THE SAN MATEO COUNTY NEWS
The San Mateo County News, the only daily newspaper in San Mateo County, is published in the city of San Mateo every afternoon except Sundays and holidays and was founded by A.P. Bellisle and J.D. Bromfield in the year 1914, its first number appearing on the 5th of January. It is the county publication in the sense that its influence and scope of action extend throughout the entire district from South San Francisco and Daly City on the north to Menlo Park and Pescadero on the south, which demonstrates its prestige all over the county.
Preeminently, San Mateo County is a district of homes and for many years a real need had been felt for a daily newspaper that would publish the news of the county in a prompt efficient and unbiased manner. The foundation of the San Mateo County News responded to the necessities of this epoch in the peninsula’s development which were clearly understood by Messrs. Bromfield and Bellisle, who thus endowed the County of San Mateo with an independent newspaper, free from political influences of the various factions whose frequent struggles had agitated the county.
On November 1, 1913, the two young men who later were to establish the county’s first daily paper, took over the San Mateo Leader from Charles M. Morse. Prior to that time A.P. Bellisle had been associated with Mr. Morse in the publication of the Leader and J.D. Bromfield had been connected with the San Francisco Morning Call for about five years. Two months after assuming control of the San Mateo Leader, Messrs. Bellisle and Bromfield announced through the columns of their weekly paper their determination to establish the county’s first daily. In less than two days, over six hundred subscribers had been secured.
Despite the enthusiastic reception accorded the new paper by the public, some doubts were expressed as to the success of the enterprise. A few pessimists and a number of envious contemporaries voiced the opinion that the News would cease publication before the expiration of three months. Hearing these generous expressions about the “foolhardy” young editors, many persons declined to invest more than forty cents at a time for subscriptions because of a fear that they might lose their money.
In the face of these dark predictions, however, The News thrived and prospered. Independence, respect to the private citizen, the judicious attack on public officials, and not against the individual personally, have formed the doctrine of The News from the beginning. Truth, honesty; that was the starting point. Liberty, progress and development are the only ends which the paper has pursued.
Such complete liberty of judgment and action, far from implying a lack of definite issue or clear perspective, were indispensable to form a basis of the program which the San Mateo County News outlined from the beginning and which it has maintained up to the present, and will continue in the future.
The News has now entered upon its third year and is steadily gaining in the confidence and esteem of the communities which it serves. Its efficiency and independence in giving the news has caused it to grow rapidly and steadily until it now has nearly 10,000 daily readers. This large and growing circulation has won for it the patronage, and not the sympathetic support of the advertising merchants. It can be truthfully said of the News that it has never solicited advertising except on the basis of giving value received. In this respect it differs from the ordinary country newspaper.
There is a popular demand for The News in all parts of the peninsula and today it holds first place in the journalistic field of the county and still has the distinction of being the only daily newspaper in a county of 35,000 population.
The News Publishing Company, which not only publishes the San Mateo County News and the San Mateo Leader, but does a large printing business as well, has twenty regular employees on its pay roll and has become one of the leading business enterprises of the county.
The San Mateo Leader, companion publication of The News, is the oldest established weekly in San Mateo, having been founded in 1899. The Leader, which is made up of the best local news selected from the daily, is without doubt the most newsy weekly paper in the county and is invaluable to those who can not avail themselves of the daily service of The News. The Leader is conducted with the same independent policy that characterizes the daily paper.
The News has correspondents in all centers of population throughout the county, however, small they may be, and the public in general aids materially in facilitating the work of gathering the news of the county by communicating information of current topics and important events direct to the editorial rooms.
The San Mateo County News has become one of the permanent institutions of the county and its present success presages a brilliant future. Messrs. Bellisle and Bromfield are to be heartily thanked for filling a long-felt want in San Mateo County.
Transcribed by Betty Wilson
Source: History of San Mateo County by Philip W. Alexander & Charles P. Hamm page 131-132. Press of Burlingame Publishing Co., Burlingame, CA. 1916.
© 2004 Betty Wilson.
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