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Joseph Pulitzer and the New York World

Addressing the class structure in America wherein immigrants failed to acquire sophistication and polish, Pulitzer’s editors were told to concentrate on stories about sex, violence, crime, tragedy, and farce.

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Joseph Pulitzer was a sensationalist who helped perfect the screaming headline, tabloid mentality that exists to this day. Joseph Pulitzer and the New York World, by George Juergens was published by the Princeton University Press, in 1966.  Here are vital notes and excerpts from the book:

“The goal of sensational journalism is to catch the interest, even to titillate, the vast body of men and women who for one reason or another are unconcerned with the happenings in government, business, or the arts.”

Sensationalism isn’t Pretty

Sensational newspapers expanded the meaning of the human interest story to report what had previously been regarded as private — the gossip and scandal about individuals — and discovered a rich source of news in crime and everyday tragedy. They began to pay as much attention to personalities as to local or national events.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: What Does the Term African American Mean?

While Joseph Pulitzer did not originate sensationalism, he played a crucial role in the history of American journalism simply by living at a time when social and economic changes enabled sensationalism to flourish.

Pulitzer used frivolous pictures, poetry, short stories, and the like, to make the newspaper a medium to entertain as well as inform. Pulitzer borrowed ideas of sensationalism that were not his own and brought them up to date to fit a modern America of cities and factories.

Circulation is King

When Pulitzer set up shop in New York, he wanted to achieve the greatest circulation in America’s history. He needed a large circulation in order to have a podium from which his liberal principles could be heard. To obtain it, he had to win the confidence, as well as excite the interest, of the masses of people.

Pulitzer took delight in alliteration. “Fact, Fuss, Fun and Philosophy for the Fair Sex”; “Mangled by Mongrels”; and “Terrible Time in Troy”; were typical of blazing headlines that crossed the front of his papers.

To attract more attention and strike the reader’s eye, Pulitzer sometimes resorted to the dubious practice of pumping minor items out of proportion. A typical technique was to ask a question in the headline, usually one the paper could not answer.

In one instance, two brothers argued in a boarding house, and one shot the other while the grief-stricken mother clasped the dead son’s body to her breast. Rather than use such obvious headlines as “Youth Kills Brother” or “A Tale of Cain and Abel,” Pulitzer seized the reader’s attention with “Blood on Mother’s Lips.”

While patricians might decry such journalism as tasteless, Pulitzer pointed to a steadily rising circulation to prove its effectiveness.

Creating the News

Pulitzer reputedly had a “nose for news,” recognizing the appropriate stories when they appeared, and, when they did not appear, creating them. Such a knack meant making fine judgments about stories that had no place in a mass circulation journal, and not least important, knowing how to present and embellish the right stories so that their potential was not lost on the reader.

The large number of immigrants in New York who had trouble reading English came to rely on Hearst’s paper, The World, for headlines. Accommodating the uncertain literacy of it’s readers, the paper had abundant pictures and bold headlines splashed across each page. Reporters were urged to use simple language and uncomplicated sentence structure.

Addressing the class structure in America wherein immigrants failed to acquire sophistication and polish, the editors concentrated on stories about sex, violence, crime, tragedy, and farce.

The World also resurrected buried items, venturing far from New York City to find desired material. Pulitzer often played up material ignored by other papers to make his front page startling and eye-catching. Pulitzer played up one incident, a squabble between two cab drivers, for three days running, with headlines such as “Will There be a Duel?” The argument long over, the public was kept on the hook, ostensibly so that Pulitzer could sell newspapers.

Constant Conjuring

When the newspaper ran short of news items for sensational treatment, it filled the void by conjuring up equivalent feature material, usually for the Sunday editions. A sampling of features included:

* Recent examples of human sacrifice among fanatical religious sects in the U.S.

* A long report on weapons used to commit murder, including a nail, a coffin lid, a red-hot horseshoe, an umbrella, a match box, a window brush, and a tea kettle.

* A description of two cutthroats from Vienna, Austria, who specialized in courting lonely women and then murdering them.

* A thrilling narrative of cannibalism at sea, in which shipwrecked soldiers cut the jugular vein of the weakest member, their cabin boy, and lived off his flesh.

