Twentieth-century American journalism was born in a little-remembered burst of inspired self-promotion. It was born in a paroxysm of yellow journalism.


Ten seconds into the century, the first issue of the New York Journal of 1 January 1901 fell from the newspaper'ss complex of fourteen high-speed presses. The first issue was rushed by automobile across pavements slippery with mud and rain to a waiting express train, reserved especially for the occasion. The newspaper was folded into an engraved silver case and carried aboard by Langdon Smith, a young reporter known for his vivid prose style. At speeds that reached eighty miles an hour, the special train raced through the darkness to Washington, D.C., and Smith'ss rendezvous with the president, William McKinley.


The president'ss personal secretary made no mention in his diary of the special delivery of the Journal that day, noting instead that the New Year'ss reception at the executive mansion had attracted 5,500 well-wishers and was said to have been "the most successful for many years."1 But the Journal exulted: A banner headline spilled across the front page of the 2 January 1901 issue, asserting the Journal'ss distinction of having published "the first Twentieth Century newspaper. . . in this country," and that the first issue had been delivered at considerable expense and effort directly to McKinley.2


There was a lot of yellow journalism in Smith'ss turn-of-the-century run to Washington. The occasion illuminated the qualities that made the genre - of which the New York Journal was an archetype - both so irritating and so irresistible: Yellow journalism could be imaginative yet frivolous, aggressive yet self-indulgent. It advocated an ethos of activist journalism, yet did so in bursts of unabashed self-adulation.


For all its flaws and virtues, yellow journalism exerted a powerful influence in American journalism at the turn of the twentieth century. Yellow journalism was much decried but its salient features often were emulated. The genre was appealing and distinctive in its typography, in its lavish use of illustrations, in its aggressive newsgathering techniques. To a striking degree, features characteristic of the yellow press live on in American journalism, notably in the colorful layouts that characterize the formerly staid titles that used to disparage the yellow press- titles such as the New York Times and Washington Post. Indeed, it may even be appropriate to think of leading mainstream U.S. newspapers at the turn of the twenty-first century as embodying a kind of tempered or "reformed" yellow journalism.3


But in the decades since the twentieth century'ss first American newspaper rolled from the presses, the swagger and excesses of yellow journalism-and, to be sure, the arrogance, wealth, and ambitions of its leading practitioner, William Randolph Hearst-have managed to obscure the genre and its contributions. Myth, the blight of serious history, has overrun yellow journalism, distorting popular and scholarly understanding of the genre. The stuff of American journalism'ss best-known legends comes from the time of the yellow journalism, a period bracketed by Hearst's arrival in New York in 1895 - a seismic event in the city'ss journalism4 - and the undeniable fading of the genre'ss most flamboyant signature features by 1910. In that time, newspapers embracing the salient elements of yellow journalism appeared in Boston, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco, among other American cities.


Perhaps the myth told most often about yellow journalism is that of the purported exchange of telegrams between Hearst and the artist Frederic Remington, in which Hearst is said to have vowed, "I'll furnish the war,"5 between the United States and Spain.6 That Hearst made good on the supposed vow - that the yellow press succeeded in bringing about the Spanish-American War in 1898, that it was "Mr. Hearst's War"7 - is another undying myth, one that tidily, if mistakenly, serves to illustrate the power and the lurking malevolence of America'ss news media. Indeed, all of American journalism suffers indirectly from such mythology.8


Yet another durable, widely held myth is that the yellow press was primarily an entertainment medium,9 that it frivolously discounted and even corrupted,10‹ fact-based journalism in order merely to titillate and distract its readers.11 Hearst's best-known biographers have tended to support this impression.12 In reality, a defining characteristic of the yellow press - and, notably, of Hearst's Journal - was abundant spending on newsgathering, especially on news from afar.13 "Its conquests," a Boston editor said of the Journal, "are costly."14 The Journal figured that its ex-penses related to covering the Spanish-American War exceeded $750,000,15 or the equivalent 100 years later of $15 million.

The Journal gloated about its extravagant spending on newsgathering. Not atypical was this claim, in which the Journal disparaged its rivals, notably the New York Sun: "The reason the old journalism doesn'st like the Journal is that the Journal gets the news, no matter what it costs. The Sun and its kind cannot afford to spend money since the Journal has taken their readers away from them, and the probability is they would not do so if they could afford it. They are still living in the Silurian age."16




In reading the issues of the yellow journals, it is difficult to remain unimpressed by their zeal and their enterprise in obtaining confidential reports and documents. The Journal'ss scoops in this regard were notable. They included obtaining and publishing in 1896 the text of an ill-fated arbitration treaty17 between the United States and Britain; disclosing in 1898 the contents of an indiscreet but exceedingly revealing private letter written by Spain'ss minister to the United States, in which he disparaged McKinley during the unfolding crisis over Cuba; and divulging in 1899 the text of the peace treaty18 that ended the war between the United States and Spain. Contemporaneous observers were known to congratulate the Journal for its "extraordinary" enterprise.19


Some of the Journal'ss most notable exclusives came close to home, in its frequent crusades against graft, incompetence,20 and municipal corruption in New York. The Ice Trust exposeés in 1900 offer a revealing example of ferocity, and even the nonpartisan nature, of the newspaper'ss investigative enterprise.


