Source: William Randolph Hearst Creates the Yellow Press


I have begun to have a strange fondness for our little paper (the San Francisco Examiner] -a tenderness like unto that which a mother feels for a puny or deformed offspring, and I should hate to see it die now after it had battled so long and so nobly for existence; in fact, to tell the truth, I am possessed of the weakness, which at some time or other of their lives, pervades most men; I am convinced that I could run a newspaper successfully.

Now if you should make over to me the Examiner-with enough money to carry out my schemes-I'll tell you what I would do!

In the first place I would change the general appearance of the paper and make seven wide columns where we now have nine narrow ones, then I would have the type spaced more, and these two changes would give the pages a much cleaner and neater appearance.

Secondly, it would be well to make the paper as far as possible original, to clip only when absolutely necessary and to imitate only some such leading journal as the New York World which is undoubtedly the best paper of that class to which the Examiner belongs-that class which appeals to the people and which depends for its success upon enterprise, energy and a certain startling originality and not upon the wisdom of its political opinions or the lofty style of its editorials: And to accomplish this we must have~s the World has-active, intelligent and energetic young men; we must have men who come out West in the hopeful buoyancy of youth for the purpose of making their fortunes and not a worthless scum that has been carried there by the eddies of repeated failures.

Thirdly, we must advertise the paper from Oregon to New Mexico and must also increase our number of advertisements if we have to lower our rates to do it, thus we can put on the first page that our circulation is such and our advertisements so and so and constantly increasing.

And now having spoken of the three great essential points let us turn to details. The illustrations are a detail, though a very important one. Illustrations embellish a page; illustrations attract the eye and stimulate the imagination of the masses and materially aid the comprehension of an unaccustomed reader and thus are of particular importance to that class of people which the Examiner claims to address. Such illustrations, however, as have heretofore appeared in the paper, nauseate rather than stimulate the imagination and certainly do anything but embellish a page.

Another detail of questionable importance is that we actually or apparently establish some connection between ourselves and the New York World, and obtain a certain prestige in bearing some relation to that paper. We might contract to have important private telegrams forwarded or something of that sort, but understand that the principal advantage we are to derive is from the attention such a connection would excite and from the advertisement we could make of it. Whether the World would consent to such an arrangement for any reasonable sum is very doubtful, for its net profit is over one thousand dollars a day and four years ago it belonged to Jay Gould and was losing money rapidly.

And now to close with a suggestion of great consequence, namely, that all these changes be made not by degrees but at once so that the improvement will be very marked and noticeable and will attract universal attention and comment.

There is little to be said about my studies. I am getting on in all of them well enough to be able to spend considerably time in outside reading and in Journalistic investigation. There is, moreover, very little to be said about Washington, for Congress is as stupid as it is possible to conceive of and has been enlivened only once during our stay and that the other day when Wise of Virginia sat on Boutelle of Maine for attempting to revive the dissensions of the war. So heavily, indeed, did Mr. Wise sit on Batyl that I fear the latter gentlemen has not even yet recovered his characteristic rotundity of form.

Well, good-by. I have given up all hope of having you write to me, so I suppose I must just scratch along and trust to hearing of you through the newspapers. By the way, I heard you had bought 2000 acres of land the other day and I hope some of it was the land adjoining our ranch that I begged you to buy in my last letter.