Trained for succession to the Pulitzer media empire by his father, Joseph Pulitzer III strove above all to maintain the paper’s liberal/reformist philosophy profitably practiced since 1878 by his predecessors. When other newspapers began blurring the boundary between news and entertainment as a way of keeping and attracting readers and advertisers, Pulitzer resisted letting the
put profit motives ahead of journalistic independence. When Pulitzer died in 1993, he had managed to sustain the
’s distinguished tradition of editorial independence, and he left behind a company that was substantially larger and more competitive than when he took charge thirty-eight years before.
In addition to his work with the Post-Dispatch
, Pulitzer was the head of the Pulitzer Publishing Company from 1955 to 1993. He also served as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University for thirty-one years. The board, which had been established by his grandfather, was responsible for awarding the coveted annual prizes in journalism, letters, and music.
As much as Pulitzer was known for his affiliation with the Post-Dispatch, he was also known for his collection of contemporary art, regarded as one of the largest and finest in the world. He was known, too, for the stately way in which he carried himself, for his elegant attire, and for his impeccable taste and manners.
This remarkable biography will be of interest to scholars of journalism and media history and American history generally, as well as those interested in the tribulations of family businesses. It will also appeal to cultural historians and general readers, who will be interested in how this bearer of a widely known name handled the power, responsibility, and privilege of the position into which he was born.