The Birmingham News

The Birmingham News

Infobox Newspaper
name =

caption = The July 27, 2005 front page of
"The Birmingham News".
type = Daily newspaper
format = Broadsheet
foundation = "The Evening News": 1888
"The Daily News" (unknown)
"The Birmingham News": 1895
owners = Advance Publications
headquarters = 2200 4th Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
editor =
publisher =
circulation = 145,655 Daily
176,087 Sunday
website = []

"The Birmingham News" is the principal daily newspaper for Birmingham, Alabama, United States, and the largest newspaper in Alabama. The paper is owned by Advance Publications.


The "Birmingham News" was launched on March 14, 1888 by Rufus N. Rhodes as "The Evening News", a four-page paper with two reporters and $800 of operating capital. At the time, the city of Birmingham was only 17 years old, but was an already booming industrial city and a beacon of the "New South" still recovering from the aftermath of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. Newspapers joined with industrial tycoons, academics and real-estate speculators in relentless boosterism of the new city. Rhodes was working as editor of the "Daily Herald" when he found his campaign for a viaduct spanning the "Railroad Reservation" dividing Birmingham's north and south opposed by his publisher. He determined to strike out on his own and launched the "News" with the slogan "Great is Birmingham and "The News" is its Prophet!" The "News Bridge" (21st Street Viaduct) was dedicated on July 4, 1891, deemed by his paper the "grandest of all municipal achievements of great and glorious Birmingham."

The "News" circulation grew from 628 in 1888 to over 7000 in 1891, when it became the largest daily in Alabama and won the contract to publish the General Laws of Alabama. The name was changed from "The Evening News" to "The Daily News" and then, in 1895, "The Birmingham News". The newspaper continued to grow, reaching a circulation of 17,000 in 1909.

Staunchly progressive in its political stance, the "News" supported a straight-ticket Democrat platform in election seasons and championed progressive causes such as prohibition. The "News" led the drumbeat for the "Greater Birmingham" movement to annex suburban communities. The successful campaign caused the population of the City of Birmingham to grow from 40,000 in 1900 to 138,685 in 1910, at which time Birmingham was the third largest city in the South. That same year, Rhodes died and was succeeded by his vice-president and general manager, Victor H. Hanson.

Hanson, only 33 years old, was already an accomplished newspaperman, having at age 11 founded the "City Item" in Macon, Georgia which he sold four years later for $2,500. Hanson helped modernize the newspaper's format, tone and operations, oversaw an increase in subscriptions from 18,000 in 1910 to 40,000 in 1914 when he boldly claimed the title of "The South's Greatest Newspaper." In direct competition with the morning "Age-Herald", the "News" began a Sunday edition in 1912.

In 1917 the "News" moved to a new six-story Jacobethan-style office building on the corner of 4th Avenue North and 22nd Street. At the time of their move, the News published this opinion: "The News is proud of its new home and believes it to be the handsomest and best equipped in the entire South. Publishers from other cities have been kind enough to say that nowhere in the land was there a more adequate, convenient and efficient newspaper plant. Many thousands of dollars have been expended with that end in view."

A year later the paper made good use of its new space by purchasing the rival "Birmingham Ledger", increasing the size of its staff to 748 and its circulation to 60,000.

In 1927 the "Birmingham Age-Herald" was sold to Hanson, who continued publishing both papers. In 1950 Scripps-Howard, which already owned the "Birmingham Post" bought the "Age-Herald", but entered into a joint-operating agreement that moved the new "Birmingham Post-Herald" into the "Birmingham News" building. The "News" press printed both papers and handled advertising and subscriptions sales while the editorial and reporting staffs remained independent. The agreement lasted until the "Post-Herald" ceased publication in September, 2005, leaving the "News" as Birmingham's only daily newspaper.

In 1997, the News Company switched the morning and evening publications, making the "News" the morning paper and the "Post-Herald" as the evening paper. This move reinforced the "News's" preeminent role as morning papers were the norm.

On August 10, 2006 the "News" cut the ribbon on their new headquarters building across 4th Avenue from their 1917 plant. The $25 million, 4-story, 110,000-square-foot brick and limestone building, designed by Williams-Blackstock Architects, borrows several details from the older building and is dramatically bisected by a glass atrium. The 1917 building was demolished in 2008 in order to make room for a surface parking lot serving employees of the paper. The lot is between the new office building and the facility that houses "The Birmingham News" presses.


In 1991, Ron Casey, Harold Jackson and Joey Kennedy received a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for their editorial campaign analyzing inequities in Alabama's tax system and proposing needed reforms.

In 2006 the "News" editorial staff were finalists for another Pulitzer for Editorial Writing for a series of editorials reversing the paper's longstanding support of the death penalty. That same year the paper won two Awards of Excellence from the Society for News Design for the paper's overall graphic layout.

In 2007, reporter Brett Blackledge won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his series of articles exposing corruption in Alabama's two-year college system.


Every edition features main news, Local News, Money and Sports sections.

The Monday edition features Health and TechKnow sections.

The Wednesday edition features six subregional sections: "The East News", "The Hoover News", "The North News", "The Shelby News", "The South News", and "The West News", covering local stories from those areas, as well as the Food section.

The Friday edition features City Scene, a local entertainment magazine.

The Saturday edition features Spaces, a home design section.

The Sunday edition features Play, a leisure magazine; Travel; and Commentary sections.

External links

*" [ The Birmingham News] " on


*Emily Jones, ed. (1988) "The Birmingham News: Our First 100 Years." Birmingham: The Birmingham News.
*cite web | title=2007 Top 100 Daily Newspapers in the U.S. by Circulation |publisher=Burrelles"Luce" |url= |format=PDF |accessdate=2007-05-31 |date=2007-03-31

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