Joseph Pulitzer


Joseph Pulitzer

Joseph Pulitzer (English pronunciation: IPAlink-en|ˈpʊlɨtsɚ "PULL-itser"; [cite web|title=The Pulitzer prizes - Answers to frequently asked questions|publisher="Pulitzer.org"|url=http://www.pulitzer.org/resources/answers.html#18|accessdate=2008-02-25. The pronunciation IPA|/ˈpjuːlɪtsɚ/ "PYOO-litser" is also common.] April 10, 1847 [Date of birth according to the "Encyclopædia Britannica".] October 29, 1911) was a Hungarian-American publisher best known for posthumously establishing the Pulitzer Prizes and (along with William Randolph Hearst) for originating yellow journalism.

Biography

Pulitzer was born in Makó, Hungary, the son of Jewish parents Philip Pulitzer, a grain merchant, and Elize Berger.cite web|title=JOSEPH PULITZER, 1847–1911|publisher="Pulitzer.org"|url=http://www.pulitzer.org/|accessdate=2008-02-25] [ [http://www.budapestsun.com/cikk.php?id=21673 Vasváry Collection - Newsletter 2004/2. (32.) Joseph Pulitzer: Hungarian revolutionary in America - EPA ] at www.epa.oszk.hu] [ [http://www.jinfo.org/Literature.html Jewish Contributions in Literature ] at www.jinfo.org] He sought a military career, but was turned down by the Austrian army due to poor health and eyesight. He instead emigrated to the United States in 1864 to serve in the American Civil War.

Newspaper career

After the war he settled in St. Louis, Missouri, where in 1868 he was given a job by Carl Schurz on the German language daily newspaper, the "Westliche Post". He joined the Republican Party and was elected to the Missouri State Assembly in 1869. However, after a failed attempt at electing Horace Greeley as president, the party collapsed and Pulitzer switched to the Democrats. In 1872, Pulitzer purchased the "Post" for $3,000, and then sold his stake in the paper for a profit in 1873. Then, in 1879, he bought the "St. Louis Dispatch", and the "St. Louis Post" and merged the two papers, which became the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch", which remains St. Louis' daily newspaper. It was at the Post-Dispatch that Pulitzer developed his role as a champion of the common man with exposés and a hard-hitting populist approach. He soon was competitive with William Hearst.

In 1882 Pulitzer, by then a wealthy man, purchased the "New York World",cite web|title=Joseph Pulitzer Dies Suddenly|publisher="The New York Times"|url=http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0410.html?st=cse&sq=Joseph+Pulitzer&scp=1|date=1911-10-30|accessdate=2008-03-12] a newspaper that had been losing $40,000 a year, for $346,000 from Jay Gould. Pulitzer shifted its focus to human-interest stories, scandal, and sensationalism. In 1885, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but resigned after a few months' service. In 1887, he recruited the famous investigative journalist Nellie Bly. In 1895 the "World" introduced the immensely popular "The Yellow Kid" comic by Richard F. Outcault, the first newspaper comic printed with color. Under Pulitzer's leadership circulation grew from 15,000 to 600,000, making it the largest newspaper in the country.

The editor of the rival "New York Sun" attacked Pulitzer in print, calling him in 1890 "The Tucker who abandoned his religion". This was intended to alienate Pulitzer's Jewish readership. Pulitzer's already failing health deteriorated rapidly and he withdrew from the daily management of the newspaper, although he continued to actively manage the paper from his vacation retreat in Bar Harbor, Maine, and his New York mansion.

In 1895, William Randolph Hearst purchased the rival "New York Journal" from Pulitzer's own brother, Albert, which led to a circulation war. This competition with Hearst, particularly the coverage before and during the Spanish-American War, linked Pulitzer's name with yellow journalism.

After the "World" exposed an illegal payment of $40 million by the United States to the French Panama Canal Company in 1909, Pulitzer was indicted for libeling Theodore Roosevelt and J. P. Morgan. The courts dismissed the indictments in a victory for freedom of the press.

Columbia University

In 1892, Pulitzer offered Columbia University's president, Seth Low, money to set up the world's first school of journalism. The university initially turned down the money, evidently turned off by Pulitzer's unscrupulous character. In 1902, Columbia's new president Nicholas Murray Butler was more receptive to the plan for a school and prizes, but it would not be until after Pulitzer's death that this dream would be fulfilled. Pulitzer left the university $2 million in his will, which led to the creation in 1912 of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, but by then at Pulitzer's urging the Missouri School of Journalism had been created at the University of Missouri. Both schools remain some of the most prestigious in the world.

En route to his winter home on Jekyll Island, Georgia, Joseph Pulitzer died aboard his yacht in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina in 1911. He is interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.

Legacy

In 1917, the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded, in accordance with Pulitzer's wishes. In 1989 Pulitzer was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. A fictionalized version of Joseph Pulitzer is portrayed by Robert Duvall in the 1992 Disney film musical, "Newsies". He is the main antagonist of that film.There is also a school in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York named after Pulitzer.

References

ources

* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=106751613 Brian, Denis. "Pulitzer: A Life" (2001)]
*CongBio|P000568

External links

* [http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/harp/1228.html NY Times - Harper's Weekly political cartoon "American Editors. II.--Joseph Pulitzer"; includes in-depth biographical information]
* [http://www.onlineconcepts.com/pulitzer/ Paper on Pulitzer's life and journalism]
* [http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/Biographies/MainBiographies/P/pultzer/pulitzerbio.htm A well-written detailed biography]
* [http://www.stlouiswalkoffame.org/inductees/joseph-pulitzer.html St. Louis Walk of Fame]


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