St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 23, 2009 front page of the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Type Daily newspaper
Format Compact (March 23, 2009)
Owner(s) Lee Enterprises
Publisher Ray Farris[1]
Editor Gilbert Bailon
Founded December 12, 1878
by Joseph Pulitzer
Headquarters 900 North Tucker Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
United States
Circulation 137,380 Daily
223,826 Sunday
(March 2014)[2]
ISSN 1930-9600
OCLC number 1764810

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the major regional newspaper in St. Louis, serving Greater St. Louis. It is one of the largest newspapers in the midwestern United States, and is available and read as far west as Kansas City, Missouri, as far south as Memphis, Tennessee, and as far north as Springfield, Illinois. It is the only remaining printed daily newspaper in St. Louis.

As of 2011, the owner is Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa, which purchased Pulitzer, Inc. in 2005 in a cash deal valued at $1.46 billion.


Early years

In 1878, Joseph Pulitzer purchased the bankrupt St. Louis Dispatch at a public auction[3] 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.[4] 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, 13 Oct 1882, Cockerill re-ran an offensive "card" by John Glover that the paper had published the prior November (11 Nov 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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7]

After his retirement, generations of Pulitzers guided the newspaper, ending when great-grandson Joseph Pulitzer IV left the company in 1995.

The old 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 and Bill Mauldin.

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]

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.

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.


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 continuous cartoon in the United States today. 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).[citation needed] Peters Shoe Company in St. Louis made Weatherbird Shoes.[8]

21st century

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.

The Post-Dispatch underwent a major redesign in September 2005, which brought a new layout, new fonts, and localized editions for St. Charles County and Illinois. Many readers have criticized the new format for devoting a larger percentage of page space to advertisements and relying too much on wire services and dispatches from other newspapers.[citation needed]

On March 12, 2007, the paper eliminated 31 jobs, mostly in its circulation, classified phone rooms, production, purchasing, telephone operations and marketing departments.[9]

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

Circulation dropped for the daily paper from 213,472 to 191,631 to 178,801 for the two years after 2010, ending on September 30, 2011, and September 30, 2012. The Sunday paper also decreased from 401,427 to 332,825 to 299,227.[10]

On May 4, 2012, the Post-Dispatch named a new editor, Gilbert Bailon. "Robbins steps down as editor of St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bailon takes role".[citation needed]

The Post-Dispatch prices are: $1.50 daily, $2.50 Sunday/Thanksgiving Day. On October 1, 2012, the price of the daily edition increased by 50% to $1.50. Six days later its Sunday/Thanksgiving edition increased its price 25%.

On April 28, 2014, the paper implemented a partial pay wall digital subscription online for $24.80 for eight weeks. The introductory print subscription for the same time length is $31.90[2][11]

According to, the paper's paid print circulation figures (updated on June 5, 2014) were 225,889 daily and 252,000 Sunday,[12] while St. Louis Magazine mentioned the corresponding figures from the Alliance for Audited Media in March 2014 for the previous six-month average were 137,380 daily and 223,826 Sunday.[2]


  • Harper Barnes, film and music critic, 1965–1970, 1974–1997.
  • 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.[13]
  • Robert Cohen, photographer, 1999–
  • Richard Dudman, national affairs correspondent and Washington bureau chief, 1950–1981
  • Rick Hummel Hall of Fame baseball writer, 1971–
  • Joe Mahr Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist 2006–2009
  • Bill McClellan, columnist, 1980–
  • Bernie Miklasz, sports columnist, 1985–2015
  • Eric Mink, media critic, op-ed editor/columnist, 1977–1993, 2004–2009
  • Robert Minor, political cartoonist, 1907–1911.
  • Joe Pollack, film, drama and restaurant critic, 1972–1995.
  • Neal Russo, baseball writer and copy editor, 1947-1990
  • Elaine Viets, columnist, 1975–2000.
  • Joe Williams, film critic, 1996–2015
  • Amadee Wohlschlager, cartoonist, sports cartoonist, Weatherbird artist, 1932–1981
  • Dan Martin, cartoonist, Weatherbird artist, 1986–present

See also

  • St. Louis Beacon, an online-only news site founded by some former reporters and editors of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • 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, another large paper started in St. Louis at offices on Tucker Boulevard, by a director of the St. Louis Browns
  • Suburban Journals


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  4. Shepley, Carol Ferring. Movers and Shakers, Scalawags and Suffragettes: Tales from Bellefontaine Cemetery. Missouri History Museum: St. Louis, 2008.
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  7. St. Louis Post-Dispatch Platform from the newspaper's website.
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  9. "St. Louis Post Dispatch to cut 31 Jobs," St. Louis Business Journal, March 12, 2007.
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  13. Johnston, David Cay (January 8, 2007), "". The New York Times]].

Further reading

  • Jim McWilliams, Mark Twain in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1874–1891 (Troy, NY: 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, NJ: 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).

External links