Dallas Times Herald

By: Matthew Hayes Nall

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 2, 2016

The Dallas Times Herald (formerly the Dallas Daily Times-Herald) was founded in 1888 after a merger of the Dallas Daily Times with the Dallas Daily Herald. The Daily Times was founded in 1879 by J. A. Adams, who later that year sold the paper to Edward C. McClure and William Greene Sterett. The Daily Herald, first published in 1873 by John Swindell, was published in 1886 by M. H. Claytor, who later that year sold the paper to L. L. Foster and Charles E. Gilbert. Gilbert, a prohibitionist, and Sterett, a prohibition opponent, were unlikely partners and had debated their differences in the editorial columns of their respective newspapers. However, when threatened by financial ruin they agreed to merge their papers and produce the Dallas Daily Times-Herald, the first issue of which came out on January 2, 1888. In July of that year Sterett sold his interest in the paper to Gilbert, who used the paper to fight for such causes as immigrants' rights and the development of Dallas. The paper also became the first in the city to use electricity. The Dallas Daily Times-Herald joined the Associated Press in 1890 and, as the decade progressed, continued its role as a Dallas booster. It advanced such causes as street paving, improved sanitation, and water facilities. In the gubernatorial election of 1892 it supported the reelection of James S. Hogg. During the depression of that year the paper suffered major financial setbacks, and Gilbert was forced to put it into receivership under the administration of Oliver P. Bowser.

During the next few years the Daily Times-Herald underwent a number of changes in ownership and editorial staff, as the editors were unable to reverse the paper's financial decline. In 1893 E. G. Myers bought the paper and James E. Simpson became the publisher. A year later the Daily Times-Herald was sold to John F. Elliot, who also served as the paper's editor-in-chief. By 1896 the paper was once again put up for sale. Edwin J. Kiest, a Chicago newspaperman and representative of the Western Newspaper Union, bought the Daily Times-Herald and retained Elliot as editor-in-chief until 1900, when he was replaced by the paper's city editor, Hugh K. Taylor. Under Kiest's direction the paper continued to boost Dallas, and the Daily Times-Herald's fortune reversed. By 1903 the paper included sections on the arts, entertainment, agriculture, and sports. Seven years later its circulation reached 12,653. In 1926 Kiest bought KRLD radio. By 1929 the paper's circulation reached 64,063 for the daily edition and 62,846 for the Sunday edition. In that year the new headquarters at Pacific, Griffin, and Patterson streets was completed, and the paper was moved into its new building without missing a single edition.

From 1931 to 1933 the circulation declined because of the Great Depression, but by 1941 it had rebounded to 95,432 for the daily edition and 96,682 for the Sunday edition. Kiest died that year and left the paper in the hands of Tom C. Gooch, who was president of the Daily Times-Herald until 1952, when John W. Runyon secured the office. In the first year of Gooch's tenure the paper's circulation increased to 140,489 for the daily edition and 139,892 for the Sunday edition. In 1954 the paper was redesigned and Daily was dropped from its name, which was henceforth unhyphenated.

In 1964 photographer Bob Jackson received a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the slaying of Lee Harvey Oswald. Three years later James F. Chambers, Jr., took over as publisher of the paper, which in 1969 was sold to the Los Angles based Times Mirror Company. The new owner expanded the paper's coverage of local news and began printing a morning edition as well as the regular afternoon edition. In 1973 W. Thomas Johnson became the executive editor and vice president, and two years later he replaced Chambers as publisher, a position he held from 1975 to 1977, when Lee Guitar succeeded him. Guitar served until 1981, when Thomas R. McCartin became publisher. Under the leadership of these last three publishers the paper reached the peak of its success. In 1975 Newsweek ranked it in the top five newspapers in the South, and in 1977 the Sunday edition of the Times Herald outsold the Dallas Morning News 322,093 newspapers to 321,167. In the decade following 1975 the paper won two more Pulitzer prizes, one going to photographer Erwin H. Hagler in 1980 and one to photographer Jay Dickman in 1983. The paper also had nine Pulitzer Prize finalists, four Picture of the Year awards, two George Polk awards, and two Overseas Press Club awards, in addition to a number of other awards. The Times Herald was known as a liberal publication, in contrast to the Morning News. The Times Herald claimed to have more blue-collar and minority readers. In 1986 William Dean Singleton and the Media News Group bought the paper from Times Mirror for $110 million. Two years later a majority of the Times Herald's stock was purchased from Media News Group by John H. Buzetta and the newly formed DTH Media, with MediaNews Group remaining as a minority stockholder.

By the late 1980s the Times Herald was in the middle of a decline that eventually ended in its demise. A number of factors contributed to the paper's decline. The paper, formerly an afternoon daily, began also issuing a morning edition in September 1977 as a result of the gradual demise of afternoon newspapers, which suffered from competition from evening television news broadcasts. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the owner, Times Mirror, failed to provide significant reinvestment in the paper, in contrast to an aggressive reorganization of activities at the Morning News. The Times Mirror also failed to recognize the growing trend away from city issues and towards suburban needs. There were also problems regarding suburban delivery routes; many subscribers failed to receive their papers. The paper's suburban circulation had fallen far behind that of the Morning News. A number of conflicts occurred within the Times Herald's management. The last blow came in 1989, when the rights to twenty-six Universal Press Syndicate features, which the Times Herald had been running, were bought by the A. H. Belo Corporation, publisher of the Morning News. In retaliation the Times Herald filed an antitrust lawsuit against Belo, but lost. The Times Herald appealed the decision and was denied again. On December 8, 1991, Belo bought the Times Herald for $55 million. The paper became another exemplar of the nationwide trend away from having competing papers in major cities, as large corporations bought out newspaper competitors. The Dallas Times Herald printed its final edition on December 9, 1991.

Sam Hanna Acheson, 35,000 Days in Texas: A History of the Dallas "News" and Its Forbears (New York: Macmillan, 1938). Austin American-Statesman, December 9, 10, 1991. Dallas Times Herald, December 9, 1991.

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

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

Matthew Hayes Nall, “Dallas Times Herald,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dallas-times-herald.

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July 2, 2016

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