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St. Louis Daily News History

Third St. Louis Daily Makes Debut; Small Staff, Big Ambitions At “News”

            Since the folding of the St. Louis Star-Times, St. Louis has been a two-newspaper town. With the arrival of the St. Louis Daily News, an evening daily, St. Louis is among the very few cities which can boast again of three dailies.

            The first issue, dated March 31 [1986], imitates the USA Today layout and use of color on its front and back covers as well as on the center spread. The rest of the 36-page tabloid, however, is printed in black only.

            The Daily News has a total staff of about 45 full-time employees and additional part-time help of about 55, says Marcus Tully II, publisher. His eight-person, full-time editorial and news staff includes Jack Flach, senior editor; Henry T. Vogt III, managing editor; John C. Shelton, metropolitan editor; Theresa M. Hengel, news editor; Kevin Hieronymus, sports editor; and reporters F. Harrison Elam, Barbara Koeppe, Joan Ladd, and Michael Grissom.

            The first issue drew heavily upon news services, particularly the Associated Press. About 62 percent of the news hole was supplied by such services, including its coverage of Jefferson City.

            The issue had 20.5 percent of paid advertising and 8.5 percent of house advertising.

            While Vogt said the paper will try to maintain a 70 percent news hole, Tully expressed hopes that the advertising percentage will increase sharply to at least 40 or 45 percent.

            Production difficulties delayed printing of the first issue, reducing distribution to half of the press run of 75,000. The presses at Arcade Printing started only at about 4:30 p.m. which ruled out downtown distribution.

            Because of the delay, advertising in the first-day issue will run again.

            The repeat advertising represented about 58 percent of the second-day advertising. Thus the issue only had 10 percent new advertising, and 14 percent repeat. The issue also had seven percent of house ads.

            The second-day issue of 32 pages devoted 64 percent of the news hole (69 percent of the issue) to copy from the Associated Press and other news services.

            In order to reach the guaranteed distribution of 55,000, says Tully, the paper will be distributed by “sampling” or free to selected west county neighborhoods.

            The prospects for the Daily News will depend not only on circulation and advertising but also upon the method of distribution. So far availability of the paper has been spotty. One of the reasons that the last St. Louis afternoon paper, the St. Louis Evening News, failed was its low circulation. According to former Globe management, it attained only a paid circulation of 12,000.

            History buffs may like to know that exactly 60 years ago a St. Louis Daily News, a media service company, was incorporated by Joseph Goldman for the purpose of distributing daily 60-minute news reports, daily photographic news services, daily comics for St. Louis publications, leased wire reports, and national advertising. The corporation forfeited its charter after two years, in 1928.

            The St. Louis Daily News is published Monday through Friday by National Web Printing, Inc. Jeffrey M. Gluck is president of the company.

            (Originally published in the St. Louis Journalism Review 4/1986).

 

The paper folded after six issues.