Yellow journalism is the behaviour of exaggerating stories with an intention of making more sales especially with newspapers. For instance, a writer could use a headline that will attract readers or write unverified stories that can be considered scandal-mongering. In other words, this type of journalism does not follow ethics of the profession.
Features of yellow journalism
In its definition, some people have identified five elements associated with yellow journalism. The first thing is usually to have headlines that are both scary and in huge font size making them hard to miss, even from a distance. This is irrespective of the fact that the news in the article is quite minor. It is also common to find print media in this category using pictures and illustrations in a lavish manner. This way, the graphic image draws the attention of readers into reading the content or buying the paper. Journalists in this category claim to have had interviews whereas they actually do not conduct the interviews. In order to get different categories of people to buy the newspaper, a firm can include a full colour supplement in its paper. Another trick that yellow journalism uses in attracting readers is showing sympathy with the disadvantage against a system. All these features show that the main agenda in yellow journalism is to increase sales rather than deliver news.
The origin of yellow journalism
Yellow journalism started out of competition between two main newspapers in the mid-1890s; New York World and New York Journal. These papers actually provided news in a professional manner. However, in order to capture a bigger market share, the papers used techniques such as using yellow ink to make their papers more eye-catching. Actually, yellow journalism and its success can be mainly credited to Joseph Pulitzer who headed New York World at the time. The paper was not doing very well due to its low popularity among readers and Joseph sought different ways of making the paper more successful. He ensured the paper had crime related stories with catchy headlines and sold the paper at a very low price. Despite the low price, he also gave readers more content than his competitors. Within two years of using these tactics, New York World grew to be the most circulated paper. In addition to these acts, Wardman who edited the New York Press is credited for being the first person to publish the term yellow journalism even though it had been used on several other occasions.
Yellow journalism may have its demerits but it is not entirely bad apart from the part of lying and false non-existent interviews.
Essay/Term paper: Yellow journalism and mass media
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Yellow Journalism and Mass Media
It is the news that informs us of the events that change our lives and
entertains us when we are seeking something to do. Journalism has been the
staple of American life for quite some time and will probably keep the same
effect for years to come. Journalism has also changed many lives in American
History. Furthermore, I leave you with my essay on the the hype of the early
ninteen hundreds; the infamous Yellow Press.
Basically, Yellow Journalism was the given name to mass media in the
early eighteenth century. It consisted of cartoons, illustrations, catchy stories,
and things that appealed to the readers interests and values(Mass Media 1).
Sometimes the contents were fraudulent and emphasized tragedies. These types
of contents sold papers in great volumes and created a large profit for such
papers as the "New York World" and the "Journal."(Century 168)
The owner of the "New York Journal" and the overall founder of yellow
journalism itself was of the name Joseph Pulitzer. Pulitzer immigrated to the
United States from Hungary(Pulitzer 1). Early on in his career he worked as a
reporter where he picked up most of his journalism skills. Later on, Pulitzer
purchased the "New York World." At the time the "World" was not very successful,
but Pulitzer managed to turn it into one of the most successful papers in New
York. He managed to make his paper successful by using the many "yellow"
techniques mentioned before. Some people thought these methods were immoral
and scandalous(Century 166-172).
Pulitzer"s only real competiton was from a man by the name of William
Hearst. Hearst owned the paper by the name " The Journal." The "Journal" was
also highly successful. Harsh competition took place between the two
The major break or "turning point" in the sensationalism movement was
the sinking of the battelship "Maine." Soon after the tragedy, the yellow press
had a war scare on Spain . For example, the scare- head technique where they
would post something to catch the readers" eye such a the word "massacre" or
other graphic words that would ingnite the publics" interest. As many as five or
six publications daily were out relating to the supposed war against Spain.
Vicious competition between Hearst and Pulitzer took place over stories. As a
result of the need for stories to keep the public interested fraudulent stories
developed and outraged many people(Yellow Kid 2).
As far as the the publics feeling towards the yellow press they did not
take kindly to it. Many people wrote letters to editors complaining on the
falsities and other problems. The newspapers and magazines were baned from
several respectable places. Among the places that the publications were banned
included; libraries, schools, reading rooms, and clubs. The reason people sought
to rid of the publications were because of their trashy content and their
falsities(Yellow Kid 5).
Although the actual origin of the term "Yellow Press" is still unknown,
whether it be the color of the paper or the many cartoons written about the
publications including the "yellow" character the press made a significant
impact on society(Yellow Kid 3). The press brought more jobs into the publishing
industry and brought a new style to the world of journalism. Although the
publications did not go over well with most of the public, they made millions of
dollars in profit(Century 167). So may the legacy of the mass media and it"s
founders live on through the journalism of today.
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