Maxwell McCrohon, 76, a veteran journalist who held top posts at the Chicago Tribune and United Press International before a brief stint as the last editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, died of lung cancer Wednesday at Community Hospice of Washington in the nation's capital.
McCrohon went to New York from his native Australia in the early 1950s as a correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald. He later went to work as a reporter for the Chicago's American, a sister newspaper of the Tribune. He played a major role in recasting the newspaper as a tabloid called Chicago Today and became its managing editor in 1970. In 1972 he became managing editor at the Chicago Tribune, where he oversaw the revamping of the Tribune's feature and special sections and fostered writing that was both analytical and entertaining.
In 1983, after more than two decades at the Tribune, he became editor in chief of UPI. He left that post four years later to become editor of the Herald Examiner, a money-losing Hearst Corp. paper that had gained a reputation over the previous decade for spunky local reporting that frequently embarrassed its larger rivals, including The Times.
On Nov. 1, 1989, McCrohon urged the Herald's 800 employees to "put out a hell of a last edition." The 86-year-old paper published its last edition the next day.