Lexington Herald-Leader

The Lexington Herald-Leader is a newspaper owned by The McClatchy Company and based in the U.S. city of Lexington, Kentucky. According to the 1999 Editor & Publisher International Yearbook, the Herald-Leader's paid circulation is the second largest in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The newspaper has won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing and the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning . It has also been a finalist in six other Pulitzer awards over the past 22 years, a record that has been unsurpassed by any mid-sized newspaper in the United States during the same time frame.

The publisher is Timothy M. Kelly. Linda Austin is the editor . The managing editor responsible for the news staff and day to day operations is W. Thomas Eblen, a Lexington native and former reporter and editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


The Herald-Leader was created by a 1983 merger of the Lexington Herald and the Lexington Leader. The story of the Herald begins in 1870 with a paper known as the Lexington Daily Press. In 1895, a descendant of that paper was first published as the Morning Herald, later to be renamed the Lexington Herald in 1905. Meanwhile, in 1888 a group of Fayette County Republicans began publication of a competing paper named the Kentucky Leader, which became known as the Lexington Leader in 1901.

In 1937, the owner of the Leader, John Stoll, purchased the Herald . The papers continued as independent entities for several more years; the Herald published a liberal morning paper while the Leader printed a more conservative afternoon edition. The two newspapers had a combined Sunday publication. In 1973, both were purchased by Knight Newspapers, which merged with Ridder Publications to form Knight Ridder the following year. A decade later, in 1983, the Herald and Leader weekday papers merged to form today's Lexington Herald-Leader. From 1979 to 1991, the paper was edited by John Carroll, who went on to edit The Baltimore Sun and The Los Angeles Times.

On July 11, 2001 the paper reduced four positions due to declining advertising revenue and higher newsprint costs. Long-time columnists Don Edwards and Dick Burdette took voluntary early retirements but are still published occasionally as contributing writers. Dave Wilkinson, vice president for promotion and creative services, accepted a voluntary buyout. The job eliminations were a cumulation of efforts that started in May when the workforce was reduced by 15 positions .

On July 4, 2004, the newspaper, in an effort to apologize for failing to cover the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement, published a front-page package of stories and archive photos documenting Lexingtonians involved in the movement . The stories, written by Linda B. Blackford and Linda Minch, received international attention, including a story on the front page of The New York Times. It was also received an annual professional award by the Kentucky chapter of the Special Libraries Association.

On June 27, 2006, the McClatchy Company purchased Knight Ridder for approximately $4 billion in cash and stock on June 27, 2006. It also assumed Knight Ridder debt of $2 billion. McClatchy sold 12 Knight Ridder papers, but the Herald-Leader was one of 20 retained.

Office and production plant

The Herald-Leader's new office and production plant facility was completed in September 1980 at a cost of $23 million . It was a structure that featured 14 Goss Metro offset presses that had the capacity to produce 600,000 newspapers in a typical week.

The plant is on a lot at the corner of East Main Street and Midland. The $23 million cost was divided into $7,804,000 for architecture, $750,000 for interiors and $8,500,000 for production equipment and presses.


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