Joseph Pulitzer

(1847-1911), American journalist, whose will provided for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes. Born in Makó, Hungary, Pulitzer immigrated to the United States in 1864 and served in the First New York Cavalry during the American Civil War (1861-1865). He became an American citizen in 1867. That same year Pulitzer started working as a reporter on a German daily newspaper, the Westliche Post, in St. Louis, Missouri. He became managing editor and part owner of the paper in 1871, but left it two years later. In addition to working as a journalist, Pulitzer became active in politics in St. Louis. He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1869, and in 1872 he supported the Liberal Republican Party's nomination of Horace Greeley for the United States presidency. When that party collapsed after Greeley's defeat, Pulitzer became a Democrat. After receiving a law degree and working as a correspondent for the New York Sun, in 1878 Pulitzer bought the St. Louis Evening Dispatch and Evening Post, combining them into the Post-Dispatch. In 1883 he acquired the New York World. Under his management, it became a major newspaper, famous for sensationalism, exposés, careful and extensive reportage, crusades against corruption, and a strong prolabor editorial position. Pulitzer also introduced such newspaper innovations as sports pages, women's fashion sections, comics, and illustrations. In 1887 Pulitzer broke down from overwork, but despite being invalid, blind, and often absent on long cruises, he continued his supervision of the New York World. Pulitzer's main newspaper publishing rival in New York was William Randolph Hearst, who owned the New York Morning Journal. Competition between the Pulitzer and Hearst papers was especially fierce in the coverage of the political tensions before and during the Spanish-American War (1898), and the sensational journalistic techniques used during this time to attract readers were dubbed yellow journalism. In addition to funding the Pulitzer Prizes, in his will Pulitzer donated $1 million to Columbia University for a school of journalism (founded 1912).

"Pulitzer, Joseph," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2004 © 1997-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
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