Joseph Pulitzer
Joseph Pulitzer was born on April 10, 1847 in Mako, Hungary. Pulitzer along with his three siblings had the privilege of being privately tutored when his father Philip earned enough money to move the family to Budapest. His Father Philip unfortunately died and his mother re married a Budapest merchant.
Trying to enlist, Pulitzer was turned down by the Austrian Army due to poor eyesight, fragile physique, and being to young at the age of 17. Pulitzer traveled to Paris and London with the same goal but was turned down again for the same reasons. However he found himself enrolled in the Lincoln Calvary on September 30, 1864 for a little less than a year.(2)
After the war Pulitzer moved to New York City. He had many different jobs and had difficulty keeping them. Some of the many jobs that he possessed were being a mule hostler, waiter, and even a lawyer. It wasn’t until 1868 when Pulitzer was offered the job as a reporter at the Westliche Post. In 1872 he bought the post, to sell his stake for a profit. Then in 1879 Pulitzer bought out the St. Louis Dispatch and the St Louis Post to merge them into the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. With this paper he was able to establish himself. In 1883 Pulitzer bought the New York World and switched it’s focus of human-interest stories to yellow journalism. By 1895 it was the largest newspaper in the country.(3)
The Pulitzer Prize is an award of achievement given for journalism, literature, and musical composition by Columbia University in honor of publisher Joseph Pulitzer. He along with William Randolph Hearst can be best known for originating yellow journalism.
Yellow journalism can be defined as less informative and more eye-catching to gain in sales. This type of journalism contains big headlines and images laced with sensationalism. The main idea of yellow journalism is getting “the scoop”. This particular form of writing, however, can lead to some questionable ethics. (1) For example, in 1890 the paper gave Americans the impression that the Spanish were cruel to innocent Cubans, thus starting the Spanish-American War with the title of the Article was “Spanish Authorities Butcher Innocent Cubans”.
Pulitzer wanted to create the world’s first school of journalism with Columbia University. Unfortunately it wasn’t until after his death that his dream would be fulfilled. Joseph Pulitzer died on October 29, 1911.
[[1class discussion 9/23/09]]
[[2Jewish Contributions in Literature at www.jinfo.org ]
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