Sound_Final_Influential Journalists

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Learn about four influential journalist who made a difference in print media's early years.

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Influential Journalists:

Influential Journalists Those who made a difference in Print media’s early years

John Peter Zenger:

John Peter Zenger (October 26, 1697-July 28, 1746) Zenger was a German-American journalist who printed the New York Weekly Journal . After criticizing the governor, he was charged with criminal libel. After serving eight months in jail, he was acquitted at his trial.

Zenger’s Contribution:

Zenger’s Contribution His trial set an important precedent in free speech cases. The court ruled that a statement, even if defamatory, is not libelous if it can be proved, thus affirming freedom of the press in America.

Mathew Brady:

Mathew Brady (May 18, 1822-January 15, 1896) He was one of the first American photographers and was best known for his images of the Civil War. He studied under inventor Samuel Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America.

Brady’s Contribution:

Brady’s Contribution Brady is considered the father of photojournalism. No one in the history of photography can claim to have taken more photographs of important historical figures during the 19 th century. He is credited with bringing the harsh realities of war home to many newspaper readers.

Joseph Pulitzer:

Joseph Pulitzer (April 10, 1847- October 29, 1911) He was a Hungarian-born journalist who battled with William Randolph Hearst to determine who could sell the most sensational stories. His papers combined investigative pieces along with publicity stunts, blatant self-advertising, and sensationalistic journalism. This style would come to be known as “yellow journalism” during the height of the Spanish-American war.

Pulitzer’s Contribution:

Pulitzer’s Contribution Trying to attract more readers, Pulitzer introduced such innovations as comics, sports coverage, women’s fashion coverage, and illustrations into his newspapers. In his will, Pulitzer endowed the Columbia University   School of Journalism, which opened in 1912, and established the Pulitzer Prize, awarded annually since 1917.

William Randolph Hearst:

William Randolph Hearst (April 29, 1863-August 14, 1951) He is known for publishing the largest chain of American newspapers in the late 19 th century. His influence extended beyond journalism into the fields of politics and movies. He and Pulitzer fiercely fought to build the largest media empire. At one point, Hearst raided Pulitzer’s staff offering them higher salaries and better positions. By 1897, Hearst’s New York papers had a combined circulation of 1.5 million.

Hearst’s Contribution:

Hearst’s Contribution His newspapers were known for “yellow journalism,” a style that featured large banner headlines and stories based on speculation and half-truths. Most of the space was devoted to crime stories, but reporters did investigate government corruption and negligence by public institutions.

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