Our History

The San Francisco Examiner was founded in 1863 as the Democratic Press, a pro-Confederacy paper. After Lincoln's assassination, the paper's offices were destroyed by a mob and starting June 12, 1865; the paper was called the Daily Examiner.

In 1880, mining engineer and businessman George Hearst took over The Examiner, reportedly as payment for a gambling debt. When he became a U.S. senator seven years later, he gave the paper to his son, William Randolph Hearst, who was 23 years old.

The paper's popularity increased considerably, with the help of such writers as Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain and Jack London. Hearst also pushed sensational coverage and foreign news and gave The Examiner its "Monarch of the Dailies" moniker.

Through the middle of the 20th century, The Examiner was one of several dailies competing for readership in The City and the Bay Area. In 1965, The Examiner and the Chronicle established a joint operating agreement in which the Chronicle published a morning paper and The Examiner published in the afternoon.

As part of a deal to purchase the Chronicle in 2000, the Hearst Corp. sold The Examiner to the politically connected Fang family. San Francisco political consultant and real estate investor Clint Reilly filed a lawsuit against Hearst, charging that the arrangement did not ensure two competitive newspapers. However, a federal judge let the Fangs take control of The Examiner.

In 2004, the Fangs sold The Examiner and its printing plant to the Clarity Media Group. Clarity sold The Examiner to Black Press Group in 2011.

In January 2021, Clint Reilly Communications, which owns the Nob Hill Gazette, announced its purchase of The Examiner and SF Weekly. In April 2021, Reilly assembled a new leadership team to expand The Examiner's coverage of The City and San Mateo County.


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