William Randolph Hearst was by far one of the most successful and accomplished entrepreneurs in the publishing industry as well as the general business world. His contributions to American Society include innovative business ideas and methods practiced by his publications. He was a great leader, husband and father, and pioneer in mass media and journalism. His name can now be seen on
William was born on April 29, 1863 in San Francisco. His father, George Hearst, was a rancher, miner, and U.S. Senator and his mother, Phoebe, was a school teacher and philanthropist. His parents were multimillionares and were involved with publications before William was born. William grew up as a trouble maker and was very sly in schools he attended. He played many practical jokes wherever he was. William attended Harvard University where he managed the student comic magazine called The Lampoon. He was expelled from school in 1885 because of a practical joke he played.
At the time, George was running a local newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, which was given to him as payment for a gambling debt. He was too busy as a California senator so he decided to give the paper to William who had asked to take over the Examiner. Hoping William would temporarily manage the paper and soon become a rancher and miner, George handed him the paper on March 7, 1887. William spent many hours a day and a lot of energy working on the paper, trying to prove he wasnt just a joker. At age 23 he proved to many that he could make the small daily newspaper a success.This began his career in publishing.
In 1895, William moved to New York City and bought the New York Journal and made it a success. New York became the headquarters for the Hearst Corporation. He competed directly with The (New York) World which was published by Joseph Pulitzer. Soon he purchased other papers and magazines. Thirty years after managing the Examiner, William owned 25 daily newspapers and magazines. The Hearst eagle became his trademark. He started the International News Service in 1909 to help reporting for all the publications. Because he started out in comics, he led the industry in making color comics in newspapers. Other contributions included banner headlines and editorials serving the interest of consumers. In the 1920’s, he became involved with radio broadcasting and in the 1940’s entered into television broadcasting. Hearst Metrotone News produced movie newsreels. William became known as “The Chief.” He contributed many editorial guidelines to the publishing industry.
Not only did William have an exciting life as an entrepreneur, he also was heavily involved in politics. From 1903 to 1907, he was a House representative for New York. In 1904, he actually ran for the mayor, governor, and nomination for president. All efforts were unsuccessful.
In 1903, William married Millicent Willson. William had a family of five sons who all became executives in Hearst Newspapers, Inc. One of his sons, William Randolph Hearst, Jr. became a Pulitzer prize winner in 1956. And in 1974, Patricia Hearst, Williams granddaughter, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. This led to one of the biggest police searches ever in American history. She was later forced to join the army and was found and arrested for her actions. Years later she was released from prison by President Carter.
William died on August 14, 1951 at age 88 in Beverly Hills. He left behind his famous estate, Hearst Castle, located in San Simeon, California. The estate stretches 50 miles along the Pacific coast and includes 240,000 acres of land, 4 castles, and many priceless sculptures and paintings. The estate is now a California state park.
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