? INTRODUCTIONAmerican journalism and mass media were both profoundly influenced by a verydominating figure. In the last decade of the 19th century up until the end of the first half of the 20thcentury, William Randolph Hearst was a mega-force to be reckoned with. Hearst was a famousAmerican publisher who built up the nation’s largest chain of newspapers. He was also a politicalfigure and one of the leading figures during the Spanish-American War period.
In his newspapers,he introduced a sensational journalistic style of writing and spent millions of dollars to fascinate andcaptivate readers. This kind of journalism was described by critics as “Yellow Journalism. ” During his lifetime, even up until today, he has been respected, feared, loathed and envied by hisfriends and enemies alike. A man in his position was capable of being the greatest constructor orthe most destructive evil of the Nation. BIOGRAPHYOn 29th day of April 1863, in San Francisco, California, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, in greattorment, gave birth to a boy in her bedroom. The boy was named William Randolph Hearst.Order now
William Randolph Hearst was the only child of George and Phoebe Hearst. His father, GeorgeHearst ( 1820-1891 ), was not born into a rich and wealthy family. He did his share of the labor ata lead mine near his home. Mining had always fascinated him even from his childhood years. Helater earned the nickname the “Boy-That-Earth-Talked-To” from the miners he was working with.
With tremendous luck, hard working and blessings, he worked his way to become a multimillionaireminer and had also become a United States Senator from California ( 1886-1891 ). His mother,Phoebe Apperson Hearst ( 1842-1919 ), was a philanthropist and a school teacher from Missouri. She had gained national fame for her gifts to needy students and educational institutions. WhileHearst was a boy, his father traveled throughout the West, from Mexico to Alaska, becoming apartner in three of the largest mining discoveries ever recorded in American history: the Comstock( silver ) Lode in Nevada, the Homestake ( gold ) Mine in South Dakota and the Anaconda (copper)Mine in Montana. These three findings paved George Hearst the way to his millions. George Hearst, in October of 1880, bought a small daily newspaper called the San FranciscoExaminer.
He saw that the ownership of this newspaper can be used as a political organ and wouldbe beneficial to him. George took steps to improve the Examiner by hiring Emanuel Katz as thegeneral manager and expanded the workforce. Despite the fact that he did make some efforts in thenewspaper business, he had shown very little interest in the industry. At that time, he was veryinterested in politics and later became a United States Senator from California as it was mentionedabove. In the fall of 1882, William Randolph Hearst, aged nineteen, entered Harvard University. But Hearst did not stay in Harvard University for long before being expelled in 1885 because ofpractical jokes he played on the professors.
Around the year 1884 – 1885, William wrote a letterto his father requesting that he be entitled to take over the San Francisco Examiner. One of thesentences from the letter he wrote to his father was “Now if you should make over to me theExaminer—with enough money to carry out my schemes—I’ll tell you what I would do!” His father had hoped that William would inherit the management of his mining and ranchinginterests but William denied his father’s desire. So on the 7th of March 1887, William RandolphHearst took control and became the proprietor of his father’s struggling newspaper, San FranciscoExaminer. Hearst, aged 23 then, showed a lot of versatility and was ascertained to make thisnewspaper popular. Many believed that Hearst was simply an amateur. He quickly set aboutdisproving that by dedicating long hours and much energy to the newspaper.
As owner and also theeditor of the newspaper, he accumulated the best equipment, improved its appearance and itsrelationship with the advertisers. Most importantly, he hired the most talented journalists possible. He nicknamed the paper “The Monarch of the Dailies. ” In order to boost circulation, Hearstpublished a lot of news articles regarding corruption and motivating stories filled with drama.
Thattype of journalism became the trademark of the San Francisco Examiner and of Hearst’s journalism. Hearst, combining sensationalism with a civic reform campaign, made his newspaper prosperedwithin a few years. In 1895, Hearst moved to New York City and entered the New York City newspaper marketby purchasing a second newspaper, the unsuccessful New York Morning Journal. One year later,he began the publication of the Evening Journal. His newspaper, the Morning Journal, enteredinto a series of fierce head-to-head circulation wars with his former mentor Joseph Pulitzer, ownerof the New York World.
