03 June 2011

Yellow Journalism

We are all familiar with the adjective 'Yellow Newspaper' or 'മഞ്ഞപ്പത്രം'. A yellow newspaper refers to one which runs behind sensationalism, uses distorted stories, biased opinions and misleading photographs in a crazy attempt to increase circulation.
But do you know how this word 'Yellow Journalism' came to use?
Here is the story: In the 1880's, during the Industrial revolution machinery became so cheap that publishers could print enormous copies of dailies easily. This had stimulated an unhealthy spirit to increase circulation among the newspapers. At that time, there were two leading newspapers in New York, The New York World run by Joseph Pulitzer and The New York Journal run by William Hearst. Pulitzer's World  had a very popular comic series by cartoonist Robert Outcault called 'Hogan's Alley' featuring a character 'Yellow Kid'. But this fellow Hearst simply hired Outcault and another staff member of New York World and began printing 'Yellow Kid' in his Journal. Pulitzer got angry on this. What he did was, he hired another cartoonist and started printing 'Yellow Kid' in his front page! This comic strip used a special, non-smear yellow ink. On seeing this silly fight between Pulitzer and Hearst, the critics coined a word 'Yellow Journalism' referring to the significance of the cartoon. 

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