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The fall of the Union-Tribune’s Copleys

Sex discrimination at the Tribune, death of the Tribune, David’s new house, Nixon-Copley letters, Morgan’s embarrassing book on Dr. Seuss, David’s DUIs

Copley postmortem coverage in the Evening Tribune, October 8, 1973. Just as his massive printing plant was opening in Mission Valley, Jim Copley died in a La Jolla hospital bed.
Copley postmortem coverage in the Evening Tribune, October 8, 1973. Just as his massive printing plant was opening in Mission Valley, Jim Copley died in a La Jolla hospital bed.

Copley, Morgan Depositions Show Loose Reins at Tribune

Copley maintained she makes it a policy not to attend any board meetings. When an attorney asked, "Under what circumstances would [Morgan] discuss with you matters that would appear on the editorial page?" Copley replied: "None." Asked why, she replied: because she goes to all the editorial board meetings at the Union, but not the Tribune.... They're two different newspapers. And the editorial page of the San Diego Union is a Republican reflection, which I am.

By Matt Potter, Sept. 5, 1991 | Read full article

1981-1991: The 1980s brought a spiffy new logo for the paper, which dropped the Sun and Journal credits and shortened its name to The Tribune. In 1989 it became the San Diego Tribune.

Madam, God Himself Could Not Raise This Ship!

At 8:30 a.m., when Morgan officially broke the news to the Tribune staff, he said, " Helen Copley… this was not a casual and mercenary decision … volunteered yesterday to come down here and break the news with me but finally decided she'd better not, because, she said, 'I think I'd break out in tears.'" One reporter quipped, Yeah, I hear she's real choked up." Another added, "If she came down here, she'd be choked, all right."

By Thomas K. Arnold, Sept. 19, 1991 | Read full article

Fox Hole. David's mother, U-T publisher Helen Copley, lives at a nearby estate known as Fox Hill.

Out Foxed

Today, David Copley’s 3000-square-foot home on Virginia Way is almost unnoticed by passersby. A black metal fox weathervane turns with the wind atop the house, nicknamed "Fox Hole."

The new Fox Hole will be more of a fortress, as plans call for tearing down the house next door, building a much larger structure, and attaching it to Copley's current home. The new mansion, combined with a guest house and pool room, will total 8859 square feet.

By Cathy Scott and Steve Waterstrat, Sept. 10, 1992 | Read full article

Cleaver and 24 other dealers refused to sign the final contract. As of last Saturday night, they have all been put out of business.

The Union-Tribune’s Midnight Massacre

According to Drasnin, the trouble began a year ago, when Pat Hazel, the Union-Tribune's director of marketing, held a meeting with 15 of the largest distributors. He informed them of the paper's plan to cut the number of distributors from 52 to 40 by eliminating a dozen routes, Drasnin says. The top 15 dealers simply wouldn't go for that "He was, saying, in effect, 'We can make you bigger and better at the expense of your peers.'”

By Thomas K. Arnold, Aug. 5, 1993 | Read full article

The Nixon campaign travels down Broadway in San Diego, October 1956. Copley knew Nixon even before he ran for Congress.

Dear Dick: The San Diego Union, Evening Tribune, and Nixon: A Romance in Letters

Nixon to Copley: “The ride down and back in your spic-and-span new plane, the superb dinner which you hosted jointly with Arnholdt Smith, and the Kiwanis luncheon will always stand out in my memory. But most thoughtful of all was your taking the time and trouble to fly clear back to the Los Angeles Airport with me. I only hope that you got home in time to get at least a reasonable night’s sleep!

By Matt Potter, July 28, 1994 | Read full article

Copley postmortem coverage, San Diego Evening Tribune, October 8, 1973 Copley's widow Helen assumed complete control over the newspaper chain and announced that there would be major changes.

Critics Pan Green Morgan and Ham

The consensus among book reviewers is that the Morgans were more interested in building up their famous friend and fellow La Jollan than in recounting, and reflecting on, his life as it really was, warts and all. Jan Winburn, in the Baltimore Sun, calls the Morgans’ book “an adoring depiction of the man who was the biographers’ neighbor, a book that is fascinating in detail but lacking in interpretation. It’s a lollapalooza. But insight? Go figure.”

By Thomas K. Arnold, June 8, 1995 | Read full article

Union-Tribune’s Self-ish History

In 1977, investigative reporter Harold Keen wrote an exposé on what he called “The Great Triple Alliance” that he said was running San Diego: Pete Wilson, Richard Silberman, and Helen Copley. In his piece about Jim Copley’s newly empowered widow, Keen described Silberman, a wealthy Democrat who would later marry then-county supervisor Susan Golding and then be convicted of federal money-laundering charges, as a “successful businessman who has become a power broker to match the Smith-Alessio period.”

By Thomas K. Arnold, April 25, 1996 | Read full article

Drunken Rowdies

David Copley, chief executive officer of his mother's Copley Press, has been arrested for driving under the influence and is set for arraignment this morning at the downtown courthouse. This is at least the third DUI arrest for Copley, who was appointed U-T publisher a year ago. He was busted in La Jolla in 1986 and in South Mission Beach in December 1989, and did time at a county work camp after the latter conviction.

