Beautifully engraved certificate from the Boston Herald Traveler Corporation
issued in 1955. This historic document was printed by American Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman sitting next to a lion. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's President and Secretary.
The Boston Herald is a tabloid newspaper (not to be confused with tabloid press periodicals), the smaller of the two big dailies in Boston, Massachusetts, with a daily circulation of 230,543 in September 2005. It has a history that can be traced back through two lineages and two media moguls. Its history involves the Daily Advertiser and the old Boston Herald and it was owned at one point by William Randolph Hearst and later by Rupert Murdoch.
History from Wikipedia.
The Daily Advertiser was established in 1813 in Boston by Nathan Hale. The paper grew to prominence through the 19th century taking over other Boston area papers. In 1904, William Randolph Hearst began publishing his own newspaper in Boston called The American. Hearst ultimately ended up purchasing the Daily Advertiser in 1917. By 1938, the Daily Advertiser had changed to the Daily Record, and The American had become the Sunday Advertiser. A third paper owned by Hearst called the Afternoon Record, which had renamed to Evening American, merged in 1961 with the Daily Record to form the Record American. The Sunday Advertiser and Record American would ultimately be merged in 1972 into a line of newspapers that stretched back to the old Boston Herald.
The old Boston Herald was founded in 1846 by a group of Boston printers jointly under the name of John A. French & Company. The paper was published as a single sheet, two-sided paper that sold for one cent. Its first editor, William O. Eaton, just 22 years old, said "The Herald will be independent in politics and religion; liberal, industrious, enterprising, critically concerned with literacy and dramatic matters, and diligent in its mission to report and analyze the news, local and global."
Even earlier than the Herald, the Boston Traveler was founded in 1825 as a bulletin for stagecoach listings. In 1912, the Herald acquired the Traveler, and after a newspaper strike in 1967, Herald-Traveler Corp. suspended the afternoon "Traveler" to create the Boston Herald Traveler, in 1967.
In 1946, the Boston Herald Traveler Corporation acquired Boston radio station WHDH. Two years later, WHDH-FM was licensed, and on November 26, 1957, WHDH-TV made its début as an ABC affiliate on channel 5. In 1961, WHDH-TV's affiliation switched to CBS. Herald-Traveler Corp. operated for years under temporary authority from the Federal Communications Commission stemming from controversy over luncheon meetings the newspaper's chief executive had with an FCC commissioner during the original licensing process. (Some Boston broadcast historians accuse the Boston Globe of being covertly behind the proceeding. The Herald Traveler was Republican in sympathies, and the Globe was allied with the Kennedy family interests, although at the time of the licensing dispute, the Globe had a firm policy of not endorsing political candidates, and the proceedings regarding the WHDH-TV license were initiated long before John F. Kennedy was elected president.) The FCC ordered a comparative hearing, and in 1969 a competing applicant, Boston Broadcasters, Inc. was granted a construction permit to replace WHDH-TV on channel 5. The Herald Traveler fought the decision in court -- by this time, revenues from channel 5 were all but keeping the newspaper afloat -- but its final appeal ran out in 1972 and on March 19 WHDH-TV was forced to surrender channel 5 to the new WCVB-TV.
Without a television station to subsidize the newspaper, the Herald Traveler was no longer able to remain in business, and the newspaper was sold to Hearst which published the rival all-day newspaper the Record American. The two papers were merged to become an all-day paper called the Boston Herald-Traveler and Record American in the morning and "Record-American and Boston Herald Traveler" in the afternoon. The PM edition was soon dropped and the unwieldy name shortened to "Boston Herald American." The paper became a tabloid newspaper in September 1981. On December 20, 1982, the paper was purchased by Rupert Murdoch, who changed its name back to the Boston Herald. The Herald continued to grow over the ensuing decades, expanding its coverage and increasing its circulation until the early 21st century, when circulation and advertising revenue dropped -- part of a phenomenon affecting almost all American newspapers in an expanding age of free media. The paper retrenched into its "Record American" roots and was retooled as a more sensationalist publication on the hope that boosting street sales would keep the paper alive.
In February 1994, News Corporation was forced to sell the paper, in order that its subsidiary Fox Television Network could legally consummate its purchase of Fox affiliate WFXT (Channel 25). Patrick Purcell, who was the publisher of the Boston Herald and a News Corporation executive, purchased the Herald and established it as an independent newspaper. Several years later, Purcell would give the Herald a suburban presence it never had by purchasing the money-losing Community Newspaper Company from Fidelity Investments. Although the companies merged under the banner of Herald Media, Inc., the suburban papers maintained their distinct editorial and marketing identity.
The "Herald" continues to publish an aggressive daily newspaper and offer Boston readers an alternative at a time when many cities have only a single daily newspaper.
Published on Monday, July 03, 1967
THE DEATH OF THE 'TRAVELER'
By PAUL J. CORKERY
Crimson Staff Writer
"I've gone up and looked at that thing ten times today and I still don't believe it," confessed a BostonTraveler reporter last June 23. He was talking about the noticeTraveler publisher George Akerson had posted that day in the paper's newsroom announcing that on Saturday, July 8, the Traveler was ceasing publication.
That the Traveler, an afternoon paper published by the Boston Herald-Traveler Corporation, was not robust or highly profitable was common knowledge in Boston and its death was accepted as inevitable. But no one, not even high-ranking staffers or the usually knowledgeable labor unions, expected the Traveler to go when it did or in the quiet way it did. Most newspeople anticipated that the Traveler's death would be the result of a deal made by the publishers of all the Boston dailies, a deal that would also mean the end of some of the others papers; or that it would come at the end of a fierce and obvious circulation and advertising fight among the afternoon papers. Instead there was no deal and no extraordinary newspaper fight.
