Ten years ago, there was the Post

Former Houston Post editor Lynn Ashby reflects on the approaching ten-year anniversary of the demise of his old newspaper.

These days, as Banjo Jones points out, Ashby has to open his own mail. And he's still not very happy about the way things ended or the way the end was reported:

Ever since the paper's folding in 1995, there has been the rumor The Post had gone bankrupt. Wrong. Each Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m., I attended an executive meeting where we would go over the paper's finances. Unless our owner, Dean Singleton, was cooking the books, we had made $10 million the year before and had posted a profit 12 of the 15 preceding months. So Hearst, the Chronicle's New York-based owner, has always been careful to say it bought the "assets" of The Post. To have purchased the competition and closed it might have raised questions with the Justice Department, which issued a statement saying the deal was just fine. We are supposed to believe that on the very day The Post ceased operation, Hearst whipped out a pen and signed a check for $120 million to Singleton, who promptly got on his private plane and left for his home in Denver. A lot of newspapers run a last edition, their own obit, when they cease operations whereby the staff bids farewell to its readers. Singleton said such a gesture would be "useless."

This sentence also caught my eye:

The Chronicle remains the largest newspaper in America never to have won a Pulitzer, but it's improving.

That last seems overly generous, but maybe Ashby hoped to sound a little less bitter with that caveat. I'm not sure that he was successful.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 04/15/05 04:12 PM | Print |

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