Reilly 'humbled' to be taking on legacy of Hearst's Examiner

Dec 18, 2020 at 12:31 am by Staff

They're expanding on Nob Hill... or rather the owner of the Nob Hill Gazette is expanding with the purchase of the San Francisco Examiner, once owned by William Randolph Hearst.

The deal sees Gazette and Gentry publisher Clint Reilly Communications acquire the Examiner and affiliated publications from Black Press, and includes SF Weekly, its intellectual property, and its commercial printing. Terms were not disclosed.

Established 155 years ago, the Examiner has been owned by Black Press for nine years. Dirks, Van Essen & April represented Black Press in the transactions, with Reilly - jointly owned by Janet and Clint Reilly - represented by Farella Braun & Martell.

Black Press president and chief executive Rick O'Connor said despite stewardship of the "one of the iconic newspaper brands in the US", the Examiner had become increasingly difficult to manage as many of the executive team lived in either Canada or Hawaii.

Reilly says his father grew up in the Mission District selling newspapers on the corner in the 1930s with newspapers "always been an integral part of my life", while he learned during 25 years as a political consultant "how important strong journalism is to a functioning democracy".

"The pandemic has brought an avalanche of challenges to the region, and we look forward to the San Francisco Examiner being a positive force in the community as we rebuild," he said.

"The Examiner is in the Bay Area's DNA; making a contribution to its legacy is an awesome responsibility and I could not be more excited - or humbled - to take it on."

Long the flagship media property of William Randolph Hearst and the Hearst Corporation, the Examiner was sold to Florence Fang and her sons Ted, James and Douglas in 2000 after Reilly filed a landmark federal antitrust lawsuit to keep the paper alive when it had already been closed.

It was sold to Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz in 2004, who harboured ambitions to nationalise the Examiner brand. The title traded hands once again in 2011, this time to the San Francisco Media Company, made up of a consortium of newspaper executives headlined by Canadian newspaper mogul David Holmes Black of Black Press, at which point it was joined by the SF Weekly and the SF Bay Guardian (now defunct) under the SF Media umbrella.

Reilly's acquisition of the Examiner comes less than four months after adding Gentry magazine to the company's portfolio, alongside the 43-year-old Nob Hill Gazette, which it has owned since 2016.

Sections: Newsmedia industry


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