The Herald-Traveler Corporation's bosses decided simply that the Traveler --one of the last voices of the old Boston which they represented--was losing too much money. TheTraveler's continued existence would merely make things dangerous for all of the company's holdings, the morning Boston Herald, WHDH-TV (Channel 5), and Radio Stations WHDH-AM, and WHDH-FM. So, they reached a decision and two weeks ago announced the death of the Traveler.
The Traveler was never much of a paper. It's crusades and muck-racking expeditions were never very exciting, revealing, or pertinent. It was always sensational, with huge blown-up headlines ("Jayne Mansfield Dies In Crash") running across the top of the front page. And the stories that it ran were chosen, not because they provided balanced news coverage, but because they were the kind of stories that sold newspapers.
In an age, however, when the radio and TV can present sensational news much more quickly and more vividly than can printing presses, there isn't much call for a sensational newspaper. And in a city that sees nearly 20 editions of its newspapers a day, there is even less call for a second-rate paper. Try as it might (and it did try) the Traveler could never out-Hearst Hearst's BostonRecord-American, nor could it ever be as chatty and informal (and theTraveler tried this too) as the Taylor Family's Boston Globe. Unable to find a secure niche for itself in Boston, and plagued by rising production costs and labor difficulties, the Traveler, it would seem, was obviously ready to die. Nevertheless, its own staffers, other newsmen, and the labor unions expected plenty of notice, through a long and loud death rattle, instead of a sudden end.
Like almost everybody else, they failed to realize how much Boston has changed in the last seven or eight years. Boston newspaper publishers have never thought of their papers as money-making enterprises nor as public services to be subsidized by their other businesses. In the eyes of their publishers, the Boston newspapers were powerful and tightly-held weapons in a constant battle for control of the city and the state. Each paper was the representative of a particular force in the city; to give up a paper was therefore tantamount to ending that force's influence in Boston, or so the publishers seemed to reason.
The BostonTranscript, voice of the Beacon Hill Brahmins, was badly hurt in the depression, yet its publisher dragged on until 1941. Finally, but only after months of pathetic appeals for financial aid (some of which actually appeared in the Transcript), the paper went under. In 1956, the Boston post, the strident and powerful voice of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts and once the nation's third largest paper, died. ThePost's publisher, John Fox, so firmly believed in the Post's importance as the Democratic standard bearer that he twice managed to revive the paper, in one case after it hadn't appeared for over two weeks; the third cessation of publication was too much, however, and the Post expired.
People expected the Traveler's publishers. representatives of the Yankee manufacturers and businessmen of Massachusetts, to feel similarly about the role of their paper. But the Traveler, merely to stay alive had to shed some of the staunch Republicanism that had marked its earlier years, something which the stronger morning Boston Herald did not have to do. As a device for reaching and infulencing the market that the Traveler used to hit, the corporation's television stations, WHDH, Channel 5, was far more effective. Furthermore, and perhaps most important, Traveler publisher George Akerson has an outlook entirely different from that of his predecessor, the late Robert H. Choate.
Choate, who was for years the paper's publisher, was right out of the old school of Boston newspaper publishing. Some say he was the model for Amos Force, the crusty, vengeful newspaper publisher in Edwin O'Connor's The Last Hurrah. Choate's vision of the role of the Herald and the Traveler in Boston would never have allowed him to cease so arbitrarily the publication of one or the other. But Akerson is a businessman, not a visionary, and for him the profit and loss sheet determines the length of a paper's life. The Traveler, whatever its value as a voice, was just losing too much money.
Choate, of course, had never been oblivious to the financial state of the Traveler and of theHerald. (Although both papers are owned by the same company, and are printed in the same plant, they each have their own editorial and reporting staffs.) And it was some of his dealings that generated the stories about negotiations among the major Boston publishers to cut down the field of competition.
At one point, representatives from the Herald-Traveler Corp. and the Globe Publishing Co. actually met, but the discussions never got very far. The general idea was that each company should eliminate one of it's sets of editions. Neither company, however, was willing to give up its morning paper.
So, a city that took a parochial sort of pride in its "Never-say-Die" newspaper publishers has clear evidence that the impact of radio-TV and high production costs are overtaking tradition in the management of its newspapers. This does not necessarily mean that other papers may soon fold. Wags about town are pointing out, however, that the Record-American has made public no plans for a new printing plant although its current plant, a Victorian monstrosity, is slated for destruction in an urban renewal project.
The closing of the Traveler will place some 800 people, culled from the staffs of both the Herald and the Traveler, on the job market. Last Wednesday afternoon those employees who are being dismissed received a small personal letter from Akerson expressing his regret and a promise to aid in the search for employment.
Even those retained to work on the new, enlarged morning Herald (to be called the Boston Herald-Traveler) aren't too happy. Despite Akerson's rousing statements about the wonderful possibilities for the new hybrid, many of them fear that the Herald will soon follow the Traveler's steps. This isn't too likely since the Herald, which carries the New York' Times news dispatches, is a fairly solid and well-liked paper. But some staffers see a grizzly connection between the Record-American's need for a new plant, the death of the Traveler, and the Herald-Traveler's fairly new $7 million plant.