Joseph Pulitzer: The Man Behind the Prize

1 Introduction:

As a mark of excellence in journalism, the Pulitzer Prize displays the identify and beliefs of the person who created it.

"From 1917 to 1958, a complete of 251 Pulitzer Prizes had been awarded to journalists," mentioned John Hohenberg in The Pulitzer Prize Story (Columbia College Press, 1959, p. 7). - 41 gold medals for the general public service for newspapers and 210 money prizes for people in various quantities as much as $ 1,000 ... Ninety-eight newspapers and 187 people, seven entire newspaper workers, three wire-fence providers, three syndicates, and a gaggle prize for battle correspondents have gathered in Twenty-seven information organizations or their associates had been winners on a number of events, and there have been 13 particular journalism quotes. "

Satirically, regardless of the award's awards, it doesn't all the time mirror what has been thought-about a easy, profitable exercise by the person. Though he was consistently striving for schooling and achievement and constructed these beliefs into the newspapers he owned, he additionally lived in a tumultuous life affected by misfortune and sickness reasonably than one that will have represented the prize itself.

2. His life:

He was born in Mako, Hungary, and emigrated to the USA solely with fluent English. He had problem negotiating about his new house, which may solely converse German. However, bold and wanting to be taught, he labored for 18 years on the Lincoln Cavalry in New York, then moved to St. Louis, the place his mom tongue was extra widespread. Throughout this time he discovered English extensively within the Native Mercantile Library.

When he renounced his Austrian citizenship on March 6, 1867, he lastly reached his first purpose - the precise to grow to be an American.

His future as quick beckoned. After serving within the Civil Struggle, he grew to become mates with Dr. Preetorius, who was capable of place himself in shut contact with the German-language newspaper Westliche Submit. Impressed by his work ethic, he quickly promoted him to reporter and co-author.

His efforts gave the impression to be limitless. With about 16 day by day hours, Pulitzer noticed, absorbed, and networked, and the newspapers quickly gave in to politics.

So he was appointed on December 14, 1869 candidate for the Republican Social gathering. The next month, he grew to become state consultant in close by Jefferson Metropolis.

Pushed by his newfound energy, he handed a legislation limiting, amongst different issues, the jurisdiction of the County Court docket earlier than ending his transient tenure on March 24. However his authorities had simply begun.

Since gaining political understanding, he grew to become one in every of three appointed police commissioners from St. Louis who on January 19, 1872, raised $ 1,000. However his journalistic aspect didn't let up, and he acquired a controlling stake within the West Submit. It might hardly be his final.

He used the seemingly inexhaustible power and created a small money reserve. Two years later, he purchased a second German-language journal, the Staats-Zeitung, which he bought to the English Globe for $ 27,000 the next day, incomes a sizeable revenue on the transaction. Navigating newspapers had grow to be as routine as navigating his hometown.

He was named a particular correspondent in Washington two years later, and continued to interact with influential individuals. In addition to writing a couple of tales for the St. Louis Occasions on his return, he started legislation faculty and resumed the East Coast after one other step. Love and journalism now appeared on the horizon.

The previous resulted in his marriage to Kate Davis on 19 June 1878, whereas the latter took the type of the acquisition of the St. Louis Dispatch and its subsequent merger with the put up workplace. Each marriages had been profitable.

"He labored lengthy hours - usually late into the evening - with fuel mild - to make his paper radiant, sharp, disrespectful, shocking (and) a bit surprising," WA Swanberg wrote in Pulitzer (Charles Scribners Sons, 1967, p. P. 49) -50). "There was a high quality of pulse animated by Pulitzer that may very well be mentioned to have been invented: sensationalism."

His two firms, united below the only real banner of St. Louis Submit-Dispatch, enabled him to channel his skills and obtain appreciable success. After the start of his first baby, Ralph, on June 11, 1879, it was estimated that the newspaper had reached a circulation of 4,984.

Though he allegedly continued on this regard and even welcomed the start of his second baby, Lucille Irma, on September 30 of the next 12 months, the perceptions had been certainly deceptive. He was married to 2 youngsters, ran a profitable newspaper, and engaged in a number of different pursuits. He entered a sluggish, eroding section characterised by generally uncontrollable nerves and fatigue. Regardless of the pursuit of medical recommendation, no treatment was found.

He refused, nevertheless, to arrest his momentum, however went ahead, principally in rejection of his situation.

