The Baltimore Sun (officially, just The Sun) is Maryland’s largest general circulation daily newspaper and provides comprehensive coverage of local and regional news, events, issues, people, and industries. The Sun was founded on May 17, 1837, by printer Arunah Shepherdson Abell and two associates. The Abell family owned the paper through 1910, when the Black family gained a controlling interest. The paper was sold in 1986 to the Times-Mirror Company of Los Angeles. The same week, the rival Baltimore News American, owned by the Hearst Corporation, announced it would fold. The Sun, like most legacy newspapers in the United States, has suffered a number of setbacks of late, including a decline in readership, a shrinking newsroom, and competition from a new free daily, The Baltimore Examiner. In 2000, the Times-Mirror company was purchased by the Tribune Company, of Chicago. On September 19, 2005, The Sun introduced a new layout design.
It is frequently referred to as "The Baltimore Sun" to distinguish it from other newspapers of the same name. Its daily edition has a circulation (2007) of 232,000.
Although there is now only a morning edition, for many years there were two distinct newspapers--The Sun
in the morning and The Evening Sun
in the afternoon--each with its own reporting and editorial staff. The Evening Sun
was first published in 1910. In keeping with the nationwide shutdown of p.m. dailies, The Evening Sun
ceased publication on September 15
The Baltimore Sun's daily sections include News, Opinion (editorial), Books, Business, Entertainment, Sports and Travel pages. The News is covered with two sections with national news on the front page and throughout section "A" and local news on the front page of section "B". Section "B" usually includes obituaries and death notices as well. The Opinion page is usually at the end, or "back page" of the newspapers first section.
The Sunday Sun
for many years was noted for a locally-produced rotogravure
Maryland pictorial magazine section, featuring works by such acclaimed photographers as A. Aubrey Bodine
. The Sunday Sun
eventually dropped the Maryland magazine and now carries Parade
magazine in its place.
Among writers, editors and cartoonists of prominence on the staff of the Sun papers: Russell Baker
, John Carroll
, Turner Catledge
, Price Day, Edmund Duffy
, J. Fred Essary, Thomas Flannery, Jack Germond
, Gerald W. Johnson
, Kevin P. Kallaugher, Frank R. Kent, William Manchester
, H.L. Mencken
, Hamilton Owens, Drew Pearson
, Louis Rukeyser
, David Simon
, Raymond S. Tompkins, Paul W. Ward, Mark Watson
, Jules Witcover
, and Richard Q. Yardley. The paper has won 15 Pulitzer Prizes
The first issue of The Sun, a four page tabloid, was printed at 21 Light Street in downtown Baltimore in the mid 1830s. A five-story structure, at the corner of Baltimore and South streets was built in 1851. The "Iron Building" was destroyed in the Baltimore fire of 1904. In 1906, operations were moved to Charles and Baltimore streets where the Sun was written, published and distributed for nearly 50 years. In 1950, the operation was moved to a larger, modern plant at Calvert and Centre streets. In 1979, ground was broken for a new addition to the Calvert Street plant to house modern pressroom facilities. The new facility commenced operations in 1981.
In April 1988, at a cost of $180 million, the Company purchased 60 acres of land at Port Covington, Baltimore and built Sun Park. The new building houses a satellite printing and packaging facility, as well as the distribution operation.
The Sun's printing facility at Sun Park has highly sophisticated, computerized presses, automated inserting equipment in the packaging area to keep pace with the speed of the presses and Automated Guided Vehicles; "intelligent" electronic forklifts that deliver the newsprint to the presses.
- The paper became embroiled in a controversy involving the former governor of Maryland, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). Ehrlich had issued an executive order on November 18, 2004 banning state executive branch employees from talking to Sun columnist Michael Olesker and reporter David Nitkin, claiming that their coverage had been unfair to the administration. This led The Sun to file a First Amendment lawsuit against the Ehrlich administration. The case was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge, and The Sun appealed to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the dismissal.
- The same Olesker was forced to resign on January 4, 2006, after being accused of plagiarism. The Baltimore City Paper reported that several of his columns contained sentences or paragraphs that were extremely similar (although not identical) to material previously published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Sun. Several of his colleagues both in and out of the paper were highly critical of the forced resignation, taking the view that the use of previously-published boilerplate material was common newsroom practice, and Olesker's alleged plagiarism was in line with that practice.