February 1, 2010 New Biography of Media Giant Joseph Pulitzer Is Subject of Book Discussion

“Pulitzer” Documents Transformation of American Journalism

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Although he may be best known today for the prize that bears his name, Joseph Pulitzer ushered in the era of modern mass media in the 19th century. “What he accomplished was as significant in his time as the creation of television would be in the 20th century, and it remains deeply relevant in today’s information age,” writes James McGrath Morris in “Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print and Power” (HarperCollins, 2010).

Morris will discuss and sign his book on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at noon in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Book and the Manuscript Division. It is part of the Center’s Books & Beyond author series and is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

“Pulitzer” traces the epic story of a Jewish Hungarian immigrant’s rise through American politics and into journalism, where he accumulated immense power and wealth, only to become blind and a lonely, tormented recluse who wandered the globe—but not before he transformed journalism into a medium of mass consumption.

Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) was a great practitioner of “yellow journalism,” and he exploited all the converging elements of entertainment, technology, business and changing demographics to advance a progressive political agenda and increase his power to fight those who opposed him. His run-ins with Theodore Roosevelt led the president to attempt to send Pulitzer to prison. Pulitzer fought grueling legal battles to ensure freedom of the press, which would forever alter the content of American newspapers and other forms of reportage.

Morris’s book is also the subject of a discussion on Facebook. The new Books & Beyond Book Club is available at www.facebook.com/booksandbeyond/. The site offers discussions of books by authors who have appeared, or will appear, in this series. The site also offers links to webcasts of these events and asks readers to talk about what they have seen and heard.

The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 “to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries.” With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center also oversees the new Read.gov website, with its exclusive “Exquisite Corpse Adventure” serialized story.


PR 10-022
ISSN 0731-3527