St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post Dispatch cover 11.25.2014.jpg
The November 25, 2014 front page
of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
TypeDaily newspaper
Format Compact (March 23, 2009)
Owner(s) Lee Enterprises
PublisherRay Farris [1]
EditorGilbert Bailon
FoundedDecember 12, 1878
by Joseph Pulitzer
Headquarters901 North 10th Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
Circulation 48,246 Average print circulation [2]
ISSN 1930-9600
OCLC number 1764810

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. [3]


The paper is owned by Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa, which purchased Pulitzer, Inc. in 2005 in a cash deal valued at $1.46 billion.


On April 10, 1907, Joseph 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. [4]


Early years

In 1878, Pulitzer purchased the bankrupt St. Louis Dispatch at a public auction [5] 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.

St. Louis Post- Dispatch ad in 1918 St. Louis Post- Dispatch ad - "Fighting for freedom," Independence day pageant; (IA fightingforfreed00stev) (page 12 crop).jpg
St. Louis Post- Dispatch ad in 1918

In 1882, James Overton Broadhead ran for 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. [6] 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. [7]

The Post-Dispatch was one of the first daily newspapers to print a comics section in color, on the back page of the features section, styled the "Everyday Magazine."[ citation needed ]

20th century

At one time, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had the second-largest news bureau in Washington, D.C., of any newspaper in the Midwestern United States. [8]

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, [9] 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.

On May 22, 1946, the Post-Dispatch became the first newspaper in the world to publish the secret protocols for Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. [10]

During the presidency of Harry S. Truman, the paper was one of his most outspoken critics. It associated him with the Pendergast machine in Kansas City, and constantly attacked his integrity.

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. [11]

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. [12]

In August 1973 a Teamsters union representing Globe and Post-Dispatch staffers went on strike, halting production for six weeks. [13]

21st century

Former St. Louis Post-Dispatch headquarters St. Louis Post-Dispatch headquarters.JPG
Former St. Louis Post-Dispatch headquarters

On January 13, 2004, the Post-Dispatch published a 125th-anniversary edition, which included some highlights of the paper's 125 years:

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.

As of 2007, it was the fifth-largest newspaper in the midwestern United States and the 26th-largest newspaper in the U.S. [14]

On March 12, 2007, the paper eliminated 31 jobs, mostly in its circulation, classified phone rooms, production, purchasing, telephone operations and marketing departments. [15] Several rounds of layoffs have followed.

On March 23, 2009, the paper converted to a compact style every day from the previous broadsheet Sunday through Friday and tabloid on Saturday.

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. [16] The circulation as of September 30, 2016, was 98,104 daily and 157,543 on Sunday. [17]

According to a 2017 press release from Lee Enterprises, the paper reaches more than 792,600 readers each week and has roughly 67 million page views a month. [18]

The paper sells for $2 daily or $4 on Sundays and Thanksgiving Day. The price may be higher outside adjacent counties and states. Sales tax is included at newsracks.


First appearance of the Weatherbird, February 11, 1901 Post-Dispatch Weatherbiird, first appearance.png
First appearance of the Weatherbird, February 11, 1901

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). [19]

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

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The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1952.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Weatherbird</span> Cartoon bird character

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harry B. Martin</span> American cartoonist

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alonzo W. Slayback</span> American lawyer (1838–1882)

Alonzo William Slayback (1838–1882), a lawyer, was an officer in the Confederate Army and a founder of the Veiled Prophet Parade and Ball in St. Louis, Missouri. He was shot and killed in self-defense by the managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles E. Slayback</span> St. Louis philanthropist and grain executive

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  1. "New publisher named at Post-Dispatch". May 2, 2013. Archived from the original on August 24, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  2. Turvill, William (June 24, 2022). "Top 25 US newspaper circulations: Print sales fall another 12% in 2022". Press Gazette. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  3. "Pulitzer prizes won by the Post-Dispatch". Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  4. St. Louis Post-Dispatch Platform from the newspaper's website.
  5. Jolley, Laura R. "Joseph Pulitzer". Missouri Biographies for Students. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  6. Shepley, Carol Ferring. Movers and Shakers, Scalawags and Suffragettes: Tales from Bellefontaine Cemetery. Missouri History Museum: St. Louis, 2008.
  7. "Col. Alonzo W. Slayback". Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  8. Tady, Megan (February 3, 2009). "Washington Reporters' Mass Exodus". Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  9. "Daniel R. Fitzpatrick of St. Louis Post-Dispatch". Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. "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.
  13. "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.
  14. "Top 100 Newspapers in the United States". 2007. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  15. "St. Louis Post Dispatch to cut 31 Jobs", St. Louis Business Journal, March 12, 2007.
  16. 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.
  17. "Post-Dispatch parent makes $140M acquisition". St. Louis Business Journal . January 29, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. "St. Louis Post-Dispatch named Lee's 2017 Enterprise of the Year". Lee Enterprises. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  19. "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.
  20. Johnston, David Cay (January 8, 2007), "" Archived 2017-06-09 at the Wayback Machine . The New York Times
  21. "Marguerite Martyn Dies; Artist, Writer," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 17, 1948, page 5A Archived December 21, 2016, at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

Finding aids at the St. Louis Public Library