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Joseph Pulitzer
and his Prize
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Notes
An incredibly small amount of information on Joseph Pulitzer can be found online. As an attempt to rectify the situation, I offer the final paper from an independent study on which I worked while attending Drew University.

During my senior year, I visited the Butler Library at Columbia University and looked over the extensive collection of J.P.'s papers. I took notes directly on my laptop, and you can find them by turning the page using the link below.
Notes continued...
1. Introduction
Sargent portrait of JP
This 1909 portait by John Singer Sargent reveals the contemplative nature of newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer.
Credit: the Pulitzer Prize Page

The award endowed by Joseph Pulitzer in 1911 has come to represent the ultimate recognition in American journalism. Today, the Prize ensures that quality newspapers of all sizes and circulations will receive praise from circles within, as well as outside, the writing profession. Pulitzer's legacy has even saved entire newspapers from going under by simply citing them for an award.
Introduction continued...
2. Background
Pulitzer was born to a wealthy family in Hungary on April 10, 1847. 2  He received a quality education and sought adventure in the army as a teenager. The Hungarian army rejected him because of his poor eyesight and frail body. After two other European armies declined to admit him, Pulitzer resolved to join the American Union army, which was soliciting in Hungary at the time. He emigrated to the United States in 1864 and fought without distinction until the end of the war. 3 
Background continued...
3. Changing the Look of the Front Page
Pulitzer's keen instincts told him that newspapers did not sell solely because of their reputations, their political affiliations or their actual content. He understood one of the key tenets of modern salesmanship: presentation is everything. He had the expertise and confidence to apply this to his newly-acquired paper, and the front pages of newspapers everywhere never looked the same again.
Front Page continued...
4. A Paper for the People
Pulitzer's innovative use of graphic elements was one strategy that helped him garner more readers and advertising. However, he also drew people in by emphasizing coverage of new types of stories. Some of the changes gave human interest stories, gossip and even scandal prominent coverage simply because they fascinated readers. Pulitzer always stated that a paper could entertain readers and draw them in through its front page. The fourth page, which contained editorials, would educate.
People continued...
5.Opinions and Hard News
Pulitzer used another strategy to attract readers in addition to introducing new sections that dealt with women and sports. He knew that no newspaper was worth its salt unless it got patrons to care about serious issues. After reading a lengthy World article detailing fraud in the Equitable insurance company, Pulitzer advised head editor Don Seitz that the paper should be also fun to read: 17 
Opinions continued...
6. A Democratic Paper
On the opinions pages, Pulitzer concentrated on issues that interested the marginalized groups of immigrants, women and workingmen. Both of his newspapers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the World, strongly supported the Democratic party. The editorial pages often carried censorious tales of graft and corruption committed by Republican office holders. Pulitzer even turned the presidential election of 1884 on its ear by exploiting a mistake made by the Republican candidate, James G. Blaine. Polls still favored the Republican stalwart at the end of October.
Democratic Paper continued...

Cite This Site
Page 1     Page 2     Notes     Endnotes     Full Document    

1. Introduction to the paper 2. Background on J.P. 3. Changing the look of the front page 4. A paper for the people
5. Opinions and hard news 6. A Democratic paper 7. Defining "Yellow Journalism": Competition with Hearst 8. Crusades
9. Wasting of the body 10. Working for Pulitzer 11. Leaving an endowment

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