"Journalism was his technique to educating and to energy," says Swanberg (pp. 61-62). "and prosperity was important to the massive capital funding he supposed."

Journalism appeared to circulate by his household's veins as if it had been blood.

Manhattan's New York Morning Journal established a one-cent newspaper after investing $ 25,000. His brother Albert appeared able to observe Pulitzer's path, however Joseph himself, all the time on the point of superiority, noticed the corporate as aggressive and signaled discord between the 2.

Though Joseph had achieved some success along with his St. Louis Submit-Dispatch enterprise, he was hardly one of many newspaper giants standing for cities like Boston and New York. He started a collection of analysis journeys to search out out why he was mates with some influential individuals within the trade. He analyzed the explanations for his or her fast rise and got here to the conclusion that he wanted a second launch in a a lot bigger metropolis, if he wished to mimic their successes.

To extend his wealth and energy considerably, he selected April 28, 1883 for the acquisition of the New York newspaper "World" by Jay Gould for $ 346,000.

He shortly discovered the product success that trusted differentiation and elegance, and it was these qualities that he was capable of apply, giving his new publication its personal aptitude, which elevated the circulation.

All the time on a seesaw, he plunged again to the well being or down aspect as his enterprise enterprise ventured upward. Other than the truth that he usually handled psychopathic signs as he tried to juggle his two newspaper firms, the tragedy additionally pulled his internet by the remainder of his household. Six weeks earlier than his daughter Katherine Ethel was to show two, she died of pneumonia on Could 9, 1884.

However in some way Pulitzer went forward. By educating his readership about democracy and the important thing points he was to vote on along with his World Newspaper, he was capable of obtain the biggest circulation of any comparable democratic publication within the US.

"In lower than six years, Pulitzer elevated his preliminary funding of some thousand {dollars} to $ 2,500,000 price of newspaper actual property," Swanberg wrote (p. 101).

He now struggled severely and worsened with the deterioration of his well being. He employed George Walter Turner to take over the administration of World, giving him the chance to free himself from the stress of on a regular basis life, to calm his nerves and to cut back the complications to which he was consistently uncovered.

Though the blessing of the household continued with the start of one other son, Joseph Jr. on March 21, 1885, he visibly crumbled, as was usually famous by his spouse Kate, now bothered with imaginative and prescient deterioration. In truth, it was so precarious that after sooner or later within the following 12 months he went to the places of work of the world to learn the editorials of the day, he may now not distinguish the phrases and as an alternative regarded them solely as a blurred line.

So compelled to seek for medical doctors, hospitals, particular medicines, and something that might enhance his situation, he made a number of cruises to Europe, the place the specialists may solely suggest him to cease work and work calm down darkish, noiseless rooms calm his nerves. At greatest, the strategies had been solely reassuring.

It was by no means attainable for him to sever ties with the Empire, which he had rigorously constructed on the expense of his well being.

"(In truth), on December 10, 1890, the brand new Pulitzer Constructing, 209 meters excessive, the tallest constructing in New York, was formally opened with ceremony and fanfare ..." mentioned Swanberg (pp. 162-163) , The primary impression conveyed by the gorgeous constructing was the precise imprint of Park Row's full dominance.The Pulitzer constructing was Joseph Pulitzer's 20-story overcome his rivals, the structural equal of regular self-promotion on the earth "

But in addition accidents and newspapers pervaded his household. His brother Albert, who plagued himself with unexplained fatigue, complications, insomnia, and worries, bought his concern, the New York Morning Journal, to William Randolf Hearst for $ 180,000. He radically modified it by decreasing its value to 1 cent and rising its size to 16 pages.

"Though he ruthlessly handled cash, Hearst insisted on a certain trigger by imitating each Pulitzer coverage and carrying it one or two miles," Swanberg mentioned (p. 205). "His Journal brazenly appealed to the working class, utilizing the only language (and) tempted the reader with leisure, sensationalism and crusades ..."

This signaled one other battle Joseph was scuffling with and he was already dropping his combat with the others. Though he had divided the world right into a morning, night and Sunday version, which had been every known as "Senior", "Junior" and "Seniority", the document version with 1,000,000 had recorded a decline, as Hearst with the competitors was confronted publication, which was even divided into morning and Sunday editions.

