The Stars Are Right: The Irish Rose: Fred Copely
Editor of the Detroit Evening Times, and the boss of Frank Lovejoy and Jack Casey.
Born in Buffalo, New York, he was educated in the United States and Europe. In 1882, he began work as a newspaper reporter and editor in New York City, first at the Sun and later Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. Hired away from Pulitzer by William Randolph Hearst, became editor of the New York Journal and Hearst's close friend. His syndicated editorial column had an estimated daily readership of over 20 million, according to Time magazine.
In 1897, he accepted the editorship of the Evening Journal, flagship of the Hearst chain, and through it gained influence unmatched by any editor in the United States. His direct and forceful style influenced the form of American editorial and news writing. He was famous for the saying, "If you don't hit the reader between the eyes in your first sentence of your news column, there's no need to write any more."
While an employee of Hearst—at one point boasting of making $260,000 in a year -- Brisbane also was known for buying failing newspapers, re-organizing them, and selling them to Hearst. In 1918, he became editor of the Chicago Herald and Examiner, and in the 1920s became editor of Hearst's first tabloid, the New York Mirror. Hearst transferred him to manage the Detroit Evening Times following its purchase in 1921.
A Time magazine Aug. 16, 1926, cover story described his influence like this:
- The New York American, the Chicago Herald-Examiner, the San Francisco Examiner and many another newspaper owned by Publisher Hearst, to say nothing of some 200 non-Hearst dailies and 800 country weeklies which buy syndicated Brisbane, all publish what Mr. Brisbane has said. His column is headed, with simple finality, "Today," a column that vies with the weather and market reports for the size of its audience, probably beating both. It is said to be read by a third of the total U. S. population. Obviously this is an exaggeration, but half that many would be some 20 million readers, "Today" and every day.