The Arizona Daily Star is the major morning daily newspaper covering Tucson and nearby districts of southern Arizona. In 1981, Star’s reporters Clark Hallas and Robert B. Lowe won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Investigative Specialized Reporting for their stories about recruiting violations by University of Arizona football coach, Tony Mason.
The Star was first published on June 26,1879, although the first edition had the wrong date on the top of the page. Owner and editor, L.C. Hughes, also ran the Arizona Weekly Star. However in July 1907, Hughes sold the Star to W.B. Kelly "and associates". Its ownership changed multiple times over the next century and was finally bought by Lee Enterprises, Inc., on January 30, 2005. Lee Enterprises publishes 76 other daily newspapers in 26 states, more than 350 weekly, classified, and specialty publications.
Despite its changing ownership, the paper has a history of never missing publication, even in 1933 when a fire almost toally destroyed the Star's building, causing $60,000 damage. Despite the fire, the Star issued as usual the following day. The only time in history that the paper could not put out an extra was on Jan. 25, 1934, when the Star moved its entire mechanical department back to the remodeled and rebuilt building that had burned. Coincidentally, Tucson police captured John Dillinger's notorious bank-robbing gang on this same day. The Star still beat every other service in breaking the news.
In 1940, the Tucson Citizen and Arizona Daily Star entered into a joint operating agreement (JOA) that extended to 1990. The joint company, owned equally by the two newspapers, became Tucson Newspapers Inc. (TNI). This helped increase advertising revenue. In 1965 the U.S. government found TNI in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Act. The Supreme Court agreed, saying the First Amendment doesn’t exempt newspapers from laws aimed at preserving competition. Responding to this decision, Congress passed the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970 to allow joint operating agreements.
With a daily circulation of 39,997, the Star made $34 million in annual revenue in 2022. In the past 15 years, the Star's news-room has dropped from more than 120 reporters, photographers and editors. Their staff now numbers just two or three dozen. Despite the lay-offs and the decrease in overall revenue and circulation, the Arizona Daily Star still remains one of the top performing newspapers in Southern Arizona.
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