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William Randolph Hearst Essay

Updated on March 6, 2012

William Randolph Hearst Profile

William Randolph Hearst, (April 29, 1863-August 14, 1951) was a well known newspaper magnate and part time politician. He was born to George Hearst, a wealthy miner, rancher and U.S. Senator, and Phoebe Apperson who was a school teacher. Hearst defined success as developing one of the most influential media conglomerates in the world and leaving a legacy of wealth, power and influence for generations to come.

During Hearst’s early years, Hearst traveled extensively with his mother. She took him on many trips across the country to visit his father, who was commonly away from home on business. At the age of ten Phoebe took Hearst on an eighteen month tour of many countries throughout Europe. While there Heart received French, German and drawing lessons, as well as standard education.

He and his mother toured museums, churches and galleries. Hearst collected trinkets from many of the countries he visited. Being exposed to so many artistic influences, he began his love of art and became an avid collector.

Hearst attended many schools as a young boy, both public and private. He attended Harvard University for a short time before acquiring his first of many newspapers, the failing San Francisco Examiner , owned by his father on March 4, 1887, at the age of twenty-four. His talent and business sense enabled him to turn the San Francisco Examiner into a successful newspaper. He developed a style of journalism that catered to the working class of the time publishing articles that promoted rights of the urban working class, and promoted labor unions.

Hearst, in competition with Joseph Pulitzer, who owned competing newspapers, battled for newspaper sales by running sensational articles often with negative information about Pulitzer and his peers. Hearst known as the father of “Yellow journalism”, a journalistic style described as sensationalistic and which some defined as propaganda.The term was coined when Hearst “stole” several of Pulitzer’s employees including the cartoonist for the only color cartoon in existence “The Yellow Kid”. Hearst ran the cartoon in his papers and Pulitzer did as well by hiring a new cartoonist. By 1898 Hearst had acquired two more newspapers and is said to have started the Spanish American war for economic benefit, through the use of sensationalistic journalism he encouraged.

In 1902 Hearst was elected to congress and served two terms as a Democrat and ran for a third term as an Independent, in which he lost due to his frequent absences because of his obligations to his newspapers. He ran for other public offices but was unsuccessful. His involvement in politics continued though through the use of his newspapers to influence public opinions and affect political outcomes.

In 1903 Hearst married Millicent Wilson and they had five sons. Their marriage lasted until his death, in 1917 Hearst fell in love with a Ziegfeld Follies dancer, Marion Davies. He regularly promoted her acting and film career, spending a fortune on film production and advertising films in which he had handpicked for her When Hearst’s mother died in 1919, he moved into the family’s 127 acre ranch, known as Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. In 1921 He and Ms. Davies, his mistress and live-in companion, had a daughter together. Hearst and Davies never married.

Hearst was also involved in making Hemp production illegal. He used his newspapers to instill fear in the public about the dangers of marijuana. Hemp crops would have affected Hearst’s investments in timber and petroleum, so he used his media power to aid in the prohibition of Hemp, prompting passage of a bill through congress in less than three months and halting the production of Hemp.

Hearst died August 14, 1951 at a home he shared with Ms. Davis in Beverly Hills, California. He was a man whose life consisted of the drive to get what he wanted. He would stop at nothing for his own cause. Over the course of Hearst’s lifetime, he acquired over forty publications, newspapers and magazines, to which he owed his financial success. He had enormous impact on life in America through the media, politics, and his perpetual legacy “Hearst Castle”.


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    • RichERich1175 profile image

      RichERich1175 7 years ago

      I found your hubbie (not your husband) to be very enlightening. I have always felt that Willie was an interesting character. Keep up the good work, Cali girl!!

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 7 years ago from California

      Thank you for the positive comment!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I really enjoy to read William Randolph Hearst story. Thanks for share with us. Very inspiring hub. Good job, my friend. ~prasetio