Detroit Times

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Six different newspapers called the Detroit Times have been published in city of Detroit; the most recent existed for six decades, from 1900-60.

Overview[edit]

  • The first iteration of the Detroit Times was an antislavery bulletin only printed from May to November 1842 by Warren Isham.
  • The second iteration began in November 1854. Published by G.S. Conklin and E.T. Sherlock, with John N. Ingersoll as editor. The paper was purchased that same month by Ingersoll and Tenny, and sold again in December 1855, to an association of journeyman printers, who published the paper until the spring of 1856.
  • The third version was established in April 1881; it was likely discontinued before the end of 1881 after being bought by The Sunday Herald.
  • The fourth Detroit Times, a daily and Sunday, was printed from December 4, 1883 to February 26, 1885 at 47 West Larned Street and was run by a stock company. The paper's managers were Charles Moore, Charles M. Parker, D. J. McDonald and Frank E. Robinson. A fire on the morning of April 11, 1884 completely destroyed the printing plant; with the assistance of the other Detroit printing establishments, the edition was printed without interruption. Lloyd Breeze purchased the paper November 22, 1884; the paper was suspended on February 26, 1885.
  • Five years later, James E. Scripps, owner of the Detroit News, set out to prove a point: he started the fifth version of the Detroit Times and sold it for a penny a copy. After printing it for 18 months and proving he could make a profit selling a newspaper for a penny, Scripps merged the Times into the News.

Sixth and final version[edit]

The sixth and most recent version (to date) of the Detroit Times was published as an evening paper from 1900 until November 1960. The Times was brought back to life by James Schermerhorn October 1, 1900 as Detroit Today but quickly changed its name to the Evening Times. The paper was purchased, after the property having been placed in the hands of a receiver, by William Randolph Hearst in the later part of 1921.

At the time Hearst purchased the Times it was located at 131 Bagley Street; Hearst wasted no time working out plans for a new state-of-the-art printing plant. With the backing of Hearst, who dispatched famed editor Arthur Brisbane to Detroit to kickstart the new management, the Times became the fastest-growing paper in the city, rivaling the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press in the great Detroit newspaper war. The Times hit its highest circulation in 1951, with an average daily high of 438,757 papers sold.

But the 1950s were not kind to the newspaper business, and as the Times' circulation numbers slipped to about 400,000 copies sold daily in 1960, it was obvious Detroit could not support three daily papers. In November 1960, Hearst sold the Times to the Evening News Association, owner of the rival Detroit News.

The Times' employees were given little notice: they were notified of the sale by telegram at two in the morning on November 5th. They were informed that the building was locked and there were armed guards around it. A week or so later employees could come in to clear their desk and they were accompanied by armed guards. The story of the sale had been rumored for weeks, but the announcement came early because someone had leaked the story to Newsweek magazine. The News reported the sale as a merger and put the Times masthead below theirs; in reality, very few of the Times staff were offered jobs with the "merged" paper. The prevailing opinion was that the Hearst papers, who were in financial trouble, sold the Detroit Times because it was one of the few properties that anyone wanted to buy. The News bought it and shut it down, the last edition printed November 6, 1960. The area where the Detroit Times printing plant was located is now called Times Square.

The Detroit Times should not be confused with the Detroit Metro Times, the original name of the weekly Metro Times.

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