The Artist Journalist
He is intelligent, you know. Not many careers have been so
planned, so intelligent, so firmly managed as his. A work of
art, that man's life has been, and conscious. … I wish Mr.
Hearst would be again an artist-journalist.
—Lincoln Steffens on Hearst, 1935
On an afternoon in September 1896 Hearst came hurtling around a stairwell of a building in lower Manhattan's Printing House Square. Somewhere between the ground floor and third floor where his New York Journal newspaper was headquartered he ran into his editor, Henry R. Haxton. Hearst considered the British-born Haxton a kindred spirit who saw journalism as a competitive entertainment, or what Hearst called a “glad sport.” Like everyone else who knew Hearst's habits in those days, Haxton was used to seeing his boss in quick spurts. The young publisher was in constant—however imprecise—movement; a man nicknamed GUSH by his chief publishing rival at the time, Joseph Pulitzer. On the steps of the stairwell, Hearst laid out the bullet points for a series of articles to run in the Journal. He wanted the feature articles to be written by the much-sought-after novelist Stephen Crane. He wanted them written in “dramatic form,” not quite fiction but not quite reportage. He wanted to advertise the Crane pieces as “novelettes.”
Hearst directed his newspaper staff with the same effortless determination with which he entered the publishing field. After his father turned over