L.A. Herald Examiner Almost 20 Year Reunion

Here’s video of the whole program. Daily News Photos

Stills: Jim Bellows Jim Bellows Andrea Raymond Joe Morgenstern, WSJ film critic Alex Ben Block Mary Ann Dolan, Jim Bellows Mary Ann Dolan, Jim Bellows Bobby Shriver, Alex Ben Block Jim Bellows Jim Bellows Jim Bellows Jim Bellows Linda Breakstone Linda Breakstone Linda Breakstone Who? Peter Rainer who? who? Mary Ann Dolan, Jim Bellows Mary Ann Dolan, Jim Bellows Joe Morgenstern who? who?

During the 90-minute shmoozing time, I felt completely lost without Cathy Seipp. I’d always attended these things with her and she’d introduce me around and help smooth over my rough edges.

If she wasn’t there, she’d tell me to give her a detailed write-up of all the horrible things I said.

Now what’s the point?

There may be people who loved Cathy more than I did but there’s no man who feels more utterly bereft.

I sat in the corner and read a book (Front Page Girls: Women Journalists in American Culture and Fiction, 1880-1930 by Jean Marie Lutes) while the room filled up with people excited to see each other.

In 1905, Edwin L. Shuman wrote in his book Practical Journalism: "Repertorial work rubs the bloom off a woman much more quickly than school-teaching or employment in a business office. The paper takes all her strength, and robs her of almost all social life and of many feminine characteristics."

Well, this bloke never met the Marianne bird I met last night. She used to edit the Herald Examiner and she’s lost none of her femininity. She’s all woman and she brought Jim Bellows with her, the lucky old geezer.

After the program, I went outside and asked Ron Kaye, Editor of the L.A. Daily News, why his paper did not run Tony Castro’s news-breaking January 2007 piece that detailed how Mayor Villaraigosa was not wearing his wedding ring and was not being seen in public with his wife.

Kaye said the story was not solid enough to publish. It was fine for a blogger to publish it, but a newspaper has to be more responsible. It was not enough the mayor was not wearing his wedding ring, the paper had to be sure it meant something.

A mayor or governor or president screwing around is not automatically news to Ron Kaye. He finds it entertaining but there has to be more going on than screwing for it to become "News."

I disagree. I want to know who the mayor or president is sleeping with because that person will likely have influence.

Kevin Roderick blogs:

For last week’s reunion of Los Angeles Herald Examiner alums, organizer Alex Ben Block, columnist for Hollywood Today.net, and Josh Kleinbaum, managing editor of interactive for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, put together a slide show of old pictures from the paper. Here it is; click on the slides to see the whole thing bigger or for caption info.

If the slides don’t appear, click here. HerEx graduate John Schwada, now at Fox 11, blogs about the reunion:

The Herald-Examiner was to me what the Great Depression and WWII were to my parents (sorry, Mom and Dad, that’s probably a stretch, maybe even sacreligious). In other words, working for that newspaper produced great horrors, adventures and joys…

Let me say, without fear of contradiction, that for ten years the Herald-Examiner was an experiment in anti-journalism. It was the creation of eccentrics who loved the news and were guided by a desire to get scoops and upset the city’s sacred cows; it told stories while others pontificated; its reporters ducked under the police tape at crime scenes to find out what really happened while other papers waited for the official version.

Also: Frank Girardot blogged about the event for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Susan Christian Goulding devoted her weekly column in the Daily Breeze to her personal feelings about the reunion. And here’s a link to my KCRW commentary pegged to the evening.

Here’s the press release:

HOLLYWOOD, CA. Los Angeles Daily News Editor, Ron Kaye, former KCBS political editor, Linda Breakstone, Los Angeles Times’ “Top of the Ticket” editor, Don Frederick, and Santa Monica City Councilmember, Bobby Shriver, will join moderator and show business historian, Alex Ben Block, and a distinguished gathering of Her Ex alumni next week to discuss the paper’s lasting influence.  It is affectionately being called “A Return to Corky’s: The Ultimate Herald Examiner Almost-20th Reunion Party.”

For that evening, the Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard will take the place of Corky’s, the notorious newspaper bar that was across the street from the Herald Examiner’s Spanish Mission-style building in downtown L.A. for many years—and served as the main watering hole and refuge for much of the staff.

"We’re going to celebrate not only a great newspaper, but a great newspaper bar," says Chris Woodyard of USA Today, who is President of the L.A. Press Club and a former Her Ex reporter. "Both are important pieces of Los Angeles history."

There will be a spirited panel discussion moderated by Block, who is an author, columnist, broadcaster and show business historian. He is former editor of The Hollywood Reporter and TelevisionWeek and an Associate Editor of Forbes, who now writes a column for Hollywood Today (HollywoodToday.net) 

“This is a way to recall when L.A. had a second metropolitan newspaper, with a much brasher, bolder attitude, that once was the largest afternoon paper in the country,” says Block. “The Her Ex’s brash style in many ways better reflects the way news is delivered in the cyber world than more conservative old line papers, and so the lively spirit of the paper has lived on.”

Legendary former Her Ex editor James G. “Jim” Bellows is expected to try and attend but is in fragile health, and his participation will depend on his condition at that time. The entire event is dedicated to him, and he will be honored during the program.

It has been 19 years since the Los Angeles Herald Examiner last rolled its presses, ending a Southern California newspaper publishing legacy that dated back to 1871. Since then, former Herald Examiner editorial employees have gone on to top positions at the L.A. Times, the Daily News, television, radio, online and many other places, some now serving in the government they once covered. Now the Her Ex alumni are gathering from around the state, around the country and around the world and all over Southern California.

During the event, there will be an original multi-media presentation featuring historic pictures from the Los Angeles Public Library Collection of Herald Examiner Photos. Many of the images by Herald photographers over the years were donated to the library 19 years ago but have not been seen since. One goal of the evening will be to encourage the preservation of the more than 70,000 photos from the Herald photo collection, and to see funding provided to digitalize them for posterity, according to Block and Woodyard.

The panelists include:

·          Ron Kaye, who since August 2005 has been Editor of The Daily News of Los Angeles, after serving as managing editor since 1993. Besides the Her Ex, he has been a reporter and editor at the Associated Press, Newsweek and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

·         Linda Breakstone, who after the Her Ex, was Political Editor of KCBS-TV for eleven years, and before that on air at KABC-TV for five years.

·         Don Frederick, who joined the Los Angeles Times in 1989 after the Her Ex folded and has worked in their Washington bureau since 1996, covering everything from the impeachment of President Clinton to 9/11, as well as all of the presidential campaigns. He currently writes for the Top of The Ticket political blog, one of the Times most heavily trafficked web attractions.

·         Robert Sargent "Bobby" Shriver III, who is an attorney and  City Councilmember in Santa Monica, California,  as well as President of an entertainment and philanthropic company. A member of the Kennedy family, Bobby Shriver was hired by Bellows to work at the Her Ex early in his career.

Along with the panelists, distinguished members of the audience will reminisce and discuss the lasting imprint of one of the city’s most colorful newspapers at a time that all newspapers are under the microscope, during a time of change for the media. 

The evening begins with a reception and networking starting at 6 p.m.; The tribute to Jim Bellows and program begin at 7:30 p.m.; A Her Ex Reunion Group photo and video immediately following the program. The Spirit of Corky’s bar will remain open until 11 pm. but mercifully there will be no karaoke.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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