The Los Angeles Times: from civic boosterism to a new journalistic era
Largely focused on local issues, the Los Angeles Times of the 19th to mid-20th century was less of a news source as it was an instrument of Republican values and civic boosterism for a growing city. From 1882 until his death in 1917, publisher Harrison Gray Otis utilized the Times to promote the interests of the business community, and populate anti-union rhetoric. His son-in-law and successor, Harry Chandler leveraged the paper’s influence in his investments in real estate, manufacturing, and tourism, helping to build the city into a thriving metropolis. It was, as historian David Halberstam describes, "the paper of the Los Angeles business establishment, the paper of the powerful and the rich" (The Powers that Be, 107)
The transformation of journalism throughout the mid-20th century into a profession of engaged, fair critique, began to reveal the biased and parochial character of the LA Times. However, the paper’s journalistic quality improved when Otis Chandler succeeded his father Harry as publisher in 1960. He increased the editorial budget, expanded reporting of international affairs, and instituted balanced coverage of political issues.
The advertisement above featuring Henry reflects the changing values of the paper during the 1960s. Although the Times formally endorsed Nixon in the 1960 presidential election, Chandler's personal politics were more aligned with Kennedy. This election was the first instance in which the Times covered both Republican and Democratic candidates in a presidential election.