William Randolph Hearst – Biography, Facts & Career

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William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) launched his career by taking charge of his father’s struggling newspaper the San Francisco Examiner in 1887. By the 1930s, he had built the nation’s largest media empire, including more than two dozen newspapers in major cities nationwide, magazines, wire and photo services, newsreels, radio stations and film production. As America’s first media tycoon, Hearst pioneered the sensationalized, attention-grabbing methods that would change journalism forever.

Early Life and Beginning of Publishing Career

Born on April 29, 1863, in San Francisco, Hearst was the only son of George Hearst, a mining tycoon who migrated West from Missouri during the Gold Rush, and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, a former schoolteacher also from Missouri. He matriculated at Harvard, where he worked as the business editor of the Harvard Lampoon, but was eventually expelled for skipping classes and other misadventures.



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