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Profile of the Day: Joseph Pulitzer

On this day in 1847, newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer was born. Today he best known for establishing the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, which is awarded annually for excellence in American journalism.

Profile of the Day: Joseph Pulitzer

Joseph Pulitzer / Library of Congress

Pulitzer was born on April 10, 1847 in Makó, Hungary to a well-regarded merchant family. Growing up in Budapest, Pulitzer was educated by private tutors. In 1864, he emigrated to the United States as a recruit for the Union Army during the American Civil War.

After the war, Pulitzer worked a series of odd jobs before beginning his career as a journalist for the German-language newspaper, Westliche Post. He built a strong reputation as a journalist and eventually became a publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World, a major newspaper of the era. A pioneer in journalism, Pulitzer emphasized sensational stories, such as investigative reporting with publicity stunts. In an effort to attract readers, he introduced innovations such as comics, illustrated articles, sports coverage, and coverage of women’s fashion.

Did you know Pulitzer also had a hand in getting the Statue of Liberty to New York? When work on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal was threatened by a lack of funds, Pulitzer began a promotion in his New York World newspaper to help raise donations from the American people to complete the project. He was not only able to raise the money, but also gained thousands of new subscribers thanks to his campaign efforts.

Pulitzer died on October 29, 1911 at the age of 64.

Explore Joseph Pulitzer’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related to the newspaper pioneer.

View Joseph Pulitzer’s Geni Profile


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