Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst: The Lives and Careers of the Publishers Who Transformed the Media Industry by Charles River Editors*Includes pictures
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents
“Publicity, publicity, publicity is the greatest moral factor and force in our public life.” – Joseph Pulitzer
“Any man who has the brains to think and the nerve to act for the benefit of the people of the country is considered a radical by those who are content with stagnation and willing to endure disaster.” – William Randolph Hearst
Say the name Pulitzer and the minds of many across the world quickly turn to the famous prizes given for excellence in journalism, literature, and music, but these prizes were named after a man believed to have been tormented by some of the choices he had made during his life. Coming to America as a nearly penniless immigrant, he demonstrated that the young nation could be a land of opportunity, and he earned money and fame largely through hard work. Later, as the owner of one of the most powerful papers in the country, he seemed to develop an almost frenzied need to stay on top, no matter the cost. Writing for the Post-Dispatch in 1997, Harry Levins observed that Pulitzer considered journalism “a serious instrument of civilization, yet in some periods filled his front pages with froth and sensationalism. Sided with the common man, yet lived like the Gilded Age millionaire he was. Waxed indignant at big business and its profit-seeking machinations, yet insisted that his own big business turn a tidy profit.”
Indeed, in an effort to turn a profit, plenty of his contemporaries believed he went way too far. In a battle to sell papers, he played a significant role in the burgeoning industry of “yellow journalism,” and following the Spanish-American War, he often struggled to come to terms with the role he had played in getting America involved in that conflict. As he grew older, he would attempt to step away from that reputation, and in an effort to redeem himself, he bequeathed much of his fortune to organizations that could establish scholarships and even the first school of journalism, teaching future journalists who came after him to do better.
When William Randolph Hearst was in his late 50s and at the height of his power, journalist Robert Duffuss observed, “His career is unique in American history, or, for that matter, all history. Compared with him the Bennetts and even the Pulitzers are small…his acquaintances…credit him with personal charm, but do not deny his ruthlessness in business operations. Shopkeepers and his nearest rivals are simply not in his class. Here is success on a dizzying and truly American scale. Here is journalism as large as the Rocky Mountains or the Painted Desert.”
It is only right to keep every positive and negative viewpoint in mind when looking at the life of a man who built his own fortune with money inherited from a father who literally grubbed it out of the ground with his own hands. While the senior Hearst may never have gotten the soil of old California from under his nails, William Randolph would never know what it felt like to live a life of manual labor; instead, he founded his empire on another kind of dirt, that which he was able to dig up and publish about the people, great and small, of his day. He would also stir up a good bit of dirt himself, living a high life with his mistress in California while his wife raised their children and did charitable work back in New York. Eventually, he would go too far, and nearly lose his empire when he backed Adolf Hitler over Franklin D. Roosevelt. By the time he died, it is fair to say that he had seen it all, done it all, bought most of it, and lost much of it. In spite of all this, he left behind an empire that continues to dominate the publishing business to this day.
Joseph Pulitzer And William Randolph Hearst
All rights reserved. It is arguably the most celebrated anecdote in the history of American journalism. Sometime in early , as the story goes, artist-correspondent Frederic Remington found himself in Cuba working for the New York Journal. I wish to return. The story has been told and retold to show how the yellow press, of which Hearst was an exemplar, set the United States on the road to the Spanish-American War—a war in which Theodore Roosevelt charged up San Juan Hill as reporters wrote it all down and with that fame strode into the White House; a war that marked the beginning of the United States as a global power and an ending of the Spanish Empire, which lost remnant colonies. It was also a war that ushered in a new age for journalism, for as irresponsible as coverage was at times, it was a first step to the development of energetic foreign news coverage in the States.
Publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst built his media empire after inheriting the San Francisco Examiner from his father. House of Representatives but failing in his bids to become U. He lost much of his holdings during the Great Depression and fell out of touch with his blue-collar audience, but still headed the largest news conglomerate in America at the time of his death. George Hearst, a mining millionaire and U. He then challenged Pulitzer by buying the New York Journal. His papers favored labor unions, progressive taxation, and municipal ownership of utilities. They featured abundant pictures, advice to the lovelorn columns, and sentimental stories.
Yellow journalism and the yellow press are American terms for journalism and associated newspapers that present little or no legitimate well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales. By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion. In English, the term is chiefly used in the US. In the UK, a roughly equivalent term is tabloid journalism , meaning journalism characteristic of tabloid newspapers , even if found elsewhere. Other languages, e. A common source of such writing is called checkbook journalism , which is the controversial practice of news reporters paying sources for their information without verifying its truth or accuracy.
Yellow journalism and the yellow press are American terms for journalism and associated Joseph Campbell describes yellow press newspapers as having daily multi-column The term was coined in the mids to characterize the sensational Pulitzer's approach made an impression on William Randolph Hearst.
you re your own worst critic
Patty Hearst Speaks During Captivity
Hurst & Pulitzer Break All Ethical Rules to Sell Newspapers
The Spanish-American War is often referred to as the first "media war. Led by newspaper owners William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, journalism of the s used melodrama, romance, and hyperbole to sell millions of newspapers--a style that became known as yellow journalism. The term yellow journalism came from a popular New York World comic called "Hogan's Alley," which featured a yellow-dressed character named the "the yellow kid. Outcault away from the World. In response, Pulitzer commissioned another cartoonist to create a second yellow kid.
He became a leading national figure in the Democratic Party and was elected congressman from New York. He crusaded against big business and corruption, and helped keep the Statue of Liberty in New York. In the s the fierce competition between his World and William Randolph Hearst 's New York Journal caused both to develop the techniques of yellow journalism , which won over readers with sensationalism, sex, crime and graphic horrors. The wide appeal reached a million copies a day and opened the way to mass-circulation newspapers that depended on advertising revenue rather than cover price or political party subsidies and appealed to readers with multiple forms of news, gossip, entertainment and advertising. Today, his name is best known for the Pulitzer Prizes , which were established in as a result of his endowment to Columbia University. The prizes are given annually to recognize and reward excellence in American journalism, photography, literature, history, poetry, music and drama. Pulitzer founded the Columbia School of Journalism by his philanthropic bequest; it opened in
Born in San Francisco, California, on April 29, , William Randolph Hearst used his wealth and privilege to build a massive media empire. A founder of "yellow journalism," he was praised for his success and vilified by his enemies. At one point, he considered running for the U. The Great Depression took a toll on Hearst's company and his influence gradually waned, though his company survived. Hearst died in Beverly Hills, California, in