Hall of Fame Class of 2012
William Dean Singleton, who at the age of 15 became a part-time reporter at his hometown newspaper in Graham, Texas, and bought his first newspaper at age 21, has bought, sold, merged and managed more newspapers in America than almost anyone else in history.
Born in Graham in 1951, he is the founder and chairman of the board (until 2011) of MediaNews Group, the second-largest newspaper company by circulation in the United States as of his induction into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2012. Before the age of 40, he had owned 71 newspapers, including the Graham Leader, where he began his career.
He built MediaNews Group through the acquisition of newspapers, many on the verge of reorganization or closure. Among them were three iconic Texas dailies, the Fort Worth Press (which he closed in 1975), the Houston Post (1983-95) and the Dallas Times Herald (1986-88). He pioneered the practice of clustering newspapers and centralizing such functions as advertising sales, business operations, production, and in some cases, editorial. He also adopted and developed pooled-asset partnerships with other media companies, such as Gannett and E.W. Scripps Co.
Singleton bought the Denver Post in 1987 from the Times-Mirror Corp. of Los Angeles. After a long rivalry with the Rocky Mountain News that almost put both papers out of business, the two merged operations in 2001. The Post prevailed and the Rocky Mountain News folded in 2009.
Singleton’s empire experienced rapid growth in the early part of the 21st century, when he acquired in rapid succession major daily newspapers in Salt Lake City, Detroit, St. Paul, Minn., and San Jose, Calif.
Singleton was elected to the board of directors of The Associated Press in 1999 and was elevated to chairman in 2007. He also served on the board of the Newspaper Association of America from 1993 to 2004, including being its chairman 2002-03.
He also serves on many boards in Colorado, including The Helen G. Bonfils Foundation, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Winter Park Recreational Association, Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, and National Sports Center for the Disabled. He is a former member of the University of Denver board of trustees.
Singleton was inducted into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport Hotel in 2012 as one of four members of the Hall’s sixth class of honorees.