Horace Greeley, who established and edited the Tribune, in New York City, is a fascinating rags to riches life story of hard work and success in early American journalism. Michael Snay does a good job of telling this tale in his informative biography, Horace Greeley and the Politics of Reform in Late 19th Century America. Greeley died shortly after losing the Presidential election to Ulysses Grant in 1872, and was succeeded by a number of fascinating figures in the development of American newspapers.
James Gordon Bennett, Jr. ran the Herald from Paris, where he fled after achieving social ignominy by getting disgracefully drunk at his own engagement party. Richard O’Connonr, a reporter turned historian, writes a compassionate and somewhat humorous biography of him in The Scandalous Mr. Bennett. O’Connor also wrote an interesting biography of Ambrose Bierce, entltled Ambrose Bierce: A Biography. Bierce might be termed the patron devil of op. ed. writers, a man who had contempt for the Midwestern Bible Belt environment that he was raised in, a subject that he made fun of in print for the rest of his life, as well as the rampant wealth of the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age.
Bierce worked for William Randolph Hearst, probably the most famous newspaper figure from that period, as he was the subject of the famous movie Citizen Kane. W. A. Swanberg wrote a masterful biography of him, entitled Citizen Hearst, a book that has been title imitated many times, often in an undeserved fashion, except for Nichols Von Hoffman’s masterful Citizen Cohn, a book about that lawyer/thief that described a similar personality type to Hearst. Swanberg also wrote a very similar book about Joseph Pulitzer, simply entitled Pulitzer, an extremely subtle and excellent biography of that brilliant and controversial man. James McGrath Morris has written a far more recent biography of Pulitzer entitled Pulitzer, a Life in Politics, Print and Power. This book is a fair biography with some new sources that were unavailable to Swanberg but, to me, call me old fashioned, I prefer the style and wit of Swanberg, a quite accomplished historian.