the Chandlers' Los Angeles Times, additionally competitor to the evening Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, which folded in 1989.

In 1993, the San Antonio Light was shut down after Hearst purchased its rival, the San Antonio Express-News from Murdoch.


On November 8, 1990, Hearst Corporation acquired the remaining twenty percent stake of ESPN Inc. from RJR Nabisco for a price estimated between $165 million and $175 million.[6] The additional eighty percent has been owned by The Walt Disney Company after 1996. Over the last 25 years, the ESPN investment is said to have accounted for at least fifty percent of total Hearst Corp profits and is worth at least $13bn [7]

Purchase of the San Francisco Chronicle

In 2000, the Hearst Corp. pulled another "switcheroo" by selling its flagship and "Monarch of the Dailies", the afternoon San Francisco Examiner, and acquiring the long-time competing but now larger morning paper, the San Francisco Chronicle from the Charles de Young family. The San Francisco Examiner is now published as a daily freesheet.


Sale of Cover Concepts to Marvel

In December 2003, Marvel Entertainment acquired Cover Concepts from Hearst Communications, Inc., to extend Marvel's demographic reach amongst state school children.[8]

A&E acquires Lifetime Entertainment Services

In 2009, A+E Networks acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services, with Hearst ownership increasing to 42%.[9][2]

The P-I goes digital

In 2009, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer switched to a digital-only format, leaving the Albany Times-Union as the only remaining Hearst paper from its golden age still owned by the company.

Acquisition of iCrossing

In 2010, Hearst acquired digital marketing agency iCrossing.[2]

Purchase of Lagardère challanges Time Inc.

In 2011, Hearst absorbed more than 100 magazine titles from the Lagardere group for more than $700 million and became a challenger of Time Inc ahead of Condé Nast.

Launch of Esquire Network

In December 2012, Hearst Corporation partnered again with NBCUniversal to launch Esquire Network.

Appointment of Gary Ellis as CDO

On February 20, 2014, Hearst Magazines International appointed Gary Ellis to the new position, Chief Digital Officer.[12] That December, DreamWorks Animation sold a twenty-five percent stake in AwesomenessTV for $81.25 million to Hearst.[2]

Chief executive officers

  • In 1880, George Hearst entered the newspaper business, acquiring the San Francisco Daily Examiner.
  • On March 4, 1887, he turned the Examiner over to his son, 23-year-old William Randolph Hearst, who was named editor and publisher. William Hearst passed away in 1951, at age 88.
  • In 1951, Richard E. Berlin, who had served as president of the company after 1943, succeeded William Hearst as chief executive officer. Berlin retired in 1973. William Randolph Hearst, Jr. claimed in 1991 that Berlin had suffered from Alzheimer's disease starting in the mid-1960s and that caused him to shut down several Hearst newspapers without just cause.[2]
  • From 1973-1975, Frank Massi, a longtime Hearst financial officer, served as president, throughout which time he carried out a financial reorganisation followed by an expansion programme in the late 1970s.
  • From 1975 to 1979, John R. Miller was Hearst president and chief executive officer.[2]


A non-exhaustive list of its current properties and investments includes:



(alphabetical by location, then title)

Weekly Newspapers

(alphabetical by state, then title)

  • Darien News (Connecticut)
  • Danbury News-Times (Connecticut)
  • Fairfield Citizen (Connecticut)
  • New Canaan News (Connecticut)
  • New Milford Spectrum (Connecticut)
  • Westport News (Connecticut)
  • Marlette Leader (Michigan)
  • Vassar Pioneer Times (Michigan)
  • Advertiser North (New York)
  • Advertiser South (New York)
  • Ballston Spa Pennysaver (New York)
  • Clifton Park North Pennysaver (New York)
  • Clifton Park South Pennysaver (New York)
  • Latham Pennysaver (New York)
  • Pennysaver News (New York)
  • Spa City Moneysaver (New York)
  • The Weekly (New York)
  • Bulverde Community News (Texas)
  • Business Express (Texas)
  • Canyon News (Texas)
  • Conexión (Texas)
  • Hardin County News (Texas)
  • Jasper Newsboy (Texas)
  • Kelly USA Observer (Texas)
  • La Voz (Texas)
  • Lackland Talespinner (Texas)
  • Fort Sam Houston News Leader (Texas)
  • Medical Patriot (Texas)
  • Muleshoe Journal (Texas)
  • Neighborhood News (Texas)
  • North Central News (Texas)
  • Northwest Weekly (Texas)
  • Our People (Texas)
  • Randolph Wingspread (Texas)
  • Northeast Herald (Texas)
  • Southside Reporter (Texas)
  • The Zapata Times (Texas)

Television and Cable (investments)




Antitrust allegations

On July 14, 2006, San Francisco businessman and real estate investor Clint Reilly filed a lawsuit against Hearst Corp. (owner of the San Francisco Chronicle) and MediaNews Group (owner of the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Marin Independent Journal, Oakland Tribune and all additional paid-circulation dailies in the Bay Area), alleging that the two companies have been conspiring to control advertising rates, a violation of antitrust laws.

In November 2006, Reilly's attorney presented to U.S. District Judge Susan Illston a letter from Hearst senior vice president James Asher to MediaNews President Jody Lodovic that said the two companies agreed to "offer national advertising and internet advertising sales for their San Francisco Bay area newspapers on a joint basis, and to consolidate the San Francisco Bay Area distribution networks of such newspapers ..." Illston, suggesting she had been misled by the companies when they said they hadn't been collaborating, issued a 14-page ruling[2] forbidding Hearst and MediaNews from working together on national advertising sales or distribution.

On December 21, 2006, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and nonprofit Media Alliance filed suit to make the details of Reilly's lawsuit—and MediaNews and the Chronicle's response—public. As a result of the filing, a large number of documents in the case were voluntarily disclosed by the defendants. The judge allowed redacted versions of two more documents to be released. She kept 17 others under seal. One of the documents unsealed was the deposition of Hearst's Asher, who says that as of September 2006, his company had recorded cumulative losses of $330 million on its investment in the Chronicle,[2] which it acquired in mid-2000. He said Hearst proposed selling the Chronicle to MediaNews, but MediaNews didn't offer enough money. Asher additionally said Hearst and MediaNews have discussed working together for years. On April 25, 2007, prior to the start of the scheduled trial, the parties announced that a settlement had been reached.[2]