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All in the Family

This story begins in 1951, with a brief liaison between Margaret Helen Kinney and John Hunt. She was a stenographer and he was a clerk at Borden dairy company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Margaret Helen Hunt, who went by her middle name, soon moved to San Diego with her widowed mother. They bought a small house on 54th Street, near University Avenue, and on January 31, 1952, at University Hospital, Helen gave birth to David Hunt.

Helen went to work as a secretary for the Union-Tribune Publishing Company, a part of the Copley newspaper chain. Eventually she became the secretary for the owner, Jim Copley.

By Don McCullough, Sept. 18, 2003 | Read full article


David Copley compound, 1252 Virginia Way. David Copley has invested millions buying up at least five houses on a block of La Jolla's Virginia Way.

End of an era

The latest round of what has become an age-old guessing game among San Diego media watchers kicked off last month when it was said that U-T scion David Copley had been rushed to an unidentified local hospital for heart surgery….

There has long been an unspoken but widespread concern about the health of 52-year-old Copley, who back in 2001 took over from his mother Helen as U-T publisher. Some 10 years ago he underwent quadruple bypass surgery, and his three driving-under-the-influence convictions in the past 16 years -- the most recent in April 2002 -- provided fodder for those who were convinced he was drinking too much for his own good.

By Matt Potter, Feb. 19, 2004 | Read full article


The Rise and Fall of the Copley Press

When Ira Clifton Copley of Aurora, Illinois, first saw San Diego on a trip with his ailing brother to the Hotel del Coronado in 1891, it was a dingy town on the southern fringe of California, a quick stopover on runs to the Mexican border, a bordello-filled paradise for Pacific Fleet sailors, a dead end for the railroad, a place of palm trees, whitewashed wood-frame cottages, and a blinding sun.

As reported by TIME magazine, Copley’s growing chain of 29 small-town daily newspapers, which he founded in 1905 when he purchased the Aurora Beacon, had been financed by “power trust” money and “connected with the interests of Samuel Insull, public utility pope of Chicago.”

By Matt Potter, Feb. 28, 2008 | Read full article


Who is the Union-Tribune's new owner?

Almost 60 years ago, Tom Joubran immigrated to the United States from the town of Nazareth, once part of Palestine, and began a new life in the suburbs of Flint, Michigan. A Maronite Christian, he fled his home, the Flint Journal would later recount, after being kidnapped and held for several days by marauding Jews, who then traded him and 5 other Arabs for the freedom of 15 Jews.

By Matt Potter, May 13, 2009 | Read full article


The downtown Bridgepoint building, once home to Great American Savings

Is U-T’s new downtown HQ jinxed?

A downtown office building built as the headquarters of fallen San Diego Republican kingpin Gordon Luce is soon to become a venue for what some media watchers anticipate will be the last stand of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The reincarnation of the 600 B Street high-rise, last year said to be set for partial conversion into a hotel, is redolent with the history of the city's collapsed political and financial empires of the past, and the more recent taint of a controversial tenant, whose name at the top of the building is now reportedly to be replaced by the newspaper's….

A photo of the building accompanying the piece appeared to have been altered to remove the current Bridgepoint sign.

By Matt Potter, Nov. 20, 2015 | Read full article


From the U-T, 4/1/04. U-T editor Karin Winner as saying she "wanted to set the record straight," but had been "asked not to talk about it at this time."

The end of the Neil Morgan era

Last week's surprise departure of Neil Morgan from the Union-Tribune after 54 years as a Copley scribe was shrouded in about as much confusion and contradiction as many of the columns he authored. A six-page statement written in the third person was handed around Morgan's lawyer's office during a late-afternoon news conference on Wednesday, March 31. It portrayed the columnist as a journalistic gigolo, cast off after decades of service to a mistress whom he had helped raise from poverty to the pinnacle of the city's most powerful institution.

By Matt Potter, April 8, 2004 | Read full article

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