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FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The Fort Worth Star was founded in 1906 by a group of newsmen including Col. Louis J. Wortham (as publisher), Amon G. Carter, Sr. (as advertising manager), and D. C. McCaleb and A. G. Dawson; they also had the help of wholesale grocer and major investor Col. Paul Waples. The Star was first published in sixteen pages for a 4,500-copy free delivery. By 1908 the Star was in financial difficulty, and Carter and Wortham decided to buy out their rival, the Telegram, an evening newspaper that dated back to the Fort Worth Evening Mail and the Fort Worth Mail Telegram and other papers beginning around 1879. The new paper, known as the Star-Telegram, began publication in 1909, and was later identified in the 1920s by a phrase on its masthead reading "Where the West Begins." Carter and the paper stressed local news and served eighty-four counties, with some papers delivered in the Panhandle by stagecoach. The Star-Telegram had a preelectronic distribution area of 350,000 square miles, and daily home delivery as far as 700 miles west of Fort Worth. Carter and the paper successfully resisted takeover attempts by William Randolph Hearst, who sold the Fort Worth Record to the Star-Telegram in 1925. In 1922 the paper began the first Fort Worth radio station, WBAP, "We Bring A Program." The Star-Telegram established the first television station in the southern half of the United States in the early fall of 1948 and did a remote broadcast of President Harry Truman's whistle-stop campaign visit to Fort Worth. In 1954, WBAP-TV also did the first colorcast in Texas, at a time when there were no more than 100 color television sets in Fort Worth and Dallas. Carter was majority owner and publisher of the paper until his death in 1955, when he was succeeded by his son, Amon G. Carter, Jr., who died in 1982. The paper, an active participant in the Fort Worth community, supported numerous local causes as well as efforts to create Big Bend National Park in far west Texas and to establish Texas Technological College, now Texas Tech University. The paper was sold in 1974 to Capital Cities Communications, Incorporated. The circulation at that time was 235,000 daily papers and 224,000 on Sundays.

Under Capital Cities, which later became Capital Cities/ABC, Incorporated, when it purchased the ABC television network in 1986, the Star-Telegram won two Pulitzer Prizes. The first was in 1981 for photographer Larry Price's photos of Liberian officials being slain by a firing squad. The second (1985) was the coveted gold-medal Pulitzer for meritorious public service; it was awarded for a news series that exposed a flaw in Bell helicopters that was a factor in numerous crashes over a seventeen-year period. In the 1980s the Star-Telegram pioneered the establishment of an electronic information service and built one of the most modern newspaper printing and distribution plants in the nation. StarText, an "electronic newspaper" begun in 1982, complemented the printed newspaper with updated news and information; it was available on computer via a local telephone call in the Fort Worth and Dallas area. In 1986 the newspaper opened a new state-of-the-art printing facility that enabled it to produce one of the most colorful and visually attractive newspapers anywhere. In the early 1990s, under publisher Richard L. Connor, circulation climbed above 290,000 daily and more than 350,000 on Sundays.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Jimmy Donaldson, "The Voice of the West," Texas Historian, March 1981. Phillip J. Meek, Fort Worth Star Telegram: "Where the West Begins" (New York: Newcomen Society in North America, 1981). Texas Newspaper Directory (Austin: Texas Press Service, 1991).

Diana J. Kleiner

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Diana J. Kleiner, "FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eef04), accessed April 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.