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November 1989 - L.A. Herald Examiner Newspaper Ceases Publication

Final Edition of Herald Examiner
The final edition of the L.A. Herald Examiner newspaper on November 2, 1989. | Photo: Elson Trinidad

On November 2, 1989, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner newspaper, which at one time boasted the largest afternoon circulation of any paper in the U.S., ceased publication after 86 years.

The newspaper originated in 1903 as The Los Angeles Examiner, part of William Randolph Hearst's publishing empire as the Southern California counterpart to Hearst's San Francisco Examiner, and a labor union-friendly competitor in what was then a multi-newspaper market. The Examiner was best known in 1940s for its crime reporting and celebrity scandal stories. In 1947, the Examiner was the first paper to break the story of the still-unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, the 22 year-old woman also known as The Black Dahlia. In 1962, the Examiner merged with the tabloid Los Angeles Herald-Express, another Hearst-owned paper, to become the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and switched its publishing schedule to evenings. At its peak in the mid-1960s, the Herald Examiner had a daily circulation of 730,000, and for the next few decades, along with its competitor up Broadway, the Los Angeles Times, was one of the two remaining citywide newspapers based in downtown L.A.

Despite the paper's pro-labor origins, the publication, starting in 1967, suffered a worker's strike that lasted some 10 years. Spiraling readership, and competition from both the L.A. Times and the nationwide, succinct, and colorful USA Today led to the decision to shut down publications in November 1989.

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After the paper folded, some of its editors, reporters, columnists, and syndicated cartoons migrated to the Los Angeles Times.

The paper's historic 1914 Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival headquarters building near 11th Street and Broadway in downtown L.A. still stands, and is rented out frequently as a filming location.

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