Chronicle names Oppedahl publisher, Bronstein exec editor

SAN FRANCISCO - The Hearst Corp. named John F. Oppedahl publisher and Phil Bronstein executive editor of its newly acquired San Francisco Chronicle.

Hearst, which bought the paper last summer in a deal in which it sold its flagship San Francisco Examiner, begins publishing the Chronicle next week.

In other appointments announced Thursday, Matthew F. Wilson, the Chronicle's executive editor, was named executive vice president and associate publisher. The Chronicle's current managing editor, Jerry Roberts, will be vice president and managing editor.

Steven B. Falk, president of the San Francisco News Agency, has been named president, associate publisher and chief operating officer.

''We have put together one of the strongest teams in the newspaper business today,'' said George Irish, president of Hearst Newspapers.

Hearst, which operated the Examiner since 1887, purchased its more successful rival, the morning Chronicle, in August 1999 for $660 million.

Antitrust questions arose, but Hearst ultimately satisfied the U.S. Justice Department by selling the afternoon Examiner to Ted Fang, publisher of the free San Francisco Independent.

Included in the deal was a $66 million subsidy, to be paid to Fang over three years.

Hearst's appointments were announced as it geared up for the first run of its new Northern California flagship, scheduled for Wednesday. Fang's new Examiner will begin publication the same day.

Oppedahl, who will also be chief executive officer and chairman of the Chronicle, was most recently publisher, chairman and chief executive officer of Phoenix Newspapers Inc. He spent 11 years as executive editor and publisher of The Arizona Republic.

Bronstein, who will also be senior vice president of the Chronicle, currently is executive editor of the Examiner.

''I think they were understandable choices, and we're happy it's finally been made,'' Bronstein said.

Separately, Hearst said Thursday that a report by retired federal judge Charles Renfrew cleared the Examiner's former publisher, Timothy White, of allegations he offered to trade favorable editorial treatment for Mayor Willie Brown in exchange for the mayor's support for a Hearst-Chronicle deal.

White testified about the offer during a May 2000 antitrust trial brought by local businessman Clint Reilly, who attempted to block the Chronicle sale.

Renfrew's report concluded that White had never made such an offer.

''We believe that even if White had made such an offer, it had no impact on the content of the Examiner's editorials and news stories regarding Mayor Brown,'' Renfrew's report said.

White was placed on leave of absence immediately following his testimony. He has since resigned to pursue other interests.

''I am pleased Judge Renfrew concluded that neither I, nor anyone else, ever compromised the journalistic integrity of the newspaper,'' White said in a statement.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment