The Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph was an evening daily newspaper published in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1927 to 1960. Part of the Hearst newspaper chain, it competed with the Pittsburgh Press and Post-Gazette until its eventual purchase by the latter paper. The Sun-Telegraph's ancestry, which includes the Chronicle Telegraph and the earlier Chronicle, stretches back to the first half of the 19th century.
The Morning Chronicle was established on June 26, 1841 by Richard George Berford. At first a semi-weekly paper, it became a daily on September 8 of the same year. The original editor was 19-year-old J. Heron Foster, who would later be the founding editor of the Spirit of the Age and the longer-lasting Pittsburgh Dispatch.
On August 30, 1851 the daily paper changed its time of issue, becoming the Evening Chronicle.
On January 2, 1884, the Pittsburgh Evening Chronicle merged with the Pittsburgh Telegraph (founded in 1873 as the Pittsburgh Evening Telegraph) to form the Pittsburgh Chronicle Telegraph.
In October 1900 the paper sponsored the Chronicle Telegraph Cup, a postseason baseball series won by the Brooklyn Superbas over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Held only once, the contest was a precursor to the current World Series.
Iron and steel manufacturer George T. Oliver, later a U.S. senator, purchased the evening Chronicle Telegraph in November 1900 to complement the morning paper he had acquired earlier in the year, the Commercial Gazette. The papers were soon housed under the same roof and frequently exchanged or shared staff members. In 1915 a new eight-story building on the current site of the U.S. Steel Tower became the home of the Chronicle Telegraph along with Oliver's morning paper, which was then known as the Gazette Times.
Upon the death of George T. Oliver in 1919, control of the Chronicle Telegraph and Gazette Times passed to his sons George S. and Augustus K. Oliver.
On August 1, 1927, William Randolph Hearst completed a purchase of the two Oliver papers, including the building. He coordinated the transaction with publisher Paul Block, who at the same time became owner of another morning-evening combination: the Pittsburgh Post and its 1906 offshoot, the Sun. An immediately ensuing trade between the two buyers gave Hearst both evening dailies, which he merged to form the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, while Block created the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from the two morning papers. The first issues of the new publications rolled off the presses the next day. The deal stipulated that the Sun-Telegraph, but not the Post-Gazette, would publish on Sundays, even though the latter paper's predecessors had Sunday editions and the former's did not. The combined Sunday circulation that the Post-Gazette would have inherited was instead transferred to the Sunday Sun-Telegraph.
The Sun-Telegraph was patterned after Hearst's other twenty-five newspapers in its use of screaming headlines, large type, sensational reporting, unconventional picture layouts, splashes of color, and front-page box scores.
In the 1950s the "Sun-Telly" was losing subscribers and advertisers to its direct competitor in the evening and Sunday fields, the Pittsburgh Press, and to a lesser degree the Post-Gazette. The Post-Gazette's co-publisher William Block Sr. later recalled that "The Press, which had a great deal of newer equipment, was in a position to give later news, better distribution, and was killing [the Sun-Telegraph] on Sunday."
Sale and aftermath
In 1960 the Hearst organization sold the foundering paper along with its building to the Post-Gazette. The deal turned out badly for the purchaser: The Sunday paper it inherited was unprofitable; the Sun-Telegraph building, which served as the new Post-Gazette headquarters, was uncomfortable and inefficient; and many former Sun-Telegraph customers, preferring to remain evening readers, switched to the Pittsburgh Press. These problems helped spur the Post-Gazette to enter into a joint operating agreement with the stronger Press in the following year.
The Sun-Telegraph lived on in its successor's altered title, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Sun-Telegraph, although the latter portion of that combined name was very soon relegated to a subtitle whose font size gradually shrunk to tiny proportions over a period of little more than two years. In 1978 the barely noticeable subtitle finally disappeared from the nameplate.
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