In order to defeat his competitors, Hearst hired such proficient writers asStephen Crane and Julian Hawthorne and raided the New York World for some of Joseph Pulitzer’sbest men, particularly Richard F. Outcault, the inventor of color comics. He also made some veryintelligent and strategic moves as he tried to out-maneuver Pulitzer. Hearst simply hired Pulitzer’swriters with more money.
He recruited many very talented writers including Ambrose Bierce, MarkTwain, Richard Harding Davis and the talented sketch artist Frederic Remington. Many factors had contributed to the success of the New York Journal. Factors such as pricereduction of one cent; expanding it to sixteen pages; increasing the use of many illustrations, addingcolor magazine sections and glaring headlines; including sensational articles on crime,pseudoscientific and foreign affair topics. Although Hearst suffered great financial loss from takingthose actions to improve the newspaper in the beginning; however, within months, the combineddaily circulation of the Morning Journal and the Evening Journal had reached the unprecedentedfigure of 1. 5 million sales.
Hearst played a vital role in provoking the American public’s anger by publishingexaggerated news on what the Spanish did in Cuba. In order to surpass Pulitzer, Hearst ran a seriesof articles in his newspapers blaming the Spanish for the sinking of the USS Maine with a mine. He also wrote many stories on Cuba that were greatly exaggerated to make them more sensational. That was when the term “Yellow Journalism” came in.
Hearst also wrote other stories withexaggerations to capture the American public. More and more Americans, entranced by theoutrageous stories, started buying his newspapers. That had encouraged Hearst to write even moreof those stories. The news articles on Cuba not only brought interest but also anger to the Americanpublic.
The last straw was when one of Hearst’s reporters, Richard Harding Davis, reported thestory on how Clemencia Arango was being kicked and stripped searched by Spanish detectives. That greatly angered the American public, even when the story was corrected to say that Arango wassearched by another woman, not the detectives. Hearst, with his newspapers, had secured the publicon his side and the government had no choice but to declare war on Spain. Because of his leadingrole in arousing the war, he was given the nickname, the “Father of Yellow Journalism. ”On the 28th day of April 1903, the day before Hearst’s fortieth birthday, William RandolphHearst married Millicent Wilson in New York City.
For their honeymoon, they drove across theEuropean continent. That trip inspired Hearst to launch his first magazine, Motor. That had helpedform what is now an international operation known as Hearst Magazines. He later produced othermagazines such as the Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country, House Beautiful andGood Housekeeping. Hearst continued his interests in communications and his company was the first print-mediacompany to enter the radio broadcasting business in the 1920s. He was a major producer of movienewsreels and started the legendary newsreel production company, Hearst Metrotone News in 1929.
Then in the 1940s, he entered the television business. At the peak of his fortune in 1935, he ownedtwenty-eight major newspapers, eighteen magazines, several radio stations, movie productioncompanies and news services. Meanwhile, Hearst, like his father, had political ambitions. He was elected twice as aDemocrat into the United States House of Representatives to represent New York from 1903 to1907. In 1904, he strived for the Democratic nomination for President but failed to win. He ran forthe mayor of New York City in 1905 but fell three thousand votes short for the win.
His request tobecome governor of New York in 1906 failed. He lost to Charles Evans Hughes. Once again,Hearst ran for the mayor of New York City in 1909 and suffered a huge defeat. He could not attainthe offices he sought including the nomination for senator from New York in 1922. In 1927, he gave up on New York and moved to his enormous estate to California. This240,000-acre estate, in San Simeon, was considered one of the most lavish private dwellings in theUnited States.
Built in the 1920s, the estate fronted by fifty miles of ocean water, four majesticcastles, containing a vast and priceless collection of antiques and art objects that he had brought infrom Europe and all over the world. But the Great Depression of the 1930s seriously weakened hisfinancial status. He had to sell faltering newspapers and magazines. By 1937, he was forced tobegin selling off some of his priceless art collection.
After 1940, he had lost personal control of hisvast communications empire that he had built. He lived the last few years of his life in isolation. Hearst died at about 9:50 on the morning of August 14, 1951, in Beverly Hills, California. He livedto be 88 years old. All five of his sons followed their father into the media business.