He refused to relinquish the race, repurchased the just lately bought St. Louis Submit-Dispatch, and reinstated a lot of his former workers. However his losses continued to extend: cash, misfortune, well being, readership, and once more the untimely loss of life of a daughter, Lucille, from typhus.

"The subsequent two years had been the least plausible in Pulitzer's life, a time his admirers favor, however unavoidable below the circumstances," Swanberg mentioned (p. 222). "Throughout this time, he violated many of the journalistic ideas he had maintained for years, and Cynics, who had already observed the industrial nature of his night and Sunday worlds, realized that Hearst wanted to show that Pulitzer's beliefs finally did solely home windows had been dressing and that cash was his solely purpose - if Hearst did nothing else, it was mentioned, he would not less than unmask his older rival as a liar and a cheater. "

Pulitzer's misfortune crossed the bridge till the 20th century. After simply 9 days, his home burned down on New York's 55th Avenue and used up his personal library and most of his artwork assortment.

After a interval of strategic planning, his renewed give attention to the world prompted him to publish an 18-inch tabloid version harking back to the primary launch of this century, and a replica of it was offered to President McKinley. For technological advances, he additionally made an funding of $ 2,000 within the first powered vans. He changed a crew of 70 horses and fashioned along with 19 others his new fleet.

Though he had adopted an extended climb in direction of success, his 33rd 12 months within the newspaper enterprise was extra marked by a descent. He refused to adjust to repeated medical warnings. He had continued to pursue the enterprise aspect of his life, however by 1902 he was virtually incapacitated, capable of reap the benefits of only one hour of readability per day, and for a lot of the time was a listener to those that did so. His "world" had been diminished to a spread that existed principally in his thoughts.

He grew to become little greater than a hermit and lived in custody whereas his secretaries served as eyes, ears and connections to humanity.

He by no means overpassed the objectives, however was nonetheless capable of publish a world commemorative 20th anniversary commemorative publication on Could 10, 1903.

Extra importantly, he has planted a seed that's nonetheless rising as we speak. After an unsuccessful try to ascertain a College of Journalism at Columbia College in 1892 - it was not clear at the moment whether or not writing would grow to be a occupation - Nicholas Murray Butler, his present president, agreed to take action, twelve Years later what Pulitzer himself contributed a philanthropic sum of 1 million {dollars}.

By its nature, it was simply one in every of many acts that anchored him as a beneficiant individual. Along with consistently rewarding his employees with items, he reversed a 12 months when he gave them items for his birthday.

Shortly after his marriage to Federica Webb on October 14, 1905, his son Ralph took over duty as vice chairman of the world and dismissed a lot of his duties, however his generosity by no means ceased. When he returned from his honeymoon, he acquired a $ 17,000 marriage ceremony present from 17 Manhattan's 17 East 73rd Avenue from his father, whose random house occurred to be by his home.

Though his empire was nearly ruling New York, he was seldom seen, as Joseph Jr. himself progressively handed the political opinions to his sons. He himself grew to become the appearing head of the world and president of the St. Louis Submit-Dispatch at a feast in New York's well-known Delmonico's restaurant in 1907.

After his 60th birthday, Joseph Sr., who was not current, had requested to announce his retirement. Nevertheless, because it was hardly the primary of those proclamations, everybody current knew that he would proceed to exert his affect in a method or one other.

On one of many largest yachts within the nation, the Liberty, he sailed consistently, all the time looking out for medical doctors and medicines that will treatment him. Nevertheless, this by no means succeeded, and certainly his brother Albert, who suffers in the identical circumstances, had lived in secluded houses in varied resorts, till he lastly died in a Viennese in a single life.

He sensed his personal angle to immortality and checked along with his secretaries, who accompanied him on his journeys, revised copies of his will. Above all, it grew to become clear that his struggling was inextricably linked to his very explosive, persevering, success-oriented character who had served him as a pal and an enemy.

"The escape he sought," wrote Swanberg (p 406), "was not possible as a result of he couldn't escape himself, his nerves, his compulsion to speak, to control."

Ultimately he left the world and died on November 30, 1911 on his docked yacht in Charleston, South Carolina.

