Yellow Journalism is a style of reporting where journalists use little to no research to tell stories, and instead depend on catchy titles and sensational stories to grab readers. These reporters use scandal-mongering, exaggerations and prey upon people’s worst fears to misrepresent information and gain attention. The term originated in the late 1800s with “the circulation battles between Joseph Pulitzer‘s New York World and William Randolph Hearst‘s New York Journal.” (Wikipedia -Yellow Journalism). Reporters fabricated fantastical stories meant to entice readers into buying their papers, thus increasing profits. You could compare this type of news with the ever-popular tabloids of today. However, it is not just tabloids anymore. We are seeing a growing trend in the decline of content in news reporting today.
More and more organizations (like CNN) are eliminating their costly investigative journalism departments because it is cheaper to cover news that everyone else is covering. This opens the door for news organizations to revert to this sensationalist style of reporting. But I ask you, how much can a journalist really delve into investigating a story by sitting behind a desk, simply browsing the Internet or using Skype? The answer is not much. How are journalists expected to follow their code of ethics and live up to the expectation of being the Fourth Estate if they do not have the financial backing to do so?
I believe we will continue to see a decline in the standards of reporting and the variety of world news we have access to if media conglomerates continue to put more emphasis on the dollar than the content. I love the quote by David Brinkley, “The one function that TV news performs very well is that when there is no news, we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were.”
With the ever-expanding digital world, we have more access to both produce and consume content than ever before. I urge you to support organizations that encourage journalists in their endeavors, rather than hinder them. Do not listen to a story and take it at face value. Seek out other sources of information with higher standards of content than the majority of what is on TV. Finally, realize that the world is not quite as terrifying as the news media would have you believe. Reflect on all the things that DID NOT happen today, rather than on the terrible things that occasionally happen.