After Hearst’sdeath, there was a big question about the castle. In Hearst’s will, he wished that the castle, alongwith all the items within it including the priceless works of art, might go to the University ofCalifornia as a memorial to his mother. The University refused with thanks. They could not affordto maintain such a magnificent mansion.
Likewise, the Hearst family and the Hearst Corporationdirectors were unenthusiastic about spending money on Hearst’s dream. A $30,000,000 castle thatcould neither be sold nor given away. Finally in 1957, the State of California accepted the castleas a gift. ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCEOF SUBJECTWilliam Randolph Hearst was, at his time, a very powerful and brilliant young man. Beingso wealthy and in such a status, he could have done anything he wished to do. Hearst had almost singled-handedly mastered and overshadowed the mass communicationsindustry.
At one point, he had dominated the mass media business by monopolizing the publicationof newspapers and magazines. He also owned several radio stations and participated in filmbroadcasting by owning a movie production company. In fact, he was a major producer of a movienewsreel then. In my opinion, his involvement in the communications business was almost secondto none during his time. His introduction of the sensational journalistic style ( Yellow Journalism ) in the newspapershad fascinated and captivated many readers. People started to call him the “Father of YellowJournalism.
” He had influenced the Nation’s media with that kind of writing. He was brave enoughto start revealing the corruption amongst the private and government entities. All the peopleinvolved in corruption lived in fear of Hearst because they were worried that Hearst might put themin the front page. Some, because of Hearst, had stopped the act of corruption.
In view of his extensive association and control over the Nation’s communications network, Hearst was considered one of the most influential persons during the period before the Spanish-American War. He was so persuasive that he was believed to be one of the people responsible fortriggering the War. The Nation might not have gone into war with Spain if Hearst’s articles andradio talks had not been persistently persuasive on how the United States was being humiliated by Spain. A person like Hearst, in my opinion, could dominate the nation.
Phoebe Hearst would neverhave realized that she had given birth to a man who had the power to provoke a war. Although hefailed in his political endeavors of being elected as a senator nor a mayor, he did play a significantrole in effectuating a decision made by the politicians of the United States in declaring the Spanish-American War. Hearst was considered very successful in his life, in terms of his accomplishments andachievements in the mass media and journalism world of communications. If it were not Hearst’s ambitions and different strategies to pioneer his great journalism empire with diversifiedpublications, inspirational, sensational and extensive color coverages, the newspaper today couldbe just a piece of paper with news printed in black and white. There would not have been a twistto the articles. CONCLUSIONIn conclusion, William Randolph Hearst, the founder of the Hearst Corporation, was aperson that could dominate the nation by the stroke of his pen.
He started with a strugglingnewspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, and turned it into a prosperous publication within a fewyears. He also turned the unsuccessful newspaper, New York Journal, into the largest newspaperchain in the United States through a series of strategies. Not only did he had the largest chain ofnewspaper, he was also one of the largest owners of magazines. He had established a trademark of“Hearst’s journalism” and was nicknamed the founder of the “Yellow Journalism” during theSpanish-American War.
Despite his uneventful foray into politics, he remained throughout the decades as a verydominating figure, a great motivating publisher and an opinion maker. Not only did he justdominate the newspaper industry by owning 28 major publications, diversify his interests intoowning 28 magazines, several radio stations, movie production companies and news services. Hehad succeeded in conquering the mass communications industry through excellent strategic moves. He was believed to be one of the persons who had provoked the declaration of the Spanish-American War. His persistent coverage on the Cuba events as well as his day-today articles on theUSS Maine’s sinking persuaded the Americans to go into war with Spain.
His articles andexaggerated stories had proved to be extremely influential to such an extent that the Governmenthad no alternative but to make the war declaration. With all the enormously exaggerated newsarticles and stores published during that period, he was given the nickname of “Father of YellowJournalism.”He was a man full of innovative ideas and was definitely a very successful business man fordecades, but because of the Great Depression, he was forced to sell his companies and later his artcollections he brought from all over the world.After his death, San Simeon, Hearst’s 240,000 acre castle, was donated to the State ofCalifornia as a State park.Biographies