Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Putting a Closed Newspaper to Bed: John McCabe Has Twice Accomplished the Task

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Putting a Closed Newspaper to Bed: John McCabe Has Twice Accomplished the Task

Article excerpt

Putting a closed newspaper to bed

The Los Angeles Herald Examiner is gone but it lives on for movie and television viewers, book publishers, P.R. writers and job seekers.

Just ask John J. McCabe, the newspaper's former general manager and chief operating executive, who had the sad task of gathering up the loose ends after it folded on Nov. 2, 1989.

McCabe's official employment with the Hearst Corp., the Herald's owner, ended in June 1990, but he still drops in occasionally to pick up mail.

It seems that news of the paper's demise has not reached some quaters. Even today, the postal carrier brings press releases, books for review, employment applications and other kinds of correspondence - even from some Hearst divisions.

The Spanish-style Herald building in downtown Los Angeles - an official historical landmark erected in 1915 - also continues to be a movie and tv shooting location. Productions include segments of the television series Murder, She Wrote, Mancuso-FBI and a Clint Eastwood flick, The Rookie.

In fact, according to McCabe, the reports of possible buyers for the Herald that floated around during its final days, mostly concerned the property alone.

"They were after the real estate," he recalled. "There were no serious investors who wanted to maintain a newspaper."

One exception was Robert Maxwell, British media magnate and new owner of the New York Daily News. He sent two emissaries who made a "cursory" examination of the paper, McCabe said. In addition to the main building at 1111 Broadway, Hearst owns another building nearby, which was used for newsprint storage and circulation. The entire property embraces over four acres.

The headquarters structure was designed by Julia Morgan. William Randolph Hearst was so impressed with her work that he named her the principal architect for the construction of the "Hearst Castle" at San Simeon, Calif., which is now a state-owned museum. In a way, the Herald Examiner, too, became a museum after its last press run.

His day-to-day activities after the daily died were deja vu for McCabe who, as its general manager, closed out the Philadelphia Bulletin in 1982. Previously, he had been with the New York Times for 30 years in several high positions up to senior vice president and director/administration for its affiliated companies.

At the Herald Examiner, there was over $4 million in accounts receivable, of which 90% has been collected, McCabe disclosed.

"We kept some of our financial people on staff who just went after them [customers], McCabe said. Three employees are still working in the building - a maintenance superintendent, financial officer and a personnel staffer handling worker benefits. …

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