Club Screening- “Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People”
“Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People”
This 85-minute documentary traces the fascinating life of Joseph Pulitzer, one of the most influential figures in the history of journalism. Pulitzer emigrated to the United States from Hungary in 1864, and as owner of the New York newspaper The World became embroiled in a fierce circulation battle with William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. The newspapers’ sensational style and lurid headlines earned them the nickname the “yellow press” after a comic strip that they both published. Pulitzer would later become a fierce exponent of quality journalism and the importance of accuracy.
Pulitzer, a fearless campaigner against corruption and social ills, was indicted in 1909 for criminally libeling president Theodore Roosevelt and the banker J.P. Morgan. The World had reported that the US government had made a fraudulent payment of 40 million dollars to the French Panama Canal Company, unleashing the wrath of the US president. But the case was dismissed and Pulitzer, by then in poor health and blind, was hailed for winning a crucial victory on behalf of freedom of the press. He died in 1911, leaving an endowment that financed the founding of the Columbia School of Journalism the following year and the creation of the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism.
“Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People” tells the story of how a penniless young Jewish immigrant from Hungary came to challenge a popular president in the courts and win, and in the process establish new standards for journalistic excellence.
Director Oren Rudavksy will join by video link after the screening.
Oren Rudavsky is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and several National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts grants. He produced Witness Theater, a film chronicling a self-help organized workshop between holocaust survivors and high-school students. He has also co-directed films including Colliding Dreams and The Ruins of Lifta.
This screening was made possible thanks to the support of the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival.