Pulitzer and Journalism

Joseph Pulitzer was born on April 10, 1847 in Hungary. His family was pretty wealthy. When he was a teenager, he joined the American Union army, where he obtained a good education. He joined the American Union army because the Hungarian army did not want him due to his eyesight being poor and his body being frail. Two other European armies rejected him as well. Pulitzer was eventually able to emigrate to the United States in 1864 because when he joined the American Union army, the soliciting was in Hungary at the time. Pulitzer fought during the war and until it was over.

When the war ended, Pulitzer made his way to St. Louis. While there, he worked jobs that required burying the dead from the cholera outbreak in 1866. Pulitzer eventually was noticed by a local German-language newspaper editor, Carl Schurz of the Westliche Post, in the Mercantile Library. They were in the chess room. Because of Pulitzer's snappy mind, Schurz hired Pulitzer as a reporter. Pulitzer received his first knowlegde of politics working on the paper, and this eventually hooked him for his entire life. In 1869, Pulitzer raced in a special election to fill a seat in the lower house of the state legislature. He actually won as a Republican.

Being a legislature now, Pulitzer battled corruption within the city government. Captain Edward Augustine, was a lobbyist who did not agree with Pulitzer and one day, he publicly called him a "damned liar." This made Pulitzer furious and he and Augustine started to quarrel. Pulitzer ended up firing two shots at Augustine, who was injured in the leg. Pulitzer ended up not being sanctioned by the courts too bad. He had to pay a $100 fine for his misconduct and compensate the court $300. After this incident, Pulitzer lost quite a bit of credibility in the legislature.

Later, Pulitzer acquired money at simple political appointments and in law. He was still working for the Westliche Post and received control of it from Schurz in 1872. He eventually sold the paper back to the original owner for $30,000 in profit. When he was 31, he was doing financially well and he got married to Kate Davis. Their honeymoon was in Europe.

When Pulitzer returned from his honeymoon, he bought the St. Louis Dispatch at an auction from a secret bidder for $3,000. The daily newspaper was lagging. He went back to his old roots and changed the name of the newspaper to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This made him a fortune very early. He made it a success.

Pulitzer was on a roll and he wanted more to add to his acievements. So in 1883, he bought the New York World from Jay Gould for $346,000. His family and he moved to New York, but he did not give up the Post-Dispatch. Instead, he corresponded daily with the office in St. Louis, even though most of his time was devoted to the World in New York. Pulitzer made the World newspaper one of the largest because of his agressive methods in building up the paper. They included the Sunday issue, the use of illustrations, news, stunts, crusades against corruption, cartoons and bold news coverage. All of this helped Pulitzer compete with William Randolph Hearst's paper, the Journal, in circulation. In five years, the circulation went from 15,000 to 150,000 and the World became the outstanding democratic organ in the United States.

Unfortunately after 1890, Pulitzer was not able to participate in political activity because he became partially blind. He died in 1911. Pulitzer endowed the Graduate School of Journalism, which is now known as Columbia University. He also endowed the Pulitzer Prize, in which Columbia University awards.

Pulitzer's Famous Words For Writing

"Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy"-He wrote these words on the newsroom wall.

Click on The Pulitzer Prize to find out more info.

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