By Matt Potter, April 4, 2002 | Read full article

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Copley postmortem coverage in the Evening Tribune, October 8, 1973. Just as his massive printing plant was opening in Mission Valley, Jim Copley died in a La Jolla hospital bed.
Copley postmortem coverage in the Evening Tribune, October 8, 1973. Just as his massive printing plant was opening in Mission Valley, Jim Copley died in a La Jolla hospital bed.

Copley, Morgan Depositions Show Loose Reins at Tribune

Copley maintained she makes it a policy not to attend any board meetings. When an attorney asked, "Under what circumstances would [Morgan] discuss with you matters that would appear on the editorial page?" Copley replied: "None." Asked why, she replied: because she goes to all the editorial board meetings at the Union, but not the Tribune.... They're two different newspapers. And the editorial page of the San Diego Union is a Republican reflection, which I am.

By Matt Potter, Sept. 5, 1991 | Read full article

1981-1991: The 1980s brought a spiffy new logo for the paper, which dropped the Sun and Journal credits and shortened its name to The Tribune. In 1989 it became the San Diego Tribune.

Madam, God Himself Could Not Raise This Ship!

At 8:30 a.m., when Morgan officially broke the news to the Tribune staff, he said, " Helen Copley… this was not a casual and mercenary decision … volunteered yesterday to come down here and break the news with me but finally decided she'd better not, because, she said, 'I think I'd break out in tears.'" One reporter quipped, Yeah, I hear she's real choked up." Another added, "If she came down here, she'd be choked, all right."

By Thomas K. Arnold, Sept. 19, 1991 | Read full article

Fox Hole. David's mother, U-T publisher Helen Copley, lives at a nearby estate known as Fox Hill.

Out Foxed

Today, David Copley’s 3000-square-foot home on Virginia Way is almost unnoticed by passersby. A black metal fox weathervane turns with the wind atop the house, nicknamed "Fox Hole."

The new Fox Hole will be more of a fortress, as plans call for tearing down the house next door, building a much larger structure, and attaching it to Copley's current home. The new mansion, combined with a guest house and pool room, will total 8859 square feet.

By Cathy Scott and Steve Waterstrat, Sept. 10, 1992 | Read full article

Cleaver and 24 other dealers refused to sign the final contract. As of last Saturday night, they have all been put out of business.

The Union-Tribune’s Midnight Massacre

According to Drasnin, the trouble began a year ago, when Pat Hazel, the Union-Tribune's director of marketing, held a meeting with 15 of the largest distributors. He informed them of the paper's plan to cut the number of distributors from 52 to 40 by eliminating a dozen routes, Drasnin says. The top 15 dealers simply wouldn't go for that "He was, saying, in effect, 'We can make you bigger and better at the expense of your peers.'”

By Thomas K. Arnold, Aug. 5, 1993 | Read full article

The Nixon campaign travels down Broadway in San Diego, October 1956. Copley knew Nixon even before he ran for Congress.

Dear Dick: The San Diego Union, Evening Tribune, and Nixon: A Romance in Letters

Nixon to Copley: “The ride down and back in your spic-and-span new plane, the superb dinner which you hosted jointly with Arnholdt Smith, and the Kiwanis luncheon will always stand out in my memory. But most thoughtful of all was your taking the time and trouble to fly clear back to the Los Angeles Airport with me. I only hope that you got home in time to get at least a reasonable night’s sleep!

By Matt Potter, July 28, 1994 | Read full article

Copley postmortem coverage, San Diego Evening Tribune, October 8, 1973 Copley's widow Helen assumed complete control over the newspaper chain and announced that there would be major changes.

Critics Pan Green Morgan and Ham

The consensus among book reviewers is that the Morgans were more interested in building up their famous friend and fellow La Jollan than in recounting, and reflecting on, his life as it really was, warts and all. Jan Winburn, in the Baltimore Sun, calls the Morgans’ book “an adoring depiction of the man who was the biographers’ neighbor, a book that is fascinating in detail but lacking in interpretation. It’s a lollapalooza. But insight? Go figure.”

By Thomas K. Arnold, June 8, 1995 | Read full article

Union-Tribune’s Self-ish History

In 1977, investigative reporter Harold Keen wrote an exposé on what he called “The Great Triple Alliance” that he said was running San Diego: Pete Wilson, Richard Silberman, and Helen Copley. In his piece about Jim Copley’s newly empowered widow, Keen described Silberman, a wealthy Democrat who would later marry then-county supervisor Susan Golding and then be convicted of federal money-laundering charges, as a “successful businessman who has become a power broker to match the Smith-Alessio period.”

By Thomas K. Arnold, April 25, 1996 | Read full article

Drunken Rowdies

David Copley, chief executive officer of his mother's Copley Press, has been arrested for driving under the influence and is set for arraignment this morning at the downtown courthouse. This is at least the third DUI arrest for Copley, who was appointed U-T publisher a year ago. He was busted in La Jolla in 1986 and in South Mission Beach in December 1989, and did time at a county work camp after the latter conviction.

By Matt Potter, April 4, 2002 | Read full article

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