Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911) was the influential newspaperman best known as the publisher of the New York World and creator of the Pulitzer Prizes. Pulitzer was born in Hungary and moved to the United States as a teenager. He began his career as a reporter for a German-language newspaper in 1868. In 1869, he was elected to the Missouri legislature and in the early 1870s helped to organize the Liberal Republican Party (though he later became a Democrat when the party collapsed). In 1874, Pulitzer bought and merged two failing newspapers to create the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He used the paper as a platform for furthering reform causes, and under Pulitzer’s leadership, the Post-Dispatch became highly successful. In 1883, Pulitzer purchased the New York World and made the paper the leading Democratic paper in the nation. Like his competitor William Randolph Hearst, Pulitzer used sensationalism and “yellow journalism” (especially during the Spanish-American War) to sell papers, a tactic that helped make him one of most successful newspapermen in American history. In his will, Pulitzer endowed his namesake prizes, awarded annually for excellence in journalism and the humanities.

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