NYT’s Revisionist History Re: IHT

Smart Sam Roberts piece in Thursday’s New York Times about the pending demise of the International Herald Tribune brand.

06cityroom-trib4-blog480Fondly Recalling a ‘Writer’s Paper’ as a Name Goes Away

Ghostly vestiges of the gothic Herald Tribune logo still survive on the eastern facade of 230 West 41st Street in Midtown Manhattan, camouflaged by a faded Group Health Insurance emblem, and, more recently, dwarfed by the towering headquarters of The New York Times next door.

This fall, when The International Herald Tribune is rebranded as The International New York Times, that pallid logo atop The Trib’s former home may become the most visible remaining legacy of one of the great names of American journalism.

The Herald Tribune might be a subsidiary of the Times today, but back in the day it was an adversary of the Times:

[I]t was not for nothing that Richard Kluger titled his 1986 biography of The Herald Tribune “The Paper” – as if there were no other – and that so many journalists craved a job writing for a scrappy paper that proclaimed, its thumb defiantly planted in The Times’s eye, that a good newspaper didn’t have to be dull. (Among those actually hired were Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Dick Schaap, Red Smith and Pete Hamill.)

Even more irrestible:

The International Herald Tribune is the current incarnation of what began publishing in 1887 (as a European edition of the New York Herald) and became known as the Paris Herald and later the I.H.T.

The quirky paper based in Paris reflected James Gordon Bennett Jr.’s eccentricities (printing for 6,718 consecutive issues a bogus letter signed “Old Philadelphia Lady” that explained how to convert Celsius into Fahrenheit and vice versa).

It was also, as the Times piece notes, “immortalized by Hemingway and Fitzgerald (Jake Barnes and Dick Diver read it) and in ‘Breathless,’ the 1960 film in which Jean-Paul Belmondo’s girlfriend, Jean Seberg, plays an aspiring journalist who gets by hawking The Trib on Paris streets.”

But then comes this:

Beginning in 1967, the paper was operated jointly by the Whitney family, The Times and The Washington Post (The Times came first on the nameplate as a result of a coin toss). The Times became the sole owner in 2002.

Became the sole owner? More like muscled the Washington Post out.

C’mon, Timesniks. Be honest about yourself in your own pages.

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