Sunday, December 4, 2011
L.A. Times First Published 1881
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. In 2008, it was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country.
It was originally first published every week and a half as an evening paper, bearing the name Los Angeles Daily Times, on December 4, 1881, but soon went bankrupt. The paper's printer, the Mirror Company, took over the newspaper and installed former Union Army lieutenant colonel Harrison Gray Otis as the editor. Otis made the paper a financial success. In 1884, he bought out the newspaper and printing company to form the Times-Mirror Company.
Historian Kevin Starr wrote that Otis was a businessman "capable of manipulating the entire apparatus of politics and public opinion for his own enrichment." Otis's editorial policy was based on civic boosterism, extolling the virtues of Los Angeles and promoting its growth. Toward those ends, the paper supported efforts to expand the city's water supply by acquiring the watershed of the Owens Valley, an effort fictionalized in the Roman Polanski movie Chinatown which is also covered in California Water Wars.
The efforts of the Times to fight local unions led to the October 1, 1910, bombing of its headquarters, killing twenty-one people. Two union leaders, James and Joseph McNamara, were charged. The American Federation of Labor hired noted trial attorney Clarence Darrow to represent the brothers, who eventually pleaded guilty.