St. Louis Post-Dispatch
caption = The
January 3, 2007front page of the
"St. Louis Post-Dispatch"
type = Daily
editor = Arnie Robbins
publisher = Kevin Mowbray
December 12, 1878
headquarters = 900 North Tucker Boulevard
circulation = 278,999 Daily
407,754 Sunday [cite web | title=2007 Top 100 Daily Newspapers in the U.S. by Circulation |publisher=Burrelles"Luce" |url=http://www.burrellesluce.com/top100/2007_Top_100List.pdf |format=PDF |accessdate=2007-05-28 |date=2007-03-31]
website = [http://www.stltoday.com/ STLtoday.com]
The "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" is the only major city-wide
newspaperin St. Louis, Missouri. Although written to serve Greater St. Louis, the "Post-Dispatch" is one of the largest newspapers in the region, and is available and read as far west as Springfield, Missouriand as far south as Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The current owner is Lee Enterprisesof Davenport, Iowa, which relies heavily on wire services, dispatches, and guest editorials from other newspapers. Critics maintain that these policies have severely compromised the journalistic prestige that this newspaper held when owned by the Joseph Pulitzerfamily.
The newspaper was founded by the 1878 merger of the "St. Louis Evening Post" and "St. Louis Dispatch" by owner and editor
Joseph Pulitzer. The resulting paper was called the "St. Louis Post and Dispatch" during its first year of operation; its first edition, 4020 copies of four pages each, appeared on December 12, 1878.Fact|date=July 2007
February 11, 1901, the paper's introduced a front page feature called the "Weatherbird", a cartoon bird accompanying the daily weather forecast. [ [http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/help/stories.nsf/aboutus/story/CB8EAB39016444428625729700717E9C?OpenDocument Meet the Weatherbird] from the newspaper's website]
On April 10, 1907, Pulitzer wrote what is now referred to as the paper's platform: [ [http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/help/stories.nsf/aboutus/story/631BE1DE3559389786256EC4004B923F?OpenDocument St. Louis Post-Dispatch Platform] from the newspaper's website]
:"I know that my retirement will make no difference in its cardinal principles, that it will always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory
plutocracyor predatory poverty."
After his retirement, generations of Pulitzers guided the newspaper. After great-grandson Joseph Pulitzer IV left the company in 1995, his uncle Michael Pulitzer remained chairman of a company to which the "Post-Dispatch" became less central.Fact|date=July 2007
A feature of the old Post-Dispatch was the inclusion of two short human interest stories at the bottom of page 1, in columns 2-3 and 6-7. These were generally light-hearted and sometimes apocryphal. At least twice the newspaper published here with straight face the old chestnut about the bricklayer who lost his presence of mind, once datelined Jamaica and once datelined Vietnam.
The old Post-Dispatch was characterized by a liberal editorial page and columnists, including "
Marquis Childs". The editorial page was noted also for political cartoonists known for strong liberal and civil libertarian views as well as for outstanding draftsmanship, Daniel Fitzpatrick and " Bill Mauldin".
The Post-Dispatch was one of the first daily newspapers to print the comics in color, on the back page of the features section, styled the "Everyday Magazine." Most everyone in St. Louis read that section from back to front.
January 31, 2005, Michael Pulitzer announced the sale of Pulitzer, Inc.and all its assets, including the "Post-Dispatch" and a small share of the St. Louis Cardinals, to Lee Enterprisesof Davenport, Iowa, for $1.46 billion. He announced that no family members would serve on the board of the merged company.
The "Post-Dispatch" underwent a major redesigning in September 2005. The redesigning brought a new layout, new fonts, and localized editions for St. Charles County and
Illinois. Many readersWho|date=July 2007 have criticized the new format for devoting a larger percentage of page space to advertisements and relying too much on wire services and dispatches from other newspapers.Fact|date=July 2007
Highlights after 125 years
January 13, 2004, the "Post-Dispatch" published a 125th anniversary edition, which included some highlights of the paper's 125th years:
*The story of
Charles Lindbergh, whose flight across the Atlantic was a success despite being denied financial or written support from the "Post-Dispatch".
Pulitzer Prize-winning campaign to clean up smoke pollutionin St. Louis. For a time in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the city was considered to have the filthiest air in America.
*The sports coverage, including ten "St. Louis baseball Cardinals" championships, an NBA title by the
St. Louis Hawksin 1958, and the 2000 Super Bowlvictory of the St. Louis Rams.
*Coverage of the city's "cultural icons" including
Kate Chopin, Tennessee Williams, Chuck Berryand Miles Davis.
Several months prior to the anniversary edition, the newspaper published a 63rd anniversary tribute to "
Our Own Oddities," a lighthearted feature that ran from 1940 to 1990.
During the presidency of Harry Truman, the paper was one of his most outspoken enemies. It associated him with the Pendergast machine in Kansas City, and constantly attacked his integrity.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said March 12, 2007 it eliminated 31 jobs mostly in its circulation, classified phone rooms, production, purchasing, telephone operations and marketing departments. [ [http://stlouis.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2008/03/10/daily49.html St. Louis Post Dispatch to cut 31 Jobs]
St. Louis Business JournalMarch 12, 2007 ]
Suburban Journalsis a chain of 31 community newspapers also owned by Lee Enterprises. The group, which operates several offices throughout the St. Louis region, is separate from the Post-Dispatch and often compete with the newspaper on stories. The two groups, however, do share some resources, such as technical assistance.
For many years, the "Post-Dispatch"'s only major competitor was the "
St. Louis Globe-Democrat", which went out of business in 1986.
In September 1989,
Ingersoll Publications, the then-owner of the Suburban Journals, began publishing "The St. Louis Sun". [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3677/is_199707/ai_n8768277/pg_2 Modeling the problem: "De novo" entry into daily newspaper markets] , from the Summer/Fall 1997 issue of the " Newspaper Research Journal"] . The paper grew to a circulation estimated to be about 100,000, but after a $30 million loss the paper was closed seven months later.
In 2005, "Post-Dispatch" reporter Carolyn Tuft wrote a series of investigative reports on the finances of
televangelist Joyce Meyer. The "Post-Dispatch" soon retracted the stories and issued an apology, saying two of the stories were inaccurate. Tuft was suspended for two days, though both she and her colleagues stood by her reporting. Tuft has been defended by the St. Louis Newspaper Guild, which accused the "Post-Dispatch" of a "breach of ethics." The Guild charged that the "Post-Dispatch" ran the apology and suspended Tuft in order to avoid litigation from Joyce Meyer's ministry. In early, 2007 a federal arbitrator sided with Tuft and ordered the paper's editors to rescind her suspension.
Jim McWilliams, "Mark Twain in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1874-1891" (Troy, NY: Whitston Publishing Company, 1997).
Daniel W. Pfaff, "Joseph Pulitzer II and the Post-Dispatch: A Newspaperman's Life" (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991).
Julian S. Rammelkamp, "Pulitzer's Post-Dispatch, 1878-1883" (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967).
Florence Rebekah Beatty Brown, "The Negro as Portrayed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1920-1950" (c. 1951).
Charles G. Rossand Carlos F. Hurd, "The Story of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch" (St. Louis: Pulitzer Publishing, 1944).
*"The St. Louis Post-Dispatch as Appraised by Ten Distinguished Americans" (St. Louis, 1926).
Orrick Johns, "Time of Our Lives: The Story of My Father and Myself", (New York, 1937). George Sibley Johns, father of the author, was editor of the Post-Dispatch for many years, and was the last of Joseph Pulitzer's "Fighting Editors". The book contains many accounts of the beginning days of newspapers in St. Charles and St. Louis, as well as accounts of George's experiences with Joseph Pulizer and the "Post-Dispatch".
Current and Past Contributors
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/08/business/media/08campbell.html Cole Charles Campbell (1953-2007), Former Editor St.Louis Post-Dispatch - 1996-2000]
* [http://www.stltoday.com/ "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" website]
* [http://www.lee.net/walk/visit/stlouis.htm Lee Enterprises profile of the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch"]
* [http://www.thepost-dispatchstore.com/ "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" Online Store]
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