Yellow Journalism

“Yellow journalism” was a name given in the 1890s to a style of newspaper reporting that emphasizes sensationalism. It was reckless, lurid, and provocative, anything to sell papers and increase circulation. Truth was of little or no concern. Politics was covered from an extreme partisan stance. The newspapers featured oversize headlines and colored political cartoons. The name was coined to describe the competition between two New York City newspapers, Joseph Pulitzer’s World and William Randolph Hearst’s Journal. Yellow journalism got its name from a popular cartoon in the World called the Yellow Kid from the yellow color of the hero. Hearst hired the cartoonist from Pulitzer, who then hired a new cartoonist to continue the Yellow Kid, resulting in the battle of the Yellow Kids. In October 1910, NYC Mayor William Gaynor issued this warning: “They are absolutely without souls. The journalism of New York City has been dragged to the lowest depths of degradation. The grossest railleries and libels, instead of honest statements and fair discussion, have gone unchecked.” Two months earlier, Gaylor was shot in the neck in an assassination attempt. He blamed the attack “on the vitriolic yellow press that had poisoned the populace against him.” By means of the internet and social media, yellow journalism has risen to a realm unimaginable to Pulitzer and Hearst.

(Friday Church News Notes, October 29, 2021,,, 866-295-4143)