Part 3 - Ector County Independent School District

Yellow Journalism
When objectivity took a seat.
Yellow Journalism
• Biased opinion masquerading as objective
• Sensationalism
• Distorted stories
• Misleading images for the sole purpose of
boosting sales and exciting public opinion2
Yellow Journalism
• Industrial Revolution began at this time
• Machines made it easy to print thousands of
papers in a single night
• Endless drive for circulation
• Often the publisher’s greed was placed before
The Age of Pulitzer and Hearst
• Time period of Yellow Journalism was said
to be from 1880-18902, although it lasted
clear into the 1930s.
• The term was first coined based on a series
of occurrences in and following the year
Joseph Pulitzer
• Came to the US from
Budapest in 1864 at
the age of 17
• Joined the Union
Army and fought in
the Civil War1
Joseph Pulitzer
• 1878- he bought the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
and combined it with the Westliche Post, a
paper that he part-owned1
• He used the Dispatch to launch crusades
against government corruption, lotteries,
gambling and tax fraud7
Joseph Pulitzer
• 1883- he buys the New York World for
• The paper had been losing $40,000 a year7
• His opening statement:
• “There is room in this great and growing city for a journal that is not
only cheap but bright, not only bright but large, not only large but
truly democratic -- dedicated to the cause of the people rather than
that of the purse potentates -- devoted more to the news of the New
than the Old World -- that will expose all fraud and sham, fight all
public evils and abuses -- that will battle for the people with earnest
Joseph Pulitzer
• A year later, sales boomed to 100,000
• In celebration, he had 100 guns fired off in the
City Hall park and gave each employee a tall
silk hat1
Joseph Pulitzer
• The World was known for its editorial page
-- income tax, shorter working hours and
restrictions on monopolies
• It became the country’s leading champion
of liberals1
• Overtones of sensationalism -- Subjectivity
-- woven around a substantial core of real
Nellie Bly
• Her actual name was Elizabeth
Cochrane, but changed it because women
found it hard to be taken seriously in the
journalism world, and so did not get
high-paying jobs
• Joined the New York World in 1887
Nellie Bly
• Wrote investigative articles over poverty,
housing and labor conditions in New York
• Feigned being insane and sent to
Blackwell’s Island, the New York insane
• Wrote a book titled Ten Days in a Mad House
Nellie Bly
• After reading the Jules Verne novel Around
the World in 80 Days, Pulitzer thought it
would be a good day to see if the book was
• Sent Bly to break the 80 day record and
held a contest with readers of the New York
World to guess when she would return
Nellie Bly
• Over 1,000,000 people entered the contest
• She arrived to a large crowd with a time of
• 72 Days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14
William Randolph Hearst
• Attended Harvard
• Business manager of a
humor magazine, the
• He gave parties causing
difficulties with school
• He finally left Harvard
by request1
William Randolph Hearst
• Father accepts the San Francisco Examiner
as payment for a gambling debt and gives it
to William in 18876
• Hearst brings writers such as Ambrose
Bierce, Stephen Crane, Mark Twain,
Richard Harding Davis and Jack London
with him
• They bring crusades, scoops, and
sensational stories to San Francisco1
Pulitzer vs. Hearst
• Hearst came to New
York and bought the
New York Journal in
1895 for 7.5 million
from Pulitzer’s
• Pulitzer didn’t even
know it had been for
Pulitzer vs. Hearst
• Hearst wanted to have a bigger circulation
than the World, which was 400,000 at the
• He bought Pulitzer’s writers away for high
salaries, as well as his cartoonist Robert
Outcault, artist of the famous “The Yellow
• Within 12 months the Journal had
overtaken the World1
Pulitzer vs. Hearst
• To be fair, Pulitzer had originally stolen
many of his staff members from other
papers when he came to New York5
• Pulitzer hired more writers as well as
another cartoonist, George B. Luks, to
continue “The Yellow Kid” is his
• So both the Journal and the World carried the
same strip, with different cartoonists
The Yellow Kid
• The term Yellow
Journalism is derived
from this cartoon
• The strip used a
special, non-smear
yellow ink
• The kid’s jacket was
always yellow
The Yellow Kid
• 1st merchandising phenomenon of the comics
• Key chains, collector cards, appeared on stage,
and even had a magazine named after him for a
short time
• Often used to sensationalize stories and
discredit the stories of other papers
• Also used to sway public opinion on
important issues such as the SpanishAmerican War4
The Spanish-American War
This war is brought
to you in part by . . .
