Years before Hollywood officially became a city, its desirable attributes were touted to prospective residents in founding father Joseph Wesley Young's news magazine, The Hollywood Reporter. Its debut in February 1922 began a long tradition of hometown news coverage that the Hollywood Gazette, celebrating its eighth anniversary this month, proudly continues.
Hollywood's growth during its early years and its future plans were diligently chronicled in the monthly Reporter by editor and writer O.E. Behymer. Billed on its masthead as "A Florida Magazine with a National Appeal," The Hollywood Reporter started as a house organ, a newspaper or magazine published by a company as a means of promoting its products or services. It evolved into a local publishing empire.
The Hollywood Publishing Co. was one of numerous departments created under Young's business enterprise, the Hollywood Land and Water Co. Within a year and a half, the Reporter had grown from a four-page sheet with a mailing list of fewer than 2,000 addresses to an eight-page slick paper news bulletin with a circulation of 10,000 copies and a broadened focus that included interests in other parts of Florida.
The September 1924 issue saw a name change to The Hollywood Magazine to reflect the publication's loftier aspirations. Yet another name change came in 1926 with the March /June edition of South, which thereafter was a monthly publication that was printed, as were all the others, at the Young company's own plant.
Young also published the city's very first newspaper, the Hollywood News, which debuted in January 1924. It was sold five years later to South Broward publisher Leo Stetson, who would also soon take over the Hollywood Herald, another early, local newspaper.
A stormy political climate contributed to a proliferation of competing publications by opposing local factions, including scandal sheets such as the Free Press and the Kit-Kat. At one time, Hollywood had four free, local newspapers, each with its own political interest. Among the early publications were the Daily News of Hollywood, West Hollywood Reporter, West Hollywood Press and South Broward News.
The three dailies at the time, The Miami News, The Miami Herald and the Fort Lauderdale Daily News, also maintained bureaus in Hollywood. The areas existing daily newspapers, The Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel, continue to cover Hollywood news and features.
The most familiar of the now defunct local publications was the popular Hollywood Sun-Tattler. Its origin dates back to 1932, when a colonel on the governor's staff, Wallace Stevens, arrived in town and started the weekly South Broward Tattler, prompting a local newspaper war. T.S. McNicol, the city's former postmaster, established the weekly Hollywood Sun in January 1935. Six years later, Stevens bought the Hollywood News, which died the following year with the birth of the weekly Hollywood Sun-Tattler, a merger of The Hollywood Sun and the South Broward Tattler in early 1942.
The Hollywood Sun-Tattler became a twice-weekly paper in 1952 and expanded to three days a week in 1957, publishing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Cincinnati-based media giant E.W. Scripps Co., the Hollywood Sun-Tattler's owner since 1965, dropped Hollywood from the paper's name in 1983. Six years later, The Sun-Tattler became known as The Hollywood Sun.
Despite the name changes, Hollywood's hometown paper was consistent on one point in its later years: It not only reported local news but often made news. Highlights include:
Oct. 17, 1984: The newspaper's printing presses burst into flames, damaging six presses worth nearly $6 million. The 35,000-circulation, six-day-a-week paper is printed at The Fort Lauderdale News for almost two weeks.
Sept. 24, 1986: An undercover police officer confiscates the film of two Sun-Tattler photographers, prompting a $3 million lawsuit against the Hollywood Police Department later settled for $12,000 in damages and legal expenses and the creation of a new policy prohibiting officers from confiscating materials from members of the news media.
October 1988 : Following a decade-long newspaper war over readers in booming South Broward, E.W. Scripps puts The Sun-Tattler up for sale. Within days, 10 prospective buyers make inquiries.
February 1989 : Scripps announces the sale of The Sun-Tattler to a group of Dallas investors, DTH Media Inc.
March 1990: The community newspaper now known again as The Hollywood Sun lays off 40 percent of its staff and cuts back its publishing schedule from six days a week to three.
Dec. 24, 1991: The Hollywood Sun stops the presses. Its owners release a statement saying the paper would be closing indefinitely pending a business review. Three months later, they file for bankruptcy.
At the height of its popularity, the community newspaper filled with local politics and letters to the editor reached a circulation of 43,000. The demolition of its landmark former home, a three-story building on Sheridan Street just west of Interstate 95 in September 1994 was a dramatic end to an important chapter in Hollywood's history.
South Broward publications with Hollywood coverage that have both come and gone in recent years include the weekly Beach Digest, Hollywood Magazine and The Digest, which was published by Miami's Community Newspapers.
The Hallandale Digest, a weekly newspaper whose coverage area included Hollywood, closed its doors after nearly 40 years in September 2002, and shortly after several longtime employees left to start their own weekly publication. The South Florida Sun Times also publishes in Hallandale Beach but includes Hollywood in its coverage.
Current Hollywood-based publications are Hollywood 360˚, a local arts, culture and entertainment magazine produced by the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood with the City of Hollywood participating as a sponsor; and Cahoots, a quarterly publication that focuses on news and nonsense, in the words of publisher Jeff Hansen. "[We] like to make up stuff and see how many people believe it."
Today, nearly nine decades after J.W. Young pioneered hometown news publishing, the Hollywood Gazette remains the only Hollywood-specific newspaper. Established in September 1991, the monthly paper is independently owned and published by Michael Brown with a circulation of 25,000 and 3,600 subscribers.
"While the future of the print industry is being affected by emerging new online and smart phone applications, small niche publications like ours have an advantage because we can quickly adapt to the changing needs and interests of our readers. We've been working on our Web site component consistently for almost four years now," said Hollywood Gazette's general manager Jennifer Sandomir. "Our online edition is updated daily with video and interactive features like reader polls, contests and new ways for the public to interact with their community. For example, when Facebook users leave us comments, those comments instantly integrate with their Facebook 'wall.' Of course you can follow us on Twitter and become a fan of our page on Facebook. Soon there will even be an 'app' for us. It's a really exciting time to be in this industry."
"We are also the only Hollywood newspaper that provides readers with a free subscription mailed to their homes each month," added Sandomir.
Readers are encouraged to sign up for the subscription online at www.hollywoodgazette.com or call