The Journal in the spring that year disclosed the equity holding of Robert Van Wyck,21 the first mayor of the consolidated boroughs of New York City, in a company that controlled much of the sale and distribution of ice. At the turn of the twentieth century, ice was essential to the health and comfort of New Yorkers, especially to the tens of thousands of people crowded into tenements. The Journal'ss revelations about the corrupt mayor came shortly after the company had doubled the price of ice to sixty cents per 100 pounds,22 and after the Journal had pursued Van Wyck on a mysterious trip to Maine, where he joined the Ice Trust'ss president23 in inspecting the company'ss plants.24


Although the Journal had vigorously supported Van Wyck'ss candidacy for mayor in the 1897 election,25 the newspaper turned on him relentlessly in the Ice Trust scandal, referring to him as a criminal official who should be prosecuted and removed from office. In the end, the price of ice was rolled back but Van Wyck escaped trial. The disclosures had, however, destroyed his political career and Van Wyck left office in disgrace in 1901.


Commentators in the early twentieth century were not in error in noting that the yellow press "had proved a fearless and efficient instrument for the exposure of public wrongdoing."26 The Ice Trust scandal was one of several anticorruption crusades.27




So why, then, did such an intriguing and aggressive genre become the object of such abundant distortion, of such towering mythology? Why is "yellow journalism" little more than a sneering epithet for sensationalism and other failings of the news media? The reasons are several.


Its hearty indulgence in self-congratulation was no doubt a factor. Sell-promotion was a signal feature of yellow journalism and the Journal and its principal rival, the New York World, boasted ceaselessly about their reporting accomplishments, modest though they sometimes were. Their self-indulgence invited the loathing of rival newspapers, the editors of which were ever eager to malign the yellow press. Indeed, as we shall see, the term "yellow journalism" emerged and spread from New York City amid an ill-fated campaign to ban the Journal and the World. For those editors, "yellow journalism" was an evocative term of reproach, a colorful way of excoriating-and marginalizing-the Journal and the World.


But the unabashed sell-congratulation that characterized the genre accounts only partly for the extravagant growth of myth and misunderstanding. Another part of the explanation is that the genre'ss leading practitioners-Hearst, notably, and, to a lesser extent, Joseph Pulitzer of the World, as well as regional figures such as Frederick G. Bonfils and Harry H. Tannem of the Denver Post-seemed to invite censure and scorn. They were ambitious and controversial figures, and their foes recognized they were vulnerable to personal attack by impugning their journalism. After all, what better way to impugn and discredit Hearst than to blame him and his newspapers for fomenting an "unnecessary" war?


Hearst was a ready target for such scorn, especially after his political ambitions became clear at the end of the nineteenth century.28 His politics and the sell-indulgence of his newspapers invited attacks such as this one in Harper'ss Weekly in 1906:


The man, therefore, who as the owner of newspapers, would corrupt public opinion is the most dangerous enemy of the State. We may talk about the perils incident to the concentration of wealth, about the perils flowing from a disregard of fiduciary responsibility, about abuses of privilege, about exploiting the government for private advantage; but all of these menaces, great as they are, are nothing compared with a deliberate, persistent, artful, purchased endeavor to pervert and vitiate the public judgment. Why? Because upon that judgment we must all of us rely in a self-governing community for the conservation of everything we prize and for all the progress for which we hope.29


The searing portrayal of Hearst in the 1941 motion picture Citizen Kane undoubtedly sealed his reputation as a cynical, ruthless manipulator.30 Citizen Kane also helped popularize the purported Hearstian vow to "furnish the war" with Spain.31


Perhaps a more important explanation for the myth that has obscured yellow journalism is that the genre proved so elusive to definition. Yellow journalism has been equated to lurid and sensational treatment of the news;32 to egregious journalistic misconduct of almost any kind, and to Hearst, himself. None of those shorthand characterizations is adequate, revealing, or even very accurate. None captures the genre'ss complexity and vigor.


