By: M.L. Stein and Jim Rosenberg Los Angeles Daily News is forced from its building but manages to publish as does the Los Angeles Times sp.
THE DEVASTATING earthquake that hit the Los Angeles area at 4:31 a.m. Monday forced the Los Angeles Daily News from its building and damaged a Los Angeles Times printing plant, but both papers managed to publish. About 12 miles directly east of the quake's epicenter, San Gabriel Valley Tribune Inc., Covina, was able to publish a Monday morning Extra edition of its San Gabriel Valley Daily Tribune. "We came out at eleven this morning with a replate of the front page," detailing "what we knew at the time," said publisher Thomas Culligan, referring to the sister paper to his Pasadena Star-News. He said fax copies of the Extra also went out, including copies to CNN and other broadcast outlets. Printed in Pasadena (where Culligan also serves as the group's marketing and sales executive), the Thomson trio also includes the Whittier Daily News. The day of the quake, Culligan was unable to telephone the Times and Los Angeles Daily News with offers of assistance. He said effects of the quake in Pasadena were limited to things like his paper's front window "lying in shards" and retailers' goods falling from shelves ? hardly the scenes described by the paper's returning news photographers, who encountered streets under three feet of water erupting in gas fires. Noting the ordinarily heavy volume of morning rush hour freeway traffic, he said that if the quake "had happened at 7 a.m., it probably would have been the greatest disaster in the history of the United States." Just north of Los Angeles and east of the epicenter, Glendale News-Press production director Troy Feyerabend said a 90-minute power outage had no effect on production. Other than fallen ceiling tiles and tipped file cabinets, he said, there was no damage. He added that Coast Community News Inc. sister paper, the Costa Mesa Newport Beach Daily Pilot, about 50 miles south, was "doing fine." Because the Daily News building in Woodland Hills was so badly damaged, the paper's journalists input stories to the front end system at the Santa Monica Outlook, and its editors read pages on the production floor at the Torrance Daily Breeze, where the Daily News was printed. The quake, which registered 6.6 on the Richter scale, was centered in Northridge in the San Fernando Valley, the Daily News' main circulation area. Dozens were reported dead in the quake and repairing the damage was expected to cost more than $1 billion. President Clinton declared the city a disaster area as city officials posted a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Firefighters battled scores of blazes and National Guard troops moved in to supplement police and sheriff's patrols. Schools were closed the day after the quake. The Daily News Tuesday printed a full-run, 12-page edition with no advertising. Editor Bob Burdick said the paper would try to achieve usual delivery but noted that this would be difficult, if not impossible, because of collapsed freeways and surface roads. "The Copley people have been just great in letting us come in here," said Burdick, adding that he did not know when the Daily News staff would be able to return to its building. At the Daily News offices, ceilings fell into the newsroom and there was extensive water damage and danger from gas leaks. Ronald Goble, production director at the Daily Breeze, could not get an outside line most of Monday, had a shaky night of severe aftershocks, then faced a hectic Tuesday. In any event, he said his crew and personnel from the Daily News were "working very well together." In addition to printing Copley's Daily Breeze, Outlook and San Pedro News-Pilot and a quarter-million copies of the Daily News, the plant also printed the New York Times. "We put out five products with five different mastheads off of 12 units of press," said Goble, referring to the Monday schedule. Tuesday, the plant added another, the contract-printed weekly Los Angeles Independent ? but not before San Gabriel Valley took over printing the Daily News. Los Angeles Times spokeswoman Laura Morgan said the paper's San Fernando Valley plant was closed because of structural and water damage. The Times' Olympic and Orange County plants continued to be operational. Morgan said the Tuesday Valley edition was printed in Orange County for regular distribution in the valley. However, the Times' Ventura County edition was eliminated Tuesday. Morgan said the Times' downtown offices at Times Mirror Square sustained some cracked plaster and falling ceiling tiles but remained inhabitable. Some staff members suffered minor injuries, she added. One of the biggest problems for reporters covering the effects of the temblor was phone lines, many of which were out. Cellular phones and laptop computers were in wide use. While directing coverage from the Outlook, Burdick used the office of his wife, Patty Burnett, the Outlook's managing editor, who was in Houston visiting her ill mother when the quake struck. Burdick said many of his editors, reporters and photographers left their damaged homes to cover the story. "Bob Lund [managing editor] told me that everything in his house that could be broken was broken," Burdick recounted. The homes of publisher David Auger, assistant managing editor Ron Kaye and city editor Mark Barnhill also were among those damaged. ? (Printed in Pasadena, the San Gabriel Valley Daily Tribune had an Extra on the streets within hours of the quake.) [Photo and Caption]