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Spanish American War (1898)
The Great American Newspaper War, Part 1 - Rise of the Giants

The Great American Newspaper War, Part 1 - Rise of the Giants
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.46

     challenging words:    available-horseback, days-even, lurid, old-school, readership, weeks-old, determined, rallying, tycoon, housing, sensational, journalism, hotspots, best, waffling, scandal
     content words:    Joseph Pulitzer, Civil War, Louis Post Dispatch, Post Dispatch, New York, New York World, When Lady Liberty, William Randolph Hearst, San Francisco, San Francisco Examiner

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The Great American Newspaper War, Part 1 - Rise of the Giants
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     If you could go back to the late 1800s, you might feel a little out of place. You would notice big differences between the lives of people of that day and your world. One of the biggest contrasts would be in the part of our culture we call the media. In our day, up-to-the-minute news is always streaming onto a screen somewhere near us. We see instant replays of events taking place all over the world. For better or for worse, our access to information is nearly unlimited.
2     In the 1890s, information wasn't so easy to come by. There were no TVs or PCs, of course. The telephone and telegraph were recent discoveries. They were coming into wider use, but were still mainly in big cities. Newspapers had been around for a long time, even in small towns and rural areas. Most people in the U.S. got their news in the morning paper.
3     The larger papers sent reporters to news hotspots. Where a telegraph office was near to hand, stories were wired back to home offices. Reports from remote locations were sent by whatever means available—horseback rider, stage, train, or slow boat to China. Stories could be days—even weeks—old by the time the average person read them over his or her morning coffee.
4     Joseph Pulitzer was a prominent journalist of the late 1800s. Pulitzer had come to the U.S. from Hungary. He served in the Civil War and in politics. He launched his newspaper career in Missouri. From two smaller papers, he built the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The paper excelled at exposés, stories that brought fraud and injustice to light or revealed the plight of the needy.
5     To make the paper interesting to the working class reader, Pulitzer included lots of crime stories and juicy scandal. The paper always ran at least eight pages, each one bursting with news and entertainment. Pulitzer sold his paper for two cents a copy, undercutting other papers. It quickly became the best seller in St. Louis. (Over a hundred years later, the Post Dispatch is still the city's main daily paper.)

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Spanish American War (1898)
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