Pulizer Prize / сторінка 3
Observing the game of two habitues, he astutely critiqued a move and the players, impressed, engaged Pulitzer in conversation. The players were editors of the leading German language daily, Westliche Post, and a job offer followed. Four years later, in 1872, the young Pulitzer, who had built a reputation as a tireless enterprising journalist, was offered a controlling interest in the paper by the nearly bankrupt owners. At age 25,
Pulitzer became a publisher and there followed a series of shrewd business deals from which he emerged in 1878 as the owner of the St. Louis Post-
Dispatch, and a rising figure on the journalistic scene.
Earlier in the same year, he and Kate Davis, a socially prominent
Washingtonian woman, were married in the Protestant Episcopal Church. The
Hungarian immigrant youth - once a vagrant on the slum streets of St. Louis and taunted as "Joey the Jew" - had been transformed. Now he was a American citizen and as speaker, writer, and editor had mastered English extraordinarily well. Elegantly dressed, wearing a handsome, reddish-brown beard and pince-nez glasses, he mixed easily with the social elite of St.
Louis, enjoying dancing at fancy parties and horseback riding in the park.
This lifestyle was abandoned abruptly when he came into the ownership of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. James Wyman Barrett, the last city editor of
The New York World, records in his biography Joseph Pulitzer and His World how Pulitzer, in taking hold of the Post-Dispatch, "worked at his desk from early morning until midnight or later, interesting himself in every detail of the paper." Appealing to the public to accept that his paper was their champion, Pulitzer splashed investigative articles and editorials assailing government corruption, wealthy tax-dodgers, and gamblers. This populist appeal was effective, circulation mounted, and the paper prospered.
Pulitzer would have been pleased to know that in the conduct of the
Pulitzer Prize system which he later established, more awards in journalism would go to exposure of corruption than to any other subject.
Pulitzer paid a price for his unsparingly rigorous work at his newspaper.
His health was undermined and, with his eyes failing, Pulitzer and his wife set out in 1883 for New York to board a ship on a doctor-ordered European vacation. Stubbornly, instead of boarding the steamer in New York, he met with Jay Gould, the financier, and negotiated the purchase of The New York
World, which was in financial straits. Putting aside his serious health concerns, Pulitzer immersed himself in its direction, bringing about what
Barrett describes as a "one-man revolution" in the editorial policy, content, and format of The World. He employed some of the same techniques that had built up the circulation of the Post-Dispatch. He crusaded against public and private corruption, filled the news columns with a spate of sensationalized features, made the first extensive use of illustrations, and staged news stunts. In one of the most successful promotions, The World raised public subscriptions for the building of a pedestal at the entrance to the New York harbor so that the Statue of Liberty, which was stranded in
France awaiting shipment, could be emplaced.
The formula worked so well that in the next decade the circulation of The
World in all its editions climbed to more than 600,000, and it reigned as the largest circulating newspaper in the country. But unexpectedly Pulitzer himself became a victim of the battle for circulation when Charles Anderson
Dana, publisher of The Sun, frustrated by the success of The World launched vicious personal attacks on him as "the Jew who had denied his race and religion." The unrelenting campaign was designed to alienate New York's
Jewish community from The World. Pulitzer's health was fractured further during this ordeal and in 1890, at the age of 43, he withdrew from the editorship of The World and never returned to its newsroom. Virtually blind, having in his severe depression succumbed also to an illness that made him excruciatingly sensitive to noise, Pulitzer went abroad frantically seeking cures. He failed to find them, and the next two decades of his life he spent largely in soundproofed "vaults," as he referred to them, aboard his yacht, Liberty, in the "Tower of Silence" at his vacation retreat in Bar Harbor Maine, and at his New York mansion. During those years, although he traveled very frequently, Pulitzer managed, nevertheless, to maintain the closest editorial and business direction of his newspapers. To ensure secrecy in his communications he relied on a code that filled a book containing some 20,000 names and terms. During the years
1896 to 1898 Pulitzer was drawn into a bitter circulation battle with
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