By Punch Correspondent Darryl Keeton
William Randolph Hearst is one of those names that you repeat to yourself a couple times in an effort to stimulate a buried memory cell. You know the name but you can’t quite place the importance. Well if you need a clue, take a casual look around the waiting area of any salon, spa, doctor or dentist’s office and you may find the answer. Magazine titles such as Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Car and Driver, Esquire and others are the legacy of one of the most dominant stories of American business and journalism in our country’s history.
The Hearst story was recently profiled in the documentary, “Citizen Hearst” which premiered at a special VIP screening at the Newseum on Thursday, March 14th. The event was held in honor of the Hearst Corporation’s 125-year anniversary and brought together a healthy selection of the beltway crowd who enjoyed evening cocktails before the festivities began.
Prior to the start of the movie, renowned journalist Judy Woodruff interviewed Hearst Corporation CEO, Frank Bennack, Jr. during a brief Q&A session on the history of the firm and the future of print media.
The documentary was directed, edited and co-written by Oscar-nominated Leslie Iwerks. In a film with a running time of 84 minutes, Ms. Iwerks was able to do a thorough job of capturing the history of Hearst and his family legacy. Ms. Iwerks is the granddaughter of Ub Iwerks, the animator and designer of Mickey Mouse.
Interviews with Dan Rather, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Heidi Klum, and Oprah highlighted a story of a media pioneer, whose power and influence spanned from the early days of ownership of the San Francisco Examiner in the late 1800s to the eventual birth of the highly successful cable channel ESPN.
While the history is fascinating, I think most viewers will find this film a better source of information than for entertainment. It should become an education staple for journalism students. But couples looking for a fun night out might want to look elsewhere.
**Darryl Keeton is a distribution executive in the asset management industry. He and his wife Zoe Rodriguez-Keeton share a passion for adventure, travel and sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.***