a media industry resource

Tribune group: Chronology


This chronology is indicative only. It covers -

  • Antecedents (1819)
  • Beginnings (1884)
  • Expansion (1924)
  • Convergence and churn (1970)
  • Times Mirror and Tribune merger (2000)

Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site. More detailed coverage of the LA Times and the former Times-Mirror group is provided in the supplementary profile for that group.


1819 James Patrick Medill founds weekly Tuscarawas Chronicle

1847 Cyrus Hall McCormick (1809-1884) opens harvester manufacturing plant in Chicago

1849 Joseph Medill (1823-99) establishes Coshocton Republican

1851 Medill founds Daily Forest City in Cleveland

1848 first issue of Chicago Tribune

1855 Chicago Tribune purchased by Joseph Medill (1823-1899)

1861 Wilbur Storey buys the Chicago Times for $13,000. Storey instructs his correspondents during the Civil War "Telegraph fully all news and when there is no news send rumors."

1873 Mirror Printing Office & Book Bindery begins printing Los Angeles Weekly Mirror

1881 Nathan Cole & Thomas Gardiner start Los Angeles Daily Times

1882 Colonel Harrison Gray Otis becomes partner in LA Daily Times & Weekly Mirror


1884 Times-Mirror Company incorporated

1894 Harry Chandler marries Marian Otis, daughter of Harrison Gray Otis

1905 Chandler & Otis make fortune through property speculation when Owens River diverted to Los Angeles

1910 LA Times building destroyed, allegedly by anarchists

1910 McCormick and Patterson cousins share control of Chicago Tribune after death of Medill Patterson

1912 Tribune builds paper mill in Ontario, basis of later QUNO pulp & paper group

1918 Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate formed

1919 Joseph Medill Patterson founds tabloid New York Illustrated Daily News, for a generation the largest circulation US newspaper


1924 Tribune buys Chicago radio station WDAP, renamed WGN

1924 Joseph Medill Patterson found Liberty magazine

1925 Pattersons sell stake in Chicago Tribune; Robert McCormick becomes sole owner

1925 Tribune Tower completed

1927 Times Mirror sells radio station KHJ

1928 The Front Page by Chicago Journal reporter Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur

1930 Eleanor Medill 'Cissy' Patterson, sister of Joseph Medill Patterson, edits Hearst's Washington Herald

1937 Patterson leases Washington Herald and Times

1937 Tribune's Baie Comeau newsprint mill opens

1938 Hedda Hopper begins Hollywood gossip column in LA Times, competing with Louella Parsons of Hearst's Los Angeles Examiner

1939 Cissy Patterson establishes Washington Times-Herald

1940 Alicia Patterson, daughter of Joseph Medill Patterson, founds Newsday

1948 McCormick establishes WGN-TV in Chicago

1948 launches WPIX-TV New York

1955 death of Robert McCormick

1956 Tribune buys Chicago's American (formerly Chicago Herald American)

1963 buys Fort Lauderdale-based Sun-Sentinel

1965 buys Orlando Sentinel

1966 buys KWGN-TV Denver

1969 Chicago's American relaunched as Chicago Today

Convergence and churn

1970 Times Mirror buys controlling interest in Newsday

1973 Tribune buys Valley News & Green Sheet (later renamed Los Angeles Daily News) in California from Markham and Mendenhall families for US$25m

1974 Chicago Today launched

1978 buys Palo Alto Times and Redwood City Tribune for US$28m, merges titles

1981 Tribune Broadcasting Company founded

1981 Tribune buys Chicago Cubs baseball team from Wrigley family for US$20.5m

1982 Tribune Entertainment Company founded

1983 Tribune becomes public company

1983 buys WGNO-TV New Orleans

1984 buys WGNX-TV Atlanta

1985 buys KTLA-TV Los Angeles for US$510m

1985 sells Los Angeles Daily News to Jack Kent Cooke, former partner of Roy Thomson

1986 buys Newport News Daily Press

1988 buys Palo Altos Times, Los Altos Crier, Redwood City Tribune and other Meredith Publishing newspapers (subsequently sold or closed)

1988 sells WPIX-FM radio to Emmis

1991 Tribune takes 10% stake in AOL for US$5m

1991 offloads New York Daily News to Maxwell

1991 buys Taft Broadcasting (inc WPHL-TV Philadelphia)

1993 launches CLTV Chicago area 24-hour all-news cable channel

1993 buys Comptons Multimedia

1993 buys Contemporary Books

1993 sells Daily News

1993 closes Palo Alto Times

1993 sells major stake in QUNO Corporation

1993 buys Wright Group publishing for US$100m

1994 sells further 25% stake in QUNO

1994 buys WLVI-TV Boston for US$25m

1994 buys Farm Journal Inc for US$17.5m

1995 acquires equity interest in The WB Television Network

1995 sells QUNO stake

1995 takes stake in Atlanta station WATL

1996 buys KHWB-TV Houston and KSWB-TV San Diego

1997 buys Renaissance Communications (6 tv stations inc KDAF-TV Dallas and WBZL-TV Miami) for US$1.1bn

1997 sells PR News Service to United News & Media

1997 Tribune sells WQCD FM in New York to Emmis

1998 acquires KTWB-TV Seattle

1998 acquires WXMI-TV Grand Rapids

1999 buys WBDC-TV Washington, D.C. and WEWB-TV Albany

1999 trades WGNX-TV Atlanta for KCPQ-TV Seattle


2000 Tribune group buys Times Mirror group for US$6.5bn

2000 sells Tribune Education to McGraw-Hill for US$680m

2000 sells AchieveGlobal to IIR for US$100m

2000 sells The Sporting News (est 1886) to Paul Allen of Microsoft for cUS$100m

2000 sells Jeppesen Sanderson (Times Mirror mapping arm) to Boeing for US$1.5bn

2000 Tribune buys Qwest Broadcasting - WATL-TV Atlanta and WNOL-TV New Orleans

2001 sells Denver radio stations KOSI-FM, KKHK-FM, and KEZW-AM for US$180m

2001 buys stake (with Baker & Taylor parent Carlyle Group) in

2001 buys Maryland Family Magazine

2001 Tribune, CareerBuilder and Knight Ridder buy

2002 Tribune buys WTTK-TV Kokomo from Sinclair for US$125m

2002 buys WTTV-TV Indianapolis

2002 buys Chicago magazine from Primedia for US$35m

2002 Donohue buys QUNO for C$1.1bn

2003 Tribune invests in amNewYork daily newspaper in New York City

2003 buys PLR-TV (WB11) St Louis and KWBP-TV (WB32) Portland from ACME Communications for US$275m

2003 RedEye edition of Tribune launched

2003 launches Hoy in Chicago

2004 launches Hoy in Los Angeles

2004 Tribune, Gannett and Knight Ridder acquire CrossMedia Services and launch

2006 Tribune buys

2006 Tribune announces plan to buy back 20% of stock

2006 sells Atlanta television station WATL to Gannett for US$180m

2006 acquires full control of amNewYork from co-founder Russel Pergament and management group

2006 sells WCWN-TV Albany for US$17m