Yellow Journalism & Its Social Role

First of all, let me define what yellow journalism is in a little bit terms. It is characterized as “a training by which columnists accumulate realities about a disputable issue to distribute them on the web, typically by controlling their sources or utilizing questionable techniques like snap bedeviling”.

According to Prof Edward Tung, an American political science professor at the University of Florida and also a researcher into how social media became mainstream, this is no longer just a trend, it is now the standard. He describes yellow journalism as “a sort of digital publishing that operates on a different set of principles”. In an earlier post by Prof. Tung, he elaborates on his research on how social media can be used to shape public opinion.


Yellow Journalism

Many people on social media have already heard about the term “yellow journalism”, which has been coined by some researchers to describe new media forms and practices, especially those relating to politics. These types of practices are mostly related to Facebook in particular.

These types of news stories have been described and defined by professors Edward Tung and David Pager (both from Washington and DC respectively), among others, for example, Dr Eric Kreisler describes them as “clickbait journalism.”

Yellow Journalism vs traditional reporting

As we can see, both yellow journalism and traditional reporting has its advantages and disadvantages. This is very true in many aspects. We can easily compare these two forms of publication with any other media form. So far, most people think that they have more similarities than differences.

For example, they both depend more on social networks to spread, while yellow journalism relies almost exclusively on Facebook for publicity. Nevertheless, there are certain differences between the two types of publications, mainly because traditional reporting is more journalistic for example, so many sources are interviewed, reporters write down data, and reporters gather facts and publish.


Yellow Journalism

On the other hand, yellow journalism is based solely on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat for this type of reporting. The main reason why yellow journalism hasn’t gained much popularity yet is simply because these networks can’t produce accurate information as people in need of such information are simply not interested in reading news articles from such places.

Nowadays yellow journalism is mainly used by Facebook users to make news out by spreading fake news about something as simple as Donald Trump. So we see here that yellow journalism can indeed be considered old as a media form.

Why do yellow journalism exists?

The history of yellow journalism begins way back in 2008 when journalist John Mina published a story called “Trump told the truth” where the reporter relied on sources who knew what was really happening but didn’t want to reveal what they actually said and revealed the whole truth about President Donald J. Trump. However, the author failed to reach all readers.

Moreover, Mina thought that the article could help a lot to get rid of disinformation and conspiracy theories which is also one of the common problems these days.


Yellow Journalism

making use of different outlets, the author managed to reach half the population, and at the same time reach a limited number of people who were interested in politics. With such kind of success, the world started taking notice of the phenomenon and the story was covered in multiple newspapers across the globe.

But then again, in May of 2009, another reporter named James Rosenfeld wrote a similar story for the New York Times titled “The Truth About Lies” where he also relied on sources rather than relying only on anonymous sources.

In 2012, another journalist David Post published a similar story under the title “The Story That Got Away” where John Dean decided to write a piece for Huffington Post. Then in 2013, two journalists Joe Rogan and Andrew Steiner published another book entitled “The News You Don’t Want To Hear” which was later made available through several independent publishers.


Yellow Journalism

By 2018, yellow journalism had taken the world by storm in a big way. As we can see on the right-hand side, you will find news stories about various conflicts that happened all over the globe. They also show people of interest such as celebrities, politicians who are involved in criminal activity, and journalists who are responsible for exposing corruption and unethical behavior.

All along the left-hand side, you will see plenty of trending topics such as Brexit, racial relations, health care, the environment, etc. And the right one is dominated by posts from white supremacists and conspiracy theorists. In fact, if you look at the top of the page, you will see that lots of popular content is created by white supremacists and other individuals who believe in such things.

The US news network has been completely transformed nowadays. When I click on a few news stories or try to read a given article, the first thing that I see on my screen when I am reading is the picture of former President Barack Obama.

Yes, we are going towards the future without him. One of the biggest changes that occurred in the US during elections have gone into action now. Many people think that by voting they are supporting the current president because they don’t like what he did. But according to the latest polls, only around 40 per cent of eligible voters are ready to choose for Trump.


Yellow Journalism

Another change happened to the US in 2016. More people were able to see what the country is actually like, and more people want to go back in time to change the past. Unfortunately, the majority of people can only talk about the positives. Some people have asked experts about possible solutions to stop this scenario. Therefore, yellow journalism is booming again in the United States.

One more difference:

yellow journalists often use unverified sources, instead of verifiable sources, which helps them gain exposure faster and access more people.

How to manage the negative effects of yellow journalism:

To avoid negative impacts on society, in order to avoid the negative outcomes of the journalism, several measures have been taken in several countries. Such measures include regulation for news publishers in specific regions to prevent them from working with anonymous sources that might compromise reliability or credibility. Furthermore, self-regulation by journalists has also become important because the demand for such forms of journalism is increasing every year.


Yellow Journalism

I’d only advise you to be careful with your sources because some sources could be manipulated to give wrong information. I’m personally not interested in doing a single day-to-day work, but the money is never good after I finish my work, and it gives me the chance to develop myself.

And finally, how is being aware of the impact of yellow journalism?


Yellow Journalism

After reading all that and thinking about the matter, I strongly believe such phenomenon should be avoided by following the rules. If you are looking for information, I suggest you to search or read the source from the beginning. Most people are familiar with Google when they search for any questions of interest on Google. Or when it comes to researching an article or topic on Medium, you can take help of that website so I won’t have to struggle anymore with finding anything.


Yellow Journalism

When you are trying to get an answer to your question or have some problem, please follow the steps I mentioned above to be on the safer side. I’ve tried my best in writing this blog to bring up better understanding and suggestions.

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