William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) was an influential American newspaper publisher, media magnate, and politician. Born on April 29, 1863, in San Francisco, California, Hearst was the only child of George Hearst, a wealthy miner and U.S. senator, and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, a philanthropist and women's education advocate.
## Education and early life
Hearst received a privileged education, attending St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, before enrolling in Harvard College. However, he was expelled from Harvard in 1885 for various pranks and rule-breaking incidents. During his college years, he developed an interest in journalism and was inspired by his father's newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, which he inherited in 1887.
## Newspaper business and media empire
Hearst transformed the San Francisco Examiner into a leading newspaper through sensationalist reporting and bold headlines, a style that later became known as [[yellow journalism]]. He expanded his media empire by acquiring the New York Morning Journal (later renamed the New York Journal) in 1895. This acquisition marked the beginning of an intense rivalry with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World.
Over the years, Hearst's media empire grew to include newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and film studios. At its peak, he owned 28 major newspapers and 18 magazines, making him one of the most influential media figures in the United States. Some of his most well-known publications include Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, and Good Housekeeping.
### Yellow journalism and the Spanish-American War
Hearst's sensationalist approach to journalism reached its peak during [[The Spanish-American War]] in 1898. He and Joseph Pulitzer used their newspapers to inflame public sentiment against Spain, blaming it for the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor. This played a significant role in shaping public opinion and pushing the United States towards war with Spain.
## Political career
Hearst was also involved in politics, serving two terms in the U.S. [[House of Representatives]] from 1903 to 1907 as a Democrat from New York. He unsuccessfully ran for mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909 and for governor of New York in 1906. Though his political career never took off, his influence on public opinion through his media empire was undeniable.
## Personal life and legacy
Hearst's personal life was marked by opulence and extravagance. He built Hearst Castle, a grand estate in San Simeon, California, which became a symbol of his wealth and power. He was also a noted art collector, amassing a vast collection of European and American art.
William Randolph Hearst passed away on August 14, 1951, in Beverly Hills, California. His life and career have inspired numerous books, films, and TV series, most notably the 1941 film "Citizen Kane," directed by Orson Welles. A controversial figure, Hearst's impact on American journalism and media continues to be felt today.