Is Journalism Still Yellow?

In the 1890s journalism and newspapers took a  turn for the dramatic. Journalists started to write eye-catching headlines about exaggerations of minor news, and yellow journalism was born. This type of journalism started with William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer’s competition to sell the most newspapers. The headlines became brighter, more exaggerated, and more embellished as each newspaper was produced.

Frank Luther Mott, media historian and Pulitzer Prize winner described yellow journalism in five terms:

  1. Prominent headlines about unimportant news that “screamed excitement”
  2. Lots of pictures without considerate significance
  3. Faked interviews, stories and imposters or frauds
  4. Colored comics similar to those in the Sunday paper
  5. Sympathy for the underdog in the story

Yellow Journalism can be seen in newspapers from 1895 to 1899 according to a study by W. Joseph Campbell . My question is if any type of yellow journalism is still with us today. With stories being written every day about war, politics, sports and even celebrity gossip I want to know if journalists are still embellishing their stories to bring in more readers. Especially since the Internet is one of the most prominent places to get news, are newspapers bringing back yellow journalism to increase their sales?

Hannah Walsh

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This entry was posted in Law and ethics, Media Credibility, News coverage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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