Rome Daily American
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012)|
It was started by three GIs taking advantage of the discontinuation of the publication in Europe of Stars and Stripes, the American Military newspaper which had been published there during and just after World War II. Its model and competitor for sales was the International Herald Tribune published in Paris, but it took two days for copies to reach Rome.
It was 40% owned by the CIA as part of Operation Mockingbird until the early 1970s. The intent of this ownership was to provide cover for CIA operatives and to influence the Italian electorate which was threatening to vote Communist at that time.
In the mid-1970s it was nominally owned by Chantal du Bois, the pen-name of Gabriella Lepore, housed in a central Rome (Via di Santa Maria in via 12) palazzo just off the Corso between the Parliament and the Trevi Fountain. The Daily American was produced and "put to bed" each early evening alongside the production of the small daily house organ of the centrist PSDI (Italian Social Democratic Party). A Daily American radio station was also on site, with bi-lingual deejays broadcasting wire-service news and contemporary pop music. Unionized Italian typographers worked with an English-speaking, some bilingual, editorial staff of self-exiled Vietnam era expatriates, expat holdovers from World War II, and a cadre of American "interns" imported from top U.S. journalism schools—all under low wages of 250 thousand lire per month (US dollar then at approximately 1 to 650 lire). The paper's earlier CIA connections were by then overstated if at all even existent, as daily operations were overseen by the avuncular former AP career journalist, the iconic Iowan turned Roman, Jim Long.
Under union strife in 1977, much of the Daily American staff bolted to the then newly founded International Daily News (its founder having connections through his American father with the original Daily American), many of those same baby-boomer staffers eventually going on to careers in journalism with American publications and services such as United Press International (UPI), Associated Press (AP), Congressional Quarterly, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, NPR, and other publications, some also moving into academia in Italian-related studies and publications.
Veteran Daily American critics such as John Francis Lane (film), featured with Gore Vidal in Federico Fellini's Roma, and Brendan Fitzgerald (dance) were icons of the Roman arts scene when many said the Eternal City was dead.
It went into receivership in 1984. At that time, it was publishing 15,000 papers. Competition from the tabloid International Daily News, in 1977, appeared to hasten its demise.
The American Magazine, published in Rome in English takes its name from the Rome Daily American.
Notes and references
- Papers of John Martin Mecklin retrieved April 23, 2008
- Time magazine retrieved April 23, 2008
- Living Abroad in Italy retrieved April 23, 2008
- "Operation Mockingbird". Spartacus Educational. 2008-04-23.
- [Ty Geltmaker Daily American journalist, 1976-77, personal reminiscence]
- NY Times retrieved April 23, 2008
- The American Magazine.com
- Nathanielsz, Ronnie (May 19, 2007), "Michael Keon: From sports to politics", Manila Standard Today, retrieved 2008-04-23
- The Practice of Newspaper Management retrieved April 23, 2008
- The American Magazine.com retrieved June 30, 2009