Nan Tucker McEvoy

Nan Tucker McEvoy to Newspaper Hall of Fame

Nan Tucker McEvoy (1919-2015) is a 2016 inductee into the California Newspaper Hall of Fame.

McEvoy was a newspaper heiress who headed the parent company of the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1980s and 1990s. Her grandfather, M.H. de Young, founded The Chronicle with his brother in 1865.

In 1981, McEvoy became chairwoman of the parent company of The Chronicle, which was still controlled by her family. She moved from Washington to San Francisco in 1989 to manage the media business, which included the newspaper, a book publishing company, television stations and other holdings.

Despite improvements to The Chronicle’s journalism and bottom line, McEvoy’s moves led to a rift in the family. When some suggested that the company should be sold, she reportedly thundered, “Over my dead body!”

Tensions boiled over on April 19, 1995, when a group of shareholders — all of them relatives of McEvoy — passed a bylaw requiring members of the board to retire at 73. McEvoy, then 75, was the only person affected.

She was immediately forced out of her job as head of the company.

Members of The Chronicle staff signed a petition in support of McEvoy. She filed a lawsuit against 18 of her relatives, but it was dismissed. In 1999, The Chronicle was sold for $660 million to Hearst, the parent company of the San Francisco Examiner, The Chronicle’s longtime rival.

Since the 1990s, she had presided over the McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma, where she became one of the country’s foremost producers of premium olive oil.

Cal Press will induct McEvoy into the California Newspaper Hall of Fame on Friday, Dec. 2 at the Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel in San Francisco. Cal Press also will induct Jerene Appleby Harnish (1893-1980), a former publisher of the Daily Report in Ontario (now the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin).

Registration is now open for Cal Press’ 139th Annual Winter Meeting. Please register by Nov. 23. The Cal Press hotel room block closes on Nov. 9.

To learn more about the event, and Cal Press membership, please read the Cal Press newsletter.

Previously: Dean Eckenroth is Executive of Year