Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Saint Louis Post-Dispatch
The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch is the only major city-wide newspaper in Saint Louis, Missouri. Although written to serve the Saint Louis metropolitan area, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is available and read as far west as Springfield, Missouri. While some claim that the paper maintains a moderate editorial tone, others believe that the paper has a definite liberal slant.
The newspaper was founded by the 1878 merger of the St. Louis Post and Dispatch by owner and editor Joseph Pulitzer. Its first edition, 4020 copies of four pages each, appeared on December 12, 1878. Upon his retirement in 1907, Pulitzer wrote what is now referred to as the paper's platform:
- "I know that my retirement will make no difference in its cardinal principles, that it will always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty."
After his retirement, generations of Pulitzers guided the newspaper. After great-grandson Joseph Pulitzer IV left the company in 1995, his uncle Michael Pulitzer remained chairman of a company to which the Post-Dispatch became less central, and on January 31, 2005 announced the sale of Pulitzer Inc. and all its assets, including the Post-Dispatch and a small share of the St. Louis Cardinals, to Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa for $1,460,000,000 in cash. He announced that no family members would serve on the board of the merged company.
The paper's 125th anniversary included some highlights of the paper's stories of St. Louis:
- The story of Charles Lindbergh, whose flight across the Atlantic was a success despite being denied financial or written support from the Post-Dispatch.
- A Pulitzer Prize-winning campaign to clean up smoke pollution in St. Louis. For a time in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the city was considered to have the filthiest air in America.
- The sports coverage, including nine "St. Louis baseball Cardinals" championships, an NBA title by the St. Louis Hawks in 1958, and the 2000 Super Bowl victory of the St. Louis Rams.
- Coverage of the city's "cultural icons" including Kate Chopin, Tennessee Williams, Chuck Berry and Miles Davis.
Since February 11, 1901, the paper has included the Weatherbird on its front page, a cartoon of a bird posed and attired to reflect a topical comment of the day, next to the weather forecast. In the 1920s, Louis Armstrong twice recorded ragtime duets named after it.
- Jim McWilliams , Mark Twain in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1874-1891 (Troy, NY: Whitston Publishing Company, 1997).
- Daniel W. Pfaff , Joseph Pulitzer II and the Post-Dispatch: A Newspaperman's Life (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991).
- Julian S. Rammelkamp , Pulitzer's Post-Dispatch, 1878-1883 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967).
- Florence Rebekah Beatty Brown , The Negro as Portrayed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1920-1950 (c. 1951).
- Charles G. Ross and Carlos F. Hurd , The Story of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis: Pulitzer Publishing, 1944).
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch as Appraised by Ten Distinguished Americans (St. Louis, 1926).
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