Originally, the term “Yellow Journalism” became known in the late 1890s because the sensationalist articles were found among the same pages that carried popular yellow cartoon characters. More generally, the term is now used to describe journalism or newspapers that present little or no legitimate, well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales, like exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. Today the term is a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.
In fact, the term “yellow journalism” was born from a rivalry between the two newspaper giants of the era: Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. Starting in 1895, Pulitzer printed a comic strip featuring a boy in a yellow nightshirt, entitled the “Yellow Kid.” Hearst then poached the cartoon’s creator and ran the strip in his newspaper. A critic at the New York Press, in an effort to shame the newspapers’ sensationalistic approach, coined the term “Yellow-Kid Journalism” after the cartoon. The term was then shortened to “Yellow Journalism.” .
The most well-known example of “yellow journalism” came from that same Randolph Hearst. Frederic Remington, a well-known artist, hired by Hearst to illustrate the revolution erupting in Cuba, wrote back to Hearst in January 1897: “Everything is quiet. There is no trouble. There will be no war. I wish to return.” Hearst sent Remington a note back: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”
In a time where lesser people trust media, fact-based journalism is what is need to stop the erosion of trust in news media. Reuters Network together with Oxford University published the “Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020“
A summary of some of the most important findings from the Reuters-Oxford 2020 research
- The coronavirus crisis has substantially increased news consumption for mainstream media in all of the countries where we conducted surveys before and after the pandemic had taken effect. Television news and online sources have seen significant upticks, and more people identify television as their main source of news, providing temporary respite from a picture of a steady decline. Consumption of printed newspapers has fallen as lockdowns undermine physical distribution, almost certainly accelerating the shift to an all-digital future.
- At the same time, the use of online and social media substantially increased in most countries. WhatsApp saw the biggest growth in general with increases of around ten percentage points in some countries, while more than half of those surveyed (51%) used some kind of open or closed online group to connect, share information, or take part in a local support network.
- As of April 2020, trust in the media’s coverage of COVID-19 was relatively high in all countries, at a similar level to national governments and significantly higher than for individual politicians. Media trust was more than twice the level for social networks, video platforms, or messaging services when it came to information about COVID-19.
Read: “Executive Summary and Key Findings of the 2020 Report“ by Rick Newman
 History, Lesley Kennedy, “Did Yellow Journalism Fuel the Outbreak of the Spanish-American War?”