Spanish-American War
• Evangelina Cisneros- niece of the president
of the insurrectionist Cuban government
• She is imprisoned in Havana
• Hearst begins crusade to get her freed
• Evangelina is then rescued from prison by Karl
Decker, according to the Journal
• Decker was a reporter sent to Havana for that
purpose, according to the Journal1
Spanish-American War
• News was slow
• Hearst illustrator Frederic Remington in
Havana requested to come home, stating
that nothing was happening
• Hearst supposedly sent a telegraph stating:
• “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and
I’ll furnish the war.”6
USS Maine
• Battleship explodes and sinks off the coast
of Havana
• Many papers counseled patience and peace
• The Journal and the World concurrently
published a “suppressed cable” that said the
explosion was no accident, which was later
discovered to be manufactured5
Spanish-American War
• Hearst demonstrated his love for glory over
objectivity by leading a force of writers,
photographers and artists to the scene of
action in Cuban waters with a small fleet of
• His reporters were stationed with every
important military unit1
Spanish-American War
• Journal circulation reached 1.5 million
during the war, and the World was right
behind them1
Journal vs. World
• Hearst tricked Pulitzer when he ran a story
in 1898 describing the death of Colonel
Reflipe W. Thenuz5
Journal vs. World
• The next day the World carried the story,
adding specific dateline information to
make the story more authentic.5
Journal vs. World
• Colonel Reflipe W. Thenuz
• “We pilfer (steal) the news.”5
Journal vs. World
• The Journal celebrated for a month as the
World maintained a “pained silence” on the
• Pulitzer regretted the actions he had taken
• When gold began to lead to an outbreak in
hostilities between Venezuela and British
Guiana, Pulitzer jumped in
• Pulitzer had his writers write balanced accounts
of the story, against the popular opinion and
President Cleveland’s denouncing British
• In one editorial:
• “Is the integrity of Venezuela’s ‘essential to the
integrity of our free institutions?’ . . . There is
no menace to the boundary line. It is not our
frontier. It is none of our business.”
• The words had come directly from the
• Feelings toward this calmed, and later resolved
by the British
Due to inaccurate reporting and the
distortion of the truth to appeal to
emotions, it is unsure what the true
history of this time period could have
The general public frowned upon
subjective practices after a while. By
1910, circulation had dropped off very
rapidly for such papers
Newsmen and women at competing
papers were amused when Hearst issued
a bulletin in 1933 that established
editorial guidelines for his newsrooms
across the country6
• Died in 1911
• Donated in will $2 million for a journalism school
at Columbia University
• Left funds to establish annual prizes for literature,
drama, music, and journalism
• 1922-cartoonists were added to the prizes
• Known as the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
• US Representative from 1903-07
• 1920s-built a castle on a 240,000 acre ranch
at San Simeon, CA.
• At his peak he owned 28 major newspapers
and 18 magazines, along with several radio
stations and movie companies6
Hearst Castle
Citizen Cane
• By Orson Welles
• Said to be based on Hearst’s life
• Hearst tries to shut down the film, burning
negatives and having people intimidate
exhibitors into refusing to show the film
It can not happen again
• People are smarter
• People keep an eye on the media
• They are not as easily trusted as they once were
It can happen again
• Although they can, most often pay less and
less attention to news
• Therefore, the media has to get more
• Rely more on opinionated reporting and
commentary to strike interests
Do not let the media get
the opportunity to go
‘Yellow’ again