Only the very best, most astute practitioners of journalism are afforded the Pulitzer Prize. Named for Joseph Pulitzer, a Jewish immigrant from Hungary who established an endowment at Columbia University to recognize excellence in journalism and the Columbia School of Journalism, since 1917 only the most-worthy are rewarded the prestigious prize.
However, after seeing a soon-to-be-released document titled “Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People” it appears no one nears the bar Joseph Pulitzer set when he embarked on a career to set the record straight in identifying yellow journalism and in the process reformed a free press.
In a documentary directed by Oren Rudavsky, narrated by Adam Driver and voiced as Pulitzer by Liev Schreiver as part of the American Masters series, the revealing biography provides evidence that fake news was always a phenomena.
Pulitzer despised the practice and dedicated his life to countering yellow journalism, gossip, and unverifiable information.
Most known facts about the do-gooder are that Pulitzer published the St. Louis Post and Dispatch and later the New York World. That while here in the city he rivalled the empire William Randolph Hearst’s established by publishing one million copies of his newspaper each and every day.
Rudavsky’s testament states that Pulitzer was first a Republican but quickly abandoned the party to declare himself a Democrat.
Using that political platform he ran for public office and was elected a New York Congressman. He crusaded against big business, corruption and is credited with leading a campaign to properly display the Statue of Liberty, which was gifted by the France without a pedestal or mount.
Lesser promoted is the fact Pulitzer publicly shamed President Theodore Roosevelt by accusing him of paying off the French in order to win the rights to build the Panama Canal. Pulitzer charged the president with giving them $40,000,000.
He ran numerous stories to prove his claim and although Roosevelt sued him for libel, a judge dismissed the case against Pulitzer.
Pulitzer effectively used his newspapers to empower the voiceless majority of Americans. How he forged his ideal is wonderfully revealed through documented clips from his birth to arriving in the USA, induction in the US Navy, reporting and editing at newspapers, acquisition of his first purchase, his marriage, his relentless pursuit of investigative journalism, etc.
How he tackled discrimination, integrated diversity with coverage, exposed corruption and dedicated his entire life to the field of journalism provides more than fodder but adds admiration to his character.
By the way, reportedly, one of his endearing past-times was to walk along the Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn with his family.
“Beloved” Toni Morrison — A Pulitzer Winner Gets “Pieces”
Novelist Toni Morrison who penned “Beloved” a book that won her a Nobel Prize in literature in 1993 and also placed her as the first African American to claim the distinction is now the subject of a documentary due in June.
Titled “Toni Morrison: “The Pieces That I Am,” until its release later this year, this insider is not at liberty to disclose the testimonies that endorse her acclaim and those that named her the 1988 winner of a Pulitzer Prize.
Suffice it to say that Morrison is more than “Beloved,” the book that was made an epic film starring Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey.
In her efforts to present the African-American perspective, she is also the author of “Mercy,” “Tar Baby,” “The Bluest Eye,” “Song of Solomon,” Sula,” and many others. Morrison was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2012.
See it when it screens.
Catch You on The Inside!