He Was a Dogged Reporter Who Left Others in His Dust
Of Joseph Pulitzer's advent as a reporter in St. Louis, the late William Fayel had this recollection:
"In those days the alley back of the old post office on Third and Olive streets was a lively thoroughfare. One sultry day most of the reporters of the city were in that alley, attracted by some incident which promised news. Suddenly there appeared among us the new reporter. He apparently had dashed out of the office upon receiving the first intimation of whatever was happening without stopping to put on his coat or his collar. In one hand he held a pad of paper and in the other a pencil. He did not wait for information but announced that he was the reporter for the Westliche Post and began to ask questions of everybody in sight. I remember to have remarked to my companions that, for a beginner, he was exasperatingly inquisitive. Pulitzer was so industrious that he became a positive annoyance to others who felt less inclined to work. As it was considered quite fitting in those days to guy the reporters on the German papers, the English reporters undertook to curb Pulitzer's eagerness for news.
On more than one occasion the new reporter was sent out from the coroner's office on a wild goose chase. But it was then observed that while taking this banter in good part, Pulitzer never relaxed his efforts. The consequence was that the city editors of the English papers soon discovered that the Westliche Post often contained news which they missed. Major George W. Gilson, city editor of the Missouri Democrat, posted an order on the bulletin board directing reporters to give less time to attempts to delude the German reporters and more time to work in competing with them. We soon learned to appreciate Pulitzer's extraordinary capacity for news-gathering. Of all his qualities, the most notable was his determination to accomplish whatever he set out to do. I recall an incident. Pulitzer was at Jefferson City as the correspondent of the Westliche Post. I was the correspondent of the Republican. One night there was a secret Democratic caucus to which only representatives of the Democratic papers were admitted. Early in the session there was a noise in the corridor. Suddently the doors were burst open. The doorkeeper was sent sprawling. The correspondent of the Westliche Post walked down the aisle to the press table, laid down his pad of paper, took his seat. No one raised question or objection. The next day the Westliche Post was the only Republican paper which had a report of the caucus."
(Quoted in St. Louis,the Fourth City by Walter Barlow Stevens, 1909) .