Among the various news phenomena in the West, the attention, questioning, opposition and criticism of the yellow news is unprecedented. Its span is long, the scope is wide, and the degree is intense, which is rare in the history of world culture. The famous writer Dickens once said that pornographic news “looks at every household with evil eyes”. But as a news trend of thought that appeared in the inception of modern newspapers, its emergence and existence are undeniably inevitable.
The social environment in which yellow news was produced
was a historical period from the 1870s to the early 20th century. As far as the world is concerned, at the end of the 19th century, the major capitalist countries have successively completed the second industrial revolution, and successively entered the stage of monopoly capitalism from liberal capitalism. The social, political and economic situation has undergone profound changes. There have also been major changes. After the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War, the American society and economy developed rapidly. At the same time, commercial newspapers independent of the government or political parties gradually replaced party newspapers and became the main body of newspapers, and the distribution of newspapers extended to the whole society. Economic changes inevitably led to an increasingly frantic pursuit of commercial profit in this era, and the newspaper industry gradually became a business organization desperate for profit. However, to survive the economic depression of 1893, it had to rely on winning more and more readers to obtain more advertising revenue. For a newspaper to attract a large number of readers, popularization is necessary. Larger headlines, more readable stories, photos and accents of color could all give the newspaper a new look.
In addition, the industrialization brought about by economic development did not benefit everyone. In fact, polarization was severe, which led to the upsurge of organized labor movements and strikes across the country at that time. Under such circumstances, the form of news that advertised “sympathy for the oppressed” and reported a large number of social movements eventually became an unstoppable trend, which attracted the attention and popularity of the public.
At the same time, although economic progress has brought about urban development and education is getting better and better, in fact, the overall cultural level of the entire society at that time was still low, and even by 1900, the average American only received five years of school education. The low level of education was particularly evident among the poor, who accounted for 70% of the country’s population in the 1870s. This led to the fact that the general public’s ability to discriminate against newspapers could not be raised to a rational level. News is relatively more attractive to the audience. “Perhaps (the newspapers) sometimes go overboard, but these techniques are effective, practical and desirable. For the same reason, these new techniques can also be used to reinforce sensationalism to the detriment of journalism itself. In the mid-1890s, some The editors-in-chief set out to do exactly what the earlier editors did to win new readers. The difference is that now they have better tools with which they can make their sensationalism distinctive and new- —The inferior product of this behavior is called ‘YELLOW JOURNALISM’.”
What is “Yellow News”?
There are also some differences in the definition of yellow news in different works. Some scholars in our country believe that the yellow news is a sensational method used by the two major yellow newspapers in New York in the late 19th century, the Le Monde and the New York News. And it is a news reporting method often used by those “yellow newspapers” that use crime, murder, pornography, novel serialization and other exciting and recreational articles and comics to cater to the tastes of lower-level readers. American journalism scholars believe that yellow journalism is “a new style of journalism without a soul”. It emerged in the mid-1890s in the United States, the inferior product of newspaper editors who combined sensationalism with techniques such as “larger headlines, more readable stories, photographs, and accents of color” to please readers. .
Dana is said to have used the term “yellow journalism” for the first time in the New York Sun. YELLOW NEWS, YELLOW JOURNALISM. It is generally defined by academic circles as news reports that use extreme exaggeration and fabricated plots to render news events, especially about pornographic, violent, and criminal events, to achieve sensationalism and expand sales. It originated from the “YELLOW KIDS” comic strip in the Sunday edition of the American “World News” and “New York News” in 1897.
At the end of the 19th century, an innovative popular newspaper began to appear, represented by the New York World, which was purchased by Pulitzer in 1883, and the New York News, which was purchased by Hearst. In order to compete for the market, the two newspapers launched a fierce competition. Pulitzer’s Le Monde, in order to attract readers, opened a compelling comic column “yellowkids” in its Sunday edition. It was created by Richard Outcourt, and the comic’s protagonist is a grinning child in a fat yellow suit with no teeth. The author mostly takes the social news at that time as the theme, and borrows the whereabouts of “yellow children” to travel around to satirize the world’s human feelings. It is funny and interesting, and is very popular among readers.
”Yellow Kids” has appeared in The New York World and The News. Hirst started this column in the News after poaching the cartoonist. At the same time, Pulitzer also invited the painter Lacks to continue his column. As a result, the Sunday editions of the two newspapers had comic strips featuring “yellow children”, and the “yellow children” became the symbols of the two newspapers for a while. The press calls them yellow newspapers, and reports that they write in their usual sensationalist style as yellow news.
And American news historian Mott believes that pornographic news and sensationalist news are not synonymous. Because the latter is characteristic of the cheap newspapers of the 1830s, while the former was developed under the new historical conditions of the modern bourgeois newspapers at the beginning of the 20th century. Yellow journalism is based on sensationalism, focusing on issues of crime, scandal, divorce, and sexuality, with an emphasis on disaster and sports coverage. But it not only surpasses sensationalist journalism to an extent, it also has its own special approach.