Publicizing Gore

The ability to discover offbeat ways of publicizing gore was particularly important during the 1880s, when Pulitzer’s paper grew in size.  After deciding what stories should go into the paper, the challenge became presenting them in an effective way. The top-flight journalist who had lost his capacity for shock needed to be wary.

“Pulitzer discovered that when the public became interested in a murder, its curiosity and appetite for detail were almost insatiable. Hence, provocative, gruesome, coy, but never dull, headlines embellished paper after paper.”

 

Personally,  I find it remarkable and horrific that the Pulitzer Prize, an award representing the highest aspirations and achievements in journalism, is named for Mr. Joseph Pulitzer.  What a world.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Life

What Does the Term African American Mean?

The Left vehemently champions racial division

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I’ve never understood why Black Americans for several decades running were referred to as African Americans. Even if their ancestors were from Africa, the majority of the nation’s 44 million Black Americans has never been to Africa, have no viable connection to the continent itself, and have little or no concern about it.

Please Explain it to Me

Now here’s the really confusing part. Black Canadians, to my knowledge, generally have never been called African Canadians. Black people in Mexico have not been called African Mexicans. There’s little use of this type of terminology in Europe such as African French, African Italians, African Spanish, or African Portuguese.

Why, only in America, did the description of Black Americans, namely African Americans ever take hold? Overarching names for the various races have fallen out of favor in recent years. White Americans generally are not referred to as Caucasians. Black Americans are not referred to as Negroes.

Endless Morphs

You have to wonder how and why terminology, for various segments of our population, keeps morphing into something new. At one time white Americans referred to black people as colored people. If I were a member of the black community and was referred to by white people as a colored person, I would be upset. We all have a color!

Later, the most appropriate way to address someone of color was to say they were a person of color. However, that is also a misnomer as once again, we are all of some color.

Scientists, anthropologists, social researchers, and others have pointed out that theoretically there are no races. If you lined up every single person on Earth from the lightest skin to the darkest skin the gradation from person to person would be so slight as to be virtually undetectable.

I like the approach that actor Morgan Freeman has taken, and I wish that more people would adopt it. He has eloquently stated, on many occasions, that one way to stop being obsessed with race is to stop talking about it.

Obsessed with Race

A large faction within the U.S. – Democrats — are populated by subgroups with overlapping views: liberals, progressives, socialists, and Marxists. They want to keep race at the forefront of all public discourse. In their eyes, virtually any topic that you can address – the total eclipse in April, for example – has some underlying racial component embedded within it. Not all topics have a racial component, but that is what they propagate on a daily basis.

What’s more, people on the Left are on the ever-present lookout for anything which they regard as a transgression when others are referring to minorities. They particularly are focused on anything that a Conservative says, at any time, even if it was 30 or 40 years ago, that to the Left some way represents a slight or lack of respect for minorities, particularly Black Americans.

For these ‘race police’ it’s like a game. They are delighted when they are able to find something, anything, that they can aggrandize to the hilt, have the mainstream media pick up, and whip into a social and cultural frenzy.

This bit of historical news might be hard to recall, but four years before Barack Obama was elected U.S. president, the topic of race was less contentious. A Gallup Poll revealed that 74% White Americans and 68% of Black Americans felt that race relations in the country were good. 19 years later, 43% of White people and 33% of Black people reported the same.

If we could only return to those pre-Obama days when Americans, of all types, had some common goals and shared the same types of aspirations such as succeeding in their professions, building a strong financial base for their family, and raising happy and healthy children.

Divided Forever?

Alas, with so many on the Left vehemently championing racial division it looks as if we don’t have good prospects, at least for the immediate future, to return to those hallowed, pre-Obama days. As an eternal optimist, however, I believe that one day the clamor will die down, and once again, we will simply all be Americans.

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Elections

THIS is Who Is REALLY Running the Country – and the Event That Made it Possible

How did this man in the shadows get Biden into a blackmail situation?

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Who EXACTLY is running the United States of America? We all KNOW it isn’t Joe Biden, but who is really in charge? And how did this man in the shadows get Biden into a blackmail situation? Well, Chris Widener, Founder of the Red Referral Network, tells us in this short video… Enjoy and then tell us if you agree!

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