Death of a Newspaper Giant p.

By: Editorial Staff William Randolph Hearst Jr. dies at age 85
THERE AREN'T MANY true giants of newspapering around today. Now there is one fewer.
William Randolph Hearst Jr., 85, editor in chief of Hearst Newspapers and chairman of the executive committee of the Hearst Corp., died May 14 in New York City after suffering cardiac arrest. He had been ill for about a year, according to the company.
Hearst also served as a director of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and the Hearst Foundation.
Hearst, whose father, William Randolph Hearst Sr., founded the Hearst Corp., won several journalism awards during his 65-year career, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1955 for his interviews with Soviet leaders.
""Bill Hearst's long and illustrious career in journalism extended from the brash newsrooms of the 1920s to the computerized news operations of the 1990s,"" Frank A. Bennack Jr., president and chief executive officer of Hearst, said in a statement. ""Over those many years, his dedication to the company was unbounded and his counsel contributed greatly to the success that the Hearst Corp. is today. We will miss him.""
Randolph A. Hearst, chairman of the Hearst Corp. board, commented, ""My brother's single aspiration in life was to emulate our father and become a first-rate journalist. All of us in the family know that he achieved his goal. He was a great newspaperman.""
Hearst Jr. attended the University of California at Berkeley and began his career in 1928 as a reporter for Hearst's New York American. Later, he served as assistant city editor and publisher
of The American, publisher of the combined New York Journal-American and a war correspondent in the 1940s for Hearst Newspapers. He also wrote columns in the company's Sunday papers.
He served on the boards of several other companies, including 20th Century Fox, United Press International, the Inter American Press Association and the USO of Metropolitan New York. He was also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Club.
Hearst is survived by two sons, William Randolph Hearst III, who is editor and publisher of the San Francisco Examiner (which Hearst Sr. started as a four-page broadsheet in 1887), and Austin Hearst, vice president of special projects for Hearst Entertainment Distribution, as well as four grandchildren. His wife, Austine McDonnell Hearst, died in 1991.

'Father and Son'

In 1991 came the publication of The Hearsts: Father and Son (Roberts Rinehart Inc.), Hearst's account of his father's career in journalism and his own years as a newspaperman, working alongside such legendary Hearst columnists as Damon Runyon, Walter Winchell and Louella Parsons. (E&P, Dec. 14, 1991, P. 14.)
Hearst wrote that his father, who died in 1951, had been ""described as the personification of evil genius. That is a tragic oversimplification. He was a score of men in one, an extraordinarily complex character who reflected the contentious times in which he lived . . . .
""The old man was a flamboyant editor and publisher. He lived for the headlines and national press battles. Yet Pop prized privacy even more.""
In the book, Hearst also discussed how the 1974 kidnapping of his niece Patty Hearst, which made headlines everywhere, affected the family.
He wrote, ""Everyone was concerned about personal safety. We became nervous and suspicious of strangers. Some bought guns. Others hired bodyguards. Everyone without an unlisted phone number got one. We changed our living patterns, taking different routes to office and home and not making restaurant reservations in our own names.
""As a family, we were determined not to draw attention to ourselves. To this day, some of us continue to keep a low profile.""
He also delved into areas previously not commented on by the Hearst family, including his father's three-decade affair with the actress Marion Davies and the 1941 Orson Welles and Herman Mankiewicz film Citizen Kane, which the author called ""a thinly concealed takeoff on the old man's life.""
To Hearst, the movie was an ""untruthful and unfair"" portrait of his father. ""Kane was depicted as a harsh, loud, imperious braggart. Unquestionably, my father was not that,"" he wrote. ""Pop was also portrayed as a man without conviction. Even his bitterest newspaper competitors would never claim that.""
Hearst went on to divulge how his father made each of the scions earn his place in the empire.
""Some of my brothers were surprised and, at times, shocked at what they perceived as a hard-nosed attitude on our father's part when it came to their work,"" he wrote. ""Pop tested the ability of each of us to perform, independent of our being his sons.
""Coming of age was a very disturbing time for each of us. We had been sheltered from many of life's cruelties, despite various warnings by Pop that making a living was no easy business. Most of us felt we needed more time and greater warning from him before facing the problems of a new career. The working world came as a cold and perhaps cruel blast of new air. My brothers felt that Pop treated us harshly.""
Hearst Sr.'s five sons were among the 13 trustees who gained voting control of the company following his death. In his will, he set up three trusts: the first to his wife, the second to his sons (who each received enough stock to guarantee an annual income of $30,000 and controlling interest of the company), and the third for charitable and educational purposes.
In 1955, Hearst Jr., at the age of 47, became editor in chief of Hearst Newspapers, a position his father had held for some 50 years. At the time, the corporation's assets totaled about $235 million, with after-tax net profits averaging $11 million annually, according to the book.
At the same time, Hearst Corp. president Dick Berlin began to consolidate and increase his power in the company and to put down the sons, Hearst wrote.
While he gives Berlin credit for having helped the company through difficult financial times during the 1930s, Hearst ""disagreed strongly"" with Berlin's merging and selling Hearst newspapers and merging Hearst's International News Service with United Press.
""With the merger of INS, a good outfit had passed into the history of our organization and the news business,"" Hearst wrote. ""The hurt was not easy to swallow. And I have never forgotten it.""
Today, the Hearst Corp. is one of the country's largest diversified communications companies. Based in New York, it operates 12 daily newspapers, six radio stations, six television stations and several magazines and is a partner in the cable networks ESPN, Arts & Entertainment and Lifetime.
Hearst wrote that he believed his father's company could remain intact and privately owned ""for the next 30 years or so,"" when Hearst Corp. stock will be passed on to the heirs of five sons. But, he added, a sale or public stock offering is permissible under the trust's terms.nE&P
? William Randolph Hearst Jr. in 1991.
? William Randolph Hearst Jr. (left) with President Harry Truman in 1956.
? Hearst (right) chats with then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (left) and Frank McLearn of King Features Syndicate.
? William Randolph Hearst Jr. takes a break in the New York Mirror
pressroom at age 16.
? Hearst Jr. (left), Bob Considine and Frank Conniff return from a European tour in 1957.
? Hearst Jr. covering the inauguration of President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953.


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