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St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The November 25, 2014 front page
of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
TypeDaily newspaper
FormatCompact (March 23, 2009)
Owner(s)Lee Enterprises
Founder(s)Joseph Pulitzer
PublisherIan Caso[1]
EditorGilbert Bailon
FoundedDecember 12, 1878; 145 years ago (December 12, 1878)
Headquarters901 North 10th Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
Circulation99,618 Daily
109,407 Sunday (as of 2023)[2]
OCLC number1764810
Websitewww.stltoday.com Edit this at Wikidata

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a 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[edit]

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

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 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 year (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. 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[edit]

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.

On May 22, 1946, the Post-Dispatch became the first newspaper in the world to publish the secret protocols for the 1939 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 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 local representing Globe-Democrat and Post-Dispatch staffers went on strike, halting production for six weeks.[13]

21st century[edit]

Former St. Louis Post-Dispatch headquarters

In September 2003, the Post-Dispatch accepted submissions for a 63rd anniversary special of Our Own Oddities, a lighthearted feature that ran from 1940 to 1991.[14] The best submissions, including a duck-shaped cucumber and a woman born on December 7, 1941, with the initials W.A.R., were illustrated by Post-Dispatch artist Dan Martin and featured in the October 6, 2003, edition.[15]

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, the Post-Dispatch was the fifth-largest newspaper in the midwestern United States and the 26th-largest newspaper in the U.S.[16]

On March 12, 2007, the paper eliminated 31 jobs, mostly in its circulation, classified phone rooms, production, purchasing, telephone operations and marketing departments.[17] 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.

Endorsements for U.S. president[edit]

Year endorsement for president (*lost) party
1972 George McGovern* Democratic
1976 Jimmy Carter Democratic
1980 Jimmy Carter* Democratic
1984 Walter Mondale* Democratic
1988 Michael Dukakis* Democratic
1992 Bill Clinton Democratic
1996 Bill Clinton Democratic
2000 Al Gore Democratic
2004 John Kerry* Democratic
2008 Barack Obama Democratic
2012 Barack Obama Democratic
2016 Hillary Clinton* Democratic
2020 Joe Biden Democratic

Circulation and cost[edit]

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.[18] The circulation as of September 30, 2016, was 98,104 daily and 157,543 on Sunday.[19]

According to a 2017 press release from Lee Enterprises, the paper reaches more than 792,600 readers each week and stltoday.com has roughly 67 million page views a month.[20]

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

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).[21]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ian Caso named publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch". February 20, 2020. Archived from the original on June 5, 2023.
  2. ^ Lee Enterprises. "Form 10-K". investors.lee.net. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  3. ^ "Pulitzer prizes won by the Post-Dispatch". stltoday.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2019. 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". www.pulitzer.org. Archived from the original on July 2, 2018. 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. Archived from the original on July 18, 2022. 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". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 6, 1973. Archived from the original on June 29, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  14. ^ "Are We as Odd as We Used to Be?" St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 3, 2003.
  15. ^ Jeff Daniel, "It's Odd That You Should Mention It," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 6, 2003.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Newspapers in the United States". www.infoplease.com. 2007. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  17. ^ "St. Louis Post Dispatch to cut 31 Jobs", St. Louis Business Journal, March 12, 2007.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Post-Dispatch parent makes $140M acquisition". St. Louis Business Journal. January 29, 2020. Archived from the original on June 20, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  20. ^ "St. Louis Post-Dispatch named Lee's 2017 Enterprise of the Year". Lee Enterprises. Archived from the original on November 5, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ Johnston, David Cay (January 8, 2007), "" Archived 2017-06-09 at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times
  23. ^ "St. Louis Post-Dispatch 17 Apr 1948, page Page 5". Newspapers.com. Archived from the original on December 21, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jim McWilliams, Mark Twain in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1874–1891 (Troy, New York: 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, New Jersey: 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[edit]

Finding aids at the St. Louis Public Library[edit]