November 25, 2014, front page of the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
|Format||Compact (March 23, 2009)|
|Founded||December 12, 1878|
by Joseph Pulitzer
|Headquarters||901 North 10th Street|
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a major regional newspaper based in St. Louis, Missouri, serving the St. Louis metropolitan area. It is the largest daily newspaper in the metropolitan area by circulation, surpassing the Belleville News-Democrat, Alton Telegraph, and Edwardsville Intelligencer. The publication has received 19 Pulitzer Prizes.
On April 10, 1907, Pulitzer wrote what became known 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.
In 1878, Joseph Pulitzer purchased the bankrupt St. Louis Dispatch at a public auction and merged it with the St. Louis Evening Post to create the St. Louis Post and Dispatch, whose title was soon shortened to its current form. He appointed John A. Cockerill as the managing editor. Its first edition, 4,020 copies of four pages each, appeared on December 12, 1878.
In 1882, James Overton Broadhead ran for US Congress against John Glover. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at Cockerill's direction, ran a number of articles questioning Broadhead's role in a lawsuit between a gaslight company and the city; Broadhead never responded to the charges. Broadhead's friend and law partner, Alonzo W. Slayback, publicly defended Broadhead, asserting that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was nothing more than a "blackmailing sheet." The next day, October 13, 1882, Cockerill re-ran an offensive "card" by John Glover that the paper had published the prior November (November 11, 1881). Incensed, Slayback barged into Cockerill's offices at the paper demanding an apology. Cockerill shot and killed Slayback; he claimed self-defense, and a pistol was allegedly found on Slayback's body. A grand jury refused to indict Cockerill for murder, but the economic consequences for the paper were severe. Therefore, in May 1883, Pulitzer sent Cockerill to New York to manage the New York World for him.
After Joseph Pulitzer's retirement, generations of Pulitzers guided the newspaper, ending when great-grandson Joseph Pulitzer IV left the company in 1995.
The Post-Dispatch was characterized by a liberal editorial page and columnists, including Marquis Childs. The editorial page was noted also for political cartoons by Daniel R. Fitzpatrick, who won the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartoons, and Bill Mauldin, who won the Pulitzer for editorial cartoons in 1959.
Several months prior to the anniversary edition, the newspaper published a 63rd-anniversary tribute to "Our Own Oddities", a lighthearted feature that ran from 1940 to 1990.
In 1950, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sent a reporter, Dent McSkimming, to Brazil to cover the 1950 FIFA World Cup. The reporter paid for his own travelling expenses and was the only U.S. reporter in all of Brazil covering the event.
In 1959 the St. Louis Globe-Democrat entered into a joint operating agreement with the Post-Dispatch. The Post–Globe operation merged advertising, printing functions and shared profits. The Post-Dispatch, distributed evenings, had a smaller circulation than the Globe-Democrat, a morning daily. The Globe-Democrat folded in 1983, leaving the Post-Dispatch as the only daily newspaper in the region.
On January 13, 2004, the Post-Dispatch published a 125th-anniversary edition, which included some highlights of the paper's 125 years:
- Coverage of Charles Lindbergh, who flew across the Atlantic despite being denied financial or written support from the Post-Dispatch.
- A Pulitzer Prize-winning campaign to clean up smoke pollution in St. Louis. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the city had the filthiest air in America. See 1939 St. Louis smog.
- 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.
On January 31, 2005, Michael Pulitzer 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 $1.46 billion. He said no family members would serve on the board of the merged company.
On March 12, 2007, the paper eliminated 31 jobs, mostly in its circulation, classified phone rooms, production, purchasing, telephone operations and marketing departments. Several rounds of layoffs have followed.
On May 4, 2012, the Post-Dispatch named a new editor, Gilbert Bailon.
In 2015, the paper was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for its coverage of protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
Circulation and cost
Circulation dropped for the daily paper from 213,472 to 191,631 and then 178,801 for the two years after 2010, ending on September 30, 2011, and September 30, 2012, respectively. The Sunday paper also decreased from 401,427 to 332,825 and then to 299,227. The circulation as of September 30, 2016, was 98,104 daily and 157,543 on Sunday.
According to a 2017 press release from Lee Enterprises, the paper reaches more than 792,600 readers each week and stltoday.com has roughly 67 million page views a month.
On February 11, 1901, the paper introduced a front-page feature called the "Weatherbird", a cartoon bird accompanying the daily weather forecast. "Weatherbird" is the oldest continuously published cartoon in the United States. Created by Harry B. Martin, who drew it through 1903, it has since been drawn by Oscar Chopin (1903–1910); S. Carlisle Martin (1910–1932); Amadee Wohlschlaeger (1932–1981); Albert Schweitzer, the first one to draw the Weatherbird in color (1981–1986); and Dan Martin (1986–present).
- Jerry Berger, society columnist, 1980–2004
- Bob Broeg, Hall of Fame baseball writer, 1946–2004
- Jacob Burck, political cartoonist, 1937–1938
- Cole Charles Campbell, editor, 1996–2000
- Richard Dudman, national affairs correspondent and Washington bureau chief, 1950–1981
- Daniel R. Fitzpatrick
- Derrick Goold, author and sportswriter
- Rick Hummel, Hall of Fame baseball writer, 1971–present
- Carlos Hurd, a reporter who happened to be aboard the Carpathia when it rescued the survivors of the Titanic, and who covered the 1918 East St. Louis riots
- Clair Kenamore, foreign correspondent, telegraph editor, feature writer and Sunday magazine editor, early 20th century
- Joe Mahr, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, 2006–2009
- Rose Marion (ca. 1875-1947), feature writer
- Harry B. Martin, cartoonist and golf writer
- S. Carlisle Martin, cartoonist and illustrator
- Marguerite Martyn, reporter and artist (born ca. 1880, died 1948)
- Bill Mauldin, cartoonist
- Bernie Miklasz, sports columnist, 1985–2015
- Robert Minor, political cartoonist, 1907–1911
- Joseph Pulitzer, publisher
- Charlie Ross, chief Washington correspondent and editor, 1918–1945
- Lou Rose, investigative reporter, 1964–1995 
- Neal Russo, baseball writer and copy editor, 1947–1990
- Elaine Viets, columnist, 1975–2000
- Joe Williams, film critic, 1996–2015
- Amadee Wohlschlaeger, sports cartoonist
- William Woo, journalist and editor-in-chief, 1962–1996
- St. Louis Globe-Democrat, a major competing St. Louis daily newspaper, located one block away on the same street, closed in 1986
- St. Louis Sun, a short-lived competing daily newspaper started in 1989
- 100 Neediest Cases, an annual charitable giving campaign sponsored in part by the Post-Dispatch
- Riverfront Times, the St. Louis weekly newspaper
- The Sporting News, a sports magazine that was started in St. Louis
- "New publisher named at Post-Dispatch". stltoday.com. May 2, 2013. Archived from the original on August 24, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "Post-Dispatch ups buyout offer to 20 employees". St. Louis Business Journal. February 3, 2017. Archived from the original on May 22, 2017.
- "Pulitzer prizes won by the Post-Dispatch". stltoday.com. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch Platform from the newspaper's website.
- Jolley, Laura R. "Joseph Pulitzer". Missouri Biographies for Students. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- Shepley, Carol Ferring. Movers and Shakers, Scalawags and Suffragettes: Tales from Bellefontaine Cemetery. Missouri History Museum: St. Louis, 2008.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Tady, Megan (February 3, 2009). "Washington Reporters' Mass Exodus". Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
- "Daniel R. Fitzpatrick of St. Louis Post-Dispatch". www.pulitzer.org. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
- Stokes, Richard L. (May 22, 1946). "Secret Soviet-Nazi Pacts on Eastern Europe Aired: Purported Texts on Agreed Spheres of Influence Produced at Nuernberg but Not Admitted at Trial". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
- Hanc, John (June 10, 2010). "Walter Bahr reflects on the day the US beat England and stunned the soccer world". AARP. Archived from the original on June 11, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- "ST. LOUIS GLOBE-DEMOCRAT ANNOUNCES IT WILL CLOSE THIS YEAR". The New York Times. November 7, 1983. Archived from the original on June 28, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Post‐Dispatch in St. Louis Publishes After 6 Weeks". Associated Press. October 6, 1973. Archived from the original on June 29, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "St. Louis Post Dispatch to cut 31 Jobs", St. Louis Business Journal, March 12, 2007.
- Top 100 Newspapers in the United States Archived 2016-04-16 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed August 17, 2016.
- As of September 30, 2012 "2012 Top Media Outlets: Newspapers, Blogs, Consumer Magazines, Social Networks, and Websites". BurrellesLuce. January 2013. Archived from the original on March 22, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
- "St. Louis Post-Dispatch named Lee's 2017 Enterprise of the Year". Lee Enterprises. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
- "St. Louis Public Library UPDATE: A Tribute to Amadee". St. Louis Public Library, City of St. Louis. September 4, 2014. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
- Johnston, David Cay (January 8, 2007), "" Archived 2017-06-09 at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times
- "When Titanic sank in 1912, P-D reporter Carlos Hurd landed the story of a lifetime". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- "Marguerite Martyn Dies; Artist, Writer," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 17, 1948, page 5A Archived December 21, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
- "Louis J. Rose: investigative reporter exposed St. Louis corruption". stltoday.com. Archived from the original on August 28, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- Jim McWilliams, Mark Twain in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1874–1891 (Troy, New York: Whitston Publishing Company, 1997).
- Merrill, John C. and Harold A. Fisher. The world's great dailies: profiles of fifty newspapers (1980) pp 286–93
- 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, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1967).
- 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).
- Orrick Johns, Time of Our Lives: The Story of My Father and Myself, (New York, 1937). George Sibley Johns, father of the author, was editor of the Post-Dispatch for many years, and was the last of Joseph Pulitzer's "Fighting Editors".
- Dan Martin, The story of the First 100 Years of the St. Louis Post Dispatch Weatherbird (St. Louis, 2001).