Sacramento Union stops publishing p.

By: M.L. Stein WITH THE BANNER headline, "We're history," the 143-year-old Sacramento Union ceased publication Jan. 14.
Union publisher Ralph Danel Jr. said the paper's death was brought on by "the continuing recession we seem to be in."
Founded in 1851 by a group of compositors from two other newspapers, the Union called itself the "Oldest Daily in the West."
During its colorful history, it once was called the "Miner's Bible." It also was the first influential newspaper in California to support the Northern cause in the Civil War and was credited with the dispatch of federal troops that kept Confederate forces from taking over the state's gold fields.
One of its better-known writers after the war was Mark Twain ? then a struggling journalist ? who persuaded Union editors to publish his dispatches from the Sandwich Islands, later to become Hawaii, for $20 a piece.
A succession of publishers owned the Union until its purchase by Copley Newspapers in 1966. The chain poured huge sums of money into the paper, building its headquarters in the Capital Mall, a prize area for real estate.
After James Copley, the firm's head, died, the paper was sold to John McGoff in 1974, who in turn sold it to Richard Mellon Scaife, a Pennsylvania banking heir.
In l989, two Sacramento businessmen, Danny Benvenuti and David Kassis, bought it.
They sold it in 1992 to the Danel family, who owns a local printing business.
Oct. 8, 1993, the newspaper shifted from a daily to a three-day-a-week publication.
The Union hit a peak circulation of 115,000 in the 1970s when Copley owned it but steadily had lost readership. Its circulation when it folded was 31,500.
Still, the editorially conservative Union was often a scrappy competitor to the liberal and much larger Sacramento Bee, which now is the only daily in town.
The Union ran several exclusive stories, one of which led to the total restructuring of the local housing authority and the prosecution of several of its officials for misuse of public funds.
The Bee bought a full-page ad in the Union's final edition in tribute to its longtime rival.
The ad called the Union a "strong voice. A worthy competitor. An old friend to many. And like any old friend, it will be missed."
In a final editorial, Union editor Kenneth Harvey wrote, "A newspaper's death diminishes a community in the way the passing of an individual diminishes a family. Its demise is a loss to society at large as well as those who read the newspaper and work for it . . . . Whether a newspaper is conservative or liberal or lacks any specific political viewpoint . . . having a competitive voice across town keeps that newspaper constantly on its toes, both journalistically and economically. That is a vital benefit that Sacramento readers and advertisers will cease to enjoy after today."


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

Scroll the Latest Job Opportunities From The Media Job Board