Yellow Journalism Today
The word ‘Yellow Journalism’ was first heard in the 1890s to describe the methods and styles used by Joseph Pulitzer concerning the New York City newspaper. His competitor in the field of print media was William Randolph Hearst. Both authors were covering the exclamations of the war that created a lot of alarm among the people. They used powerful words on their headlines such as glory, slaughter, and death on the front page whenever possible to create curiosity and interest. The yellow journalism of the late 1800s and early 1900s was mainly composed of fake interviews, comics, sensationalism, and twisted facts. In this essay we will relate today’s Fake news’ to the ‘Yellow Journalism’ of the 1800’s.
Portraying ‘Yellow Journalism’ is done in many ways. It can come from biased information that has a one side focus without highlighting the pertinent and without determining the evidence collected. It can also refer to a published work meant to be a shock factor without having any bias connected to it. Whenever the truth lacks, facts become twisted or miss, and this can be referred to ‘Yellow Journalism.’ The world today is fast-paced and revolves around technology almost in all aspects.
Technology is everywhere; in watches, phones, cars, and even mirrors. The Internet is accessible everywhere we go. It is easy to check our emails, Facebook status and some of us also want to know the news of tomorrow within a day. The need for instant gratification has been the driving force for a journalist to tweak their story to ensure that they are the source. For whatever reasons, the internet has greatly facilitated the expansion of ‘Yellow Journalism’ since people can post anything that deems fit to them without considering the facts.
‘Yellow Journalism’ in the Past
‘Yellow Journalism’ started before the invention of the World Wide Web, even though in current times the internet has been its breeding ground. The perfect example is a picture that has been in circulation in the newspapers, textbooks and even ads since WW1. The term defined in Yellow journalism came from a lousy flow, such as war involving the 1800’s in the New York Newspaper. In 1883, Joseph Pulitzer published this magazine when he went to New York. This took place after the success of St. Louis after it was utilized in the headlines. He was able to turn the fortunes of the paper around completely. His success profoundly inspired many imitators, and it became a trend that was adopted by many journalists of those times.
Pulitzer got a new rival, William Randolph Hearst, who bought a journal in the New York Journal and reduced its price to a penny. The articles were competing with each other during the entire era of the 1890s on sensitization of news. In most cases, their communication was a concoction from each other. However, Willian turned out to be the worst offender. This is due to stories of an on-going conflict about the Cuban Revolutionists and the Spanish. Those stories were accredited for forming the groundwork which led to the Spanish-American War. Many of his combat dispatches had been written by correspondents who used nothing but their mere imagination as their source.
This era foreshadowed the rise of the internet and later followed by a drastic fall in the price of the newspapers in the 1800s. The lower end publishing business thrived and became a significant competitor to the two dominant papers. Nonetheless, people saw the need of forming their forums since credible stories in the newspapers had ceased to exist. As a result, the New York Press and New York Times were born which gave credible and reliable information to the public.
‘Yellow Journalism’ Today
It is noted that the entire game has been dedicated to yellow journalism. They can be found at the conveyor belts at the grocery stores, and they attract the attention of people with scandalous claims and bright colors. There would be great similarities, if one looked at the bold headlines with huge exclamation marks. In the news today, there are many examples of ‘Yellow Journalism.’ There has been a recent story circulating of the court case of Samsung and Apple, in all channels and websites. The day before the judge ruled in favor of Apple, there had been a website in Mexico that indicated Samsung had been ordered to pay 1.2 billion dollars in nickels as a fine. This story had been picked up by an American journalist who ran away with it.
Later, the story was completed with numbers and quotes. But if the math is to be done, the numbers seem to be wrong. This is because they indicated that 30 trucks had been seen at Apple headquarters and they contained the money in nickels. If this were true, it would have taken more than 2,500 vehicles, and the value could have been all the nickel that the U.S had mounted for several decades to pay the fine in full. The website in Mexico, which was the source of this information, became a source of comedy and satire. This is because they continued to post false stories, like this one with the aims of creating a comedic relief. The false stories deforming this hoax are just a small sample of the tabloids that contain printed falsities. Only by googling the term ‘tabloid lies,’ one can get several other false stories on diverse issues.
Although the content that was printed by Pulitzer and Hearst showed great contradictions when compared using tabloids. It is easy for someone with the knowledge of yellow journalism to great similarities in motive and style. The primary goal of the two was to gain a massive readership and to achieve this they were forced to use lies, bold claims and exaggerations to outdo the other. In 2009, an instance was reported by The Guardian where there was a false story made up by a UK based documentary group on celebrities with the intentions of seeing if tabloid journalists would check for the facts on the story. The stories were far-fetched, and they included the hair of Winehouse catching fire. The victims for this project included Russell and Avril Lavigne. The director of the documentary Chris Atkins noted that the only information that was credible in that documentary was the telephone number and the name. As a result, he received $ 600 for the documentary.
Yellow Journalism in Other Parts of Media
Whether with good intents or not, unprofessional and unethical journalism will continue to be created. Ebola has been one of the most recent cases of sensationalism and exaggeration that has covered the mass media. However, the deadliness of the virus cannot be disputed because it has created a disproportional amount of panic in the United States. Youma Seck a socio-economist took it upon himself to write an open letter to the western media on October 30, for inciting fear in order to have a rating. She had noted that the press was referring to the infected countries as West Africa. This gave the readers a false impression of how the disease was widespread and that was far from the truth. West Africa is a geographical region, which is composed of 15 countries, the news wanted to imply that all those countries were affected, but that was not the case since the virus was only in a few states. This affected economically countries in the region that had never reported any incidence of Ebola due to the cancellation of visits to those countries.
On October 24, the case of Michael Brown shooting is among the recent cases of gun violence in society. Many sites were quick to point out to the faults in the case. The news sites, on the other hand, were quick to identify the good qualities of Jaylen Fryberg the school shooter who gunned down four of his classmates. The Huffington Post had an article which addressed the issue of national media coverage prepared by Nick Wang; it highlighted the different treatments blacks and whites suspects were subjected to. However, it was by no means standard media protocol that the headlines indicated that the blacks were responsible for what they faced since a majority of them engaged in the actual crime.
The yellow journal as elaborate was used to describe the methods and styles by using strong words. Throughout the years as technology advanced, this mode of communication changed its course and people began using fake news to pass information. Whether with good intents or not, unprofessional and unethical journalism will continue to be created. It is debated today that the entire game has been dedicated to ‘Yellow Journalism.’