Today, the Los Angeles Times (LA Times, or even just “the Times” for short) is one of the most well-known and respected newspapers in the United States. They’ve been reporting the news for well over a century. They came from humble beginnings to having an extremely large and devoted following. On this day in 1881, the LA Times released its first edition.

The LA Times‘ first paper

The Times‘ first edition was published on December 4th, 1881. At the time, it was called the Los Angeles Daily Times and it was under the direction of Nathan Cole Jr. and Thomas Gardiner.

LA Times/Twitter

Cole and Gardiner were not able to make the paper turn a profit, however, and ended up turning it over to the Mirror printing plant, owned by Jesse Yarnell and T.J. Caystile, who continued to publish the paper.

A brief history of the Times

The Times didn’t become profitable until the Mirror printing plant hired former military officer Harrison Otis. Otis was a talented businessman who used the LA Times to praise Los Angeles and encourage the city’s growth. Otis continued making the Times a success until his death in 1917. After Otis’ death, the paper was run by his son-in-law, Harry Chandler and it stayed in the Chandler family for many years.

The Fourth Estate/Wikipedia

Throughout its history, the LA Times has survived slander, bombings, changes in ownership and a great many other challenges. Not only has it survived, but it has thrived.

Los Angeles Times today

As of today, the Times has a daily circulation of over 650,000, the 4th-largest circulation among US newspapers (and the largest for a newspaper that is not based on the east coast). To date, the Times has received over 40 Pulitzer Prizes.

Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times

The Times of today is headquartered near the Los Angeles International Airport and is owned by the Chinese-American surgeon and entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong.