Leslie Iwerks Documentary CITIZEN HEARST – Review

American success story of the larger than life personality.


Leslie IwerksCitizen Hearst is a classic American success story of the larger than life personality of media mongol William Randolph Hearst. At the turn of the 19th Century leading into the early 20th, Hearst’s contributions to printed media revolutionized journalism by use of detailed illustrations, big, bold headlines and comic strips, to appeal to a mass audience. Hearst strived to improve his papers and magazines by hiring the best of the best of his day, utilizing and advertising new technology to impress his readers. However, he was not without controversy. Hearst took huge risks to expand his empire. His vast wealth was the envy of the people during the Depression Era. Without Hearst’s innovative and creative spirit, the media world, as it is today, would not be the same.

William H. Macy narrates this feature and delve into the rich history of the Hearst media empire spanning 125 years. Exploring the beginning of the Hearst family’s wealth and the start up newspaper career of William Hearst in San Francisco. Expansion of Hearst’s soon to be empire is chronologically detailed along with the criticisms he faced despite championing himself as their defender in print. Hearst soon expanded to magazines–Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, and Esquire were spawned from Hearst’s new media concepts. Media celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Heidi Klum make appearances discuss just how Hearst’s empire expansion has benefited their own careers.

Iwerks’ documentary proves that a century’s old media empire still influences the modern media landscape. Hearst’s influence even extends to the world of television. A&E and ESPN are just a couple of the channels Hearst’s empire successfully created to produce original content–never before seen on other television networks. Reality television is one of them. Harper’s Bazaar came before Vogue and is considered the first fashion magazine.

The documentary Citizen Hearst is a favorable look into William Hearst’s contributions to the media world. A must see for documentary for history and journalism professionals.

Documentary CITIZEN HEARST’s special features include:

  • Over 30 minutes of never-before-seen footage.
  • Deleted footage from the film.
  • “Hearst Castle” from the A&E television series America’s Castles.
  • “The Future of News” featurette.

The  special features are as intriguing as the main content of the disc. The descendants of the media mogul speak of their lives, what is it like to be a descendant of William Hearst, and the times they’ve spent and continue to spend on the family estate–Hearst Castle–in San Simeon, California. Some pieces of Hearst’s remaining art collection are shown by the former COO of the Hearst Corporation, Gil Maurer. The featurette “State of News” depict the evolution of media and reporting. Social media is a now massive part of news reporting and journalism. And much, much more!

Images, trailer and promotional content courtesy of A&E Networks Citizen Hearst. All rights reserved.

Citizen Hearst
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

  • Citizen Hearst
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 05/10/2013

Review Summary:

LESLIE IWERKS Documentary CITIZEN HEARST A glimpse behind the glass walls of the Hearst Tower, featuring interviews with top magazine and fashion editors.

Sandy Hoffman
My name is Sandy +AIDY Hoffman. I am the creative writer and film reviewer of the AIDY Reviews website.
Sandy Hoffman


I want to write for games, movies and television. Sandy Hoffman. Writer. Gamer. Awesome. In that order. Avid supporter of #indiefilm and #indieartist #booyah
RT @BarackObama: Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our po… - 2 days ago
Sandy Hoffman
Sandy Hoffman

Latest posts by Sandy Hoffman (see all)