3. His loss of life:

"An impressive character in nationwide and worldwide journalism has died," mentioned William Randolf Hearst, as Pulitzer was laid to relaxation, in line with Swanberg (p.412). "A strong democratic pressure within the lifetime of the nation and within the exercise of the world has ceased, and a terrific energy united for the rights of the individuals and for human progress has come to an finish." Joseph Pulitzer is lifeless. "

Though the three editions of the world had been administered by his sons, their circulation had dropped to 313,000 by 1931, as readers favored newspapers such because the New York Occasions, the Every day Mirror, and the Every day Information, and after the losses had begun once they made the earnings they needed to promote them to the Scripp Howard chain for $ 5 million. The house owners of the New York night telegram wished to increase.

4. His value:

Joseph Pulitzer, who by no means deserted his technique of persevering work and affect, had negotiated life by journalism, legislation and politics, fashioned a big household, based two newspapers, based the Columbia College of Journalism and served as a task mannequin Value that bore his identify.

Self-confidence, coupled with compulsive pursuit, laid the inspiration of his life, whereas financial features from his enterprise ventures facilitated the rise.

Apart from acquiring the monetary means to attain its objectives, the larger query could also be what drives it to them and the legacies they left behind. Solely a better take a look at the person behind them can make clear these solutions.

"From the start (Pulitzer) was annoyingly curious and so hard-working that he grew to become a optimistic annoyance to these much less inclined to work," wrote Julian Rammelkamp in Pulitzer's Submit-Dispatch: 1878-1883 (Princeton College Press , 1967, p. 6).

His want to achieve success and to mirror his accomplishments on his beliefs was so nice that he in the end sacrificed his well being for it.

However he had many hidden qualities that weren't so apparent from the skin, such because the love for his youngsters, the yearning for information, the will for honest friendship, and the demonstration of his generosity. He moved emotionally on an inside curler coaster journey and embodied two extremes, generally portraying a stern, if not evil, man, whereas displaying excessive generosity in others.

"He was alternately an ogre and a St. Nick showering presents over his household," Swanberg wrote in Pulitzer (p. 288).

Nevertheless, the last word "present" will be the worth he has impressed. As an award for excellent achievements and excellent achievements in journalism, he's thought-about an expression of his personal fondness for achievement, diligence and generosity. Though it was awarded to quite a few people for its achievements, it was additionally given to those that appeared to have earned much less.

James W. Mulroy and Alvin H. Goldstein, two Every day Information reporters who had been thought-about little greater than "boys," received their very own work in 1924 for his or her excellent work in gathering and reporting the proof wanted to resolve a homicide Secret. However they had been no higher identified and loftier than the numerous others who carried out related duties all through the nation.

"(Certainly, like all of the hundreds of boys who stumbled into the dusty, native rooms of all of the newspapers within the nation, they started inexperienced and unaffected and bold," wrote Hohenberg within the Pulitzer Prize Historical past (p. 15).

The homicide itself meant the disappearance of Robert Franks, the 14-year-old son of the rich watch producer Jacob Franks. On Could 22, he was kidnapped by the scholars Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold. Presumably he was reported lacking, though his father, who was being given a ransom, with calls to make sure his secure return, suspected he was now not alive, as the following morning proved, as his physique was sinking was found on the rails of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The incident grew to become the well-known Loeb-Leopold case.

Whereas Mulroy and Goldstein had been solely liable for doing the "legwork" of the case, which included inspecting smaller particulars, speaking to a handful of individuals, and taking photos of some pictures, the undertaking got here in to a a lot larger extent than anticipated, working for 24 hours shifts and eats and sleeps solely when time permits, till the pharmacy Franks is instructed to go away at hand over the cash demanded by the abductors.

As rival reporters and detectives adopted their ideas, Mulroy and Goldstein scoured the College of Chicago campus till they discovered typewriter patterns from the typewriter Leopold had used to jot down the ransom.

Subsequent interviews with 4 faculty witnesses confirmed that that they had lied in regards to the kidnappers' alibis, cracked the case, and enabled these two unknown reporters to earn what no different professional may obtain.

If an individual deserves and is loyal, Pulitzer had advocated so many instances, then he must be rewarded, which each Mulroy and Goldstein had been in 1925 once they received the Pulitzer Prize for reporting.

This greater than anything represented the qualities of the person behind the worth.


Hohenberg, John. The Pulitzer Prize Historical past. New York: Columbia College Press, 1959.

Rammelkamp, ​​Julian. Pulitzer's Submit-Dispatch: 1878-1883. Princeton, NJ: Princeton College Press, 1967.

Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967.

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