Characteristics of Yellow News
One of the most distinctive features of yellow news is the use of provocative headlines, large red or black fonts, full of excitement; less important news is often exaggerated, and the entire newspaper page gives a sensational false sense; we know that , Among all the yellow newspapers, the headline is the “New York Daily” Evening. The newspaper took the lead in using artistic words as the title, and even a few words could fill the front page of the newspaper. For example, on the eve of the Spanish-American War, the newspaper lined the words “must fight” across the front page. The reason why the headlines of the yellow news should be bigger and bigger at that time, in addition to the usual purpose of newspaper media to attract readers, the main factor was triggered by the comprehensive market economy and the fierce competition in the industry. In order to promote one’s own products and obtain a larger living space, the headline is undoubtedly a powerful weapon to strengthen the “advertising” of the content of the newspaper page, which can “hold” the reader’s attention from a long distance.
The second is to use all kinds of deceit, or fabricate news, behind closed doors; or pretend to be science and talk about academics; or simply create news events by themselves, and blatantly pursue the effect of stimulating the senses of readers. In addition to this, “yellow journalism” expresses hypocritical sympathy for the oppressed and exploited, as well as for the losers in competition; they launch social movements and declare that they stand with the majority in order to win the goodwill and goodwill of the general public. support. In order to achieve the purpose of incitement, they will often abuse news pictures, and even falsify and steal pictures.
We know that “yellow journalism” reached its peak from the cartoon series “yellow children”. Since then, many yellow newspapers have followed suit by publishing Sunday supplements, publishing colorful comic strips and some superficial and stimulating text to stimulate people’s senses. Layout and content to compete for lower-class readers.
The space for the influence of
yellow journalism The cause of yellow journalism first appeared in the United States. The yellow journalism industry developed in the fierce competition between “News” and “Le Monde” aroused the imitation of national newspapers and reached its peak in 1899-1900. After 1901, the competition between “News” and “Le Monde” tended to ease, the rise of solemn newspapers such as “The New York Times”, and people’s disgust for the negative impact of yellow news caused the yellow news industry to gradually decline.
Yellow news is gradually spreading to other countries in Europe. It exists as a history and is not created out of thin air. The popular press and its sensationalist news in the mid-19th century were the original source of development, but pornographic journalism has gone far beyond its predecessors in sensationalism, fabrication of facts, and disregard for moral responsibility. The beginning of the era of yellow journalism was marked by Joseph Pulitzer’s founding of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1878. There were three climaxes of yellow news in the United States in the mid-19th century, in the 1890s and in the 1920s. Among them, the dispute between the two giants of yellow news, Pulitzer and Hearst, is a peak in the development of yellow news.
About one-third of the hundreds of newspapers in 21 major cities in the United States at the end of the 19th century were such “yellow newspapers.” Cincinnati and Denver are two typical yellow news centers. “Denver Post” and “Boston Post” are the most “yellow” newspapers in these cities.
The French “Morning” is a yellow newspaper with the most American characteristics, owned by Maurice Bounot Vasili.
The yellow newspapers in Russia appeared in the 1880s, when Petersburg and Moscow were the centers of such newspapers.
Lord North Rock’s “Daily Mirror” is the most influential of all the yellow newspapers in the UK, and it was originally launched as a women’s newspaper.
Japan has the greatest influence and the largest distribution in this regard: “Wan Chao Bao” and “Er Liu Xin Bao”.
of yellow journalism Historically, yellow journalism is not an individual phenomenon but a global phenomenon, a product of the stage of monopoly capitalism. The ethical concept of capitalist society is indifferent, the trend of the world is declining, and social crimes are increasing. To a certain extent, pornographic news is a reflection of this social reality. Generally speaking, the more developed the capitalist economy is, the more rampant pornographic news is. Big cities are better than small cities, and cities are better than villages. In this sense, the emergence of yellow news is not the result of a few yellow newspapers, but a result of social development.
As a social-historical phenomenon, yellow news has had many negative effects on social development. The sensationalist propaganda of pornographic news has greatly lowered the standard of journalism and trampled on the highest criterion that the press has always pursued for a long time – the principle of authenticity. In the pursuit of profit and distribution goals, the people of yellow newspapers put aside the mission of the newspaper and social justice, and deviate from the tradition of the newspaper industry in modern society. And its sensational reporting, crime news, and sensational propaganda poison the minds of readers.
Not only that, the yellow newspapers also use grandstanding and sensational propaganda to divert the attention of ordinary people from the immediate political and economic struggles, and blur people’s perception of the real society.
However, the emergence and development of yellow news has its objective historical inevitability. For the development of modern journalism, yellow journalism has something to offer. First of all, yellow news has made great efforts in popularizing newspapers, expanding the readership of newspapers, and making the newspaper industry become the cause of the public to a greater extent. Some of its changes in news business, such as a large number of pictures, large font size, diversification of news writing, and increasing news features, have further activated the newspaper’s layout and enhanced the newspaper’s appeal to the public. inherited.
The lasting impact of the “yellow papers” proves once again that the old-fashioned sensationalist technique has its appeal. Other newspapers, such as the Philadelphia Chronicle and the Boston Globe, played the same trick as the Le Monde. But it would be wrong to attribute the increase in Le Monde sales to sensationalism alone. Some people only see the light side of Le Monde’s clever salesmanship and content. They don’t see — or ignore — the steadfastness of Le Monde’s news coverage and the high quality of its editorial pages. Incredibly, those who do not strive for a balance between journalism and entertainment make so much money that their competitors often have to adopt pornographic journalism. While most newspapers have since overcome this ill, modern journalism in the West has been affected by the legacy of this era of yellow journalism ever since.