Joseph Pulitzer was a Hungarian immigrant that was inspired to become a publisher during the Gilded Age that changed the way journalism is formatted today. Pulitzer influenced the idea of modern-day click bait, by using eye-catching titles to promote his papers, through a process called yellow journalism. When he was 25 years old, Pulitzer’s dream of becoming a journalist became true and he was hired by the Westliche Post.
In 1878 he purchased his first newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His goal was to make his papers appealing to every aspect of public affairs and he did this by publishing investigative articles and editorials that exposed government corruption. The approach was super successful, and the paper flourished. In 1883, Pulitzer purchased the New York World for $300,000. When he purchased the paper, he would use the paper to expose corruption.
The World investigated many issues of the Democratic Party. He sought to expose corrupt practices in big businesses and the federal government. He was responsible for the passage of anti-trust legislation of the insurance companies. Pulitzer wanted to make sure his knowledge on investigative journalism would be passed on, in 1904, Pulitzer proposed the founding of a school of journalism, Pulitzer summarized his ideas by stating, “Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery.” In 1909, Pulitzer’s paper exposed an illegal transfer of over $40 million by the US government to the French-Panama Canal Company. The government attacked back by accusing Pulitzer of criminal liability against President Theodore Roosevelt and J.P.
Morgan. Pulitzer refused to give up on his paper’s investigation, and The World continued in its investigation due to the rights granted in the constitution. When the courts ignored the accusations, Pulitzer was given credit for gaining more freedoms to the press. Because of Pulitzer’s contribution to free press, more scandals were exposed and journalism was made mainstream, with record high viewership, the future generations of journalist now knew how to take on not only big businesses but the government as well.
The year after Pulitzers died, his vision was fulfilled by the founding of the Columbia School of Journalism. The 19-member board is composed of leading editors or news executives. The board is self-perpetuating in the election of members. When selecting board members and juries, diversity and education are vital, no matter what gender or race the person belongs to does not account for the decision.