The term "yellow journalism," as we shall see in Chapter One, emerged in early 1897, popularized by the New York Press and its stern and fastidious editor, Ervin Wardman. But the editor who pressed the phrase into the vernacular never explicitly defined it. For Wardman, "yellow journalism" was an evocative and dismissive epithet applied interchangeably to the Journal and the World. (While they shared many features and elements, the Journal and World were fierce competitors and resisted being so linked. But they were certainly not conservative newspapers in appearance or content.)




The phrase "yellow journalism" and the salient features of the practice were quickly diffused in the late nineteenth century. The New York Tribune adopted the term in February 1897, with a bow to Wardman'ss Press,33 and within weeks, newspapers beyond New York were also referring to "yellow journalism." Meanwhile, the elements characteristic of yellow journalism were said to have spread "like a prairie fire,"34 taking hold to varying degrees in newspapers in several U.S. cities.


It was a highly idiosyncratic genre: Not every exemplar of yellow journalism was a facsimile of the New York Journal. The Denver Post and San Francisco Examiner were, for example, noticeably less inclined to indulge in self-promotion than either the Journal or the World. The Boston Post opened its flamboyant front pages to display advertising, a practice not uncommon in Boston at the turn of the twentieth century.35 The Journal was more inclined to use banner headlines than the World.


Such differences notwithstanding, those newspapers that can be classified as "yellow journals" were, at a minimum, typographically bold in their use of headlines and illustrations. They certainly looked different from their gray, conservative counterparts, and their use of design elements was more conspicuous and imaginative. They were, moreover, inclined to campaign against powerful interests and municipal abuses, ostensibly on behalf of "the people." And they usually were not shy about doing so.


That there were shades of yellow journalism is hardly surprising, given the genre'ss dimensions and inherent complexity. But that variance contributed to difficulties in defining the genre (difficulties that evoke the definitional imprecision associated with "public" or "civic" journalism, a practice that emerged in the United States during the 1990s). Practitioners of yellow journalism recognized the definitional vagueness,36 but offered little clarification. Hearst, who came to embrace the term, unhelpfully described yellow journalism as "truthful journalism of an aggressive, not a negative, character."37 Arthur Brisbane, one of Hearst's top editors, said: "Anything in journalism that is new and successful is yellow journalism, no matter what you or I see fit to call it."38 Not surprisingly, foes of the yellow press were more eager to disparage than define. Thus were the yellow journals accused of such malevolent effects as "corrupting the young and debauching the old, championing vice and lewdness, and defying respectability and decency."39 The practice of yellow journalism was likened, moreover, to a "contest of madmen for the primacy of the sewer."40


The Search for Definition


The definitional elusiveness of yellow journalism was underscored in a study published in 1900 (and often cited since) that said yellow journals had emerged in many metropolitan areas of the United States.41 The study was drawn from a very limited content analysis42 conducted by Delos Wilcox, who conceded having encountered great difficulty in developing a quantitative test permitting him to differentiate the Journal from the New York Evening Post, a leading conservative (or non-yellow) daily edited by E. L. Godkin.43 Wilcox finally decided that yellow journalism'ss salient characteristics were the above-average emphasis on news of crime and vice; the use of illustrations; the publications of want ads and medical advertising, and the tendency to advertise or call attention to its accomplishments.44


Those categories were decidedly imprecise, to be sure. Conservative titles, for example, often gave prominence to news of crime and vice. As T.T. Williams, the business manager of Hearst's San Francisco Examiner, observed in 1897: "The most eminently respectable newspapers in this country at times print matter that the so-called sensational paper would never dare to print - but the so-called respectable newspaper escapes uncriticised because it does not look sensational."45 Moreover, Wilcox'ss characterization of the yellow press underemphasized the typographic exuberance and design experimentation that typified the genre.46


Media historian Frank Luther Mott offered a somewhat more revealing and inclusive set of defining characteristics, and usefully pointed out that yellow journalism "must not be considered as synonymous with sensationalism." Yellow journalism, Mott said, certainly reflected "the familiar aspects of sensationalism - crime news, scandal and gossip, divorces and sex, and stress upon the reporting of disasters and sports."47 But the genre was more complex than merely sensational; its "distinguishing techniques," Mott said, included the use or appearance of:

  • prominent headlines that "screamed excitement, often about comparatively unimportant news."
  • "lavish use of pictures, many of them without significance."
  • "impostors and frauds of various kinds," including "faked's interviews and stories."
  • a Sunday supplement and color comics.
  • "more or less ostentatious sympathy with the underdog,'s with campaigns against abuses suffered by the common people."48

Mott recognized that his criteria represented "an enumeration. . . of something grotesque and vicious" - an acknowledgment of subjectivity that diminishes their value in defining and explaining yellow journalism.49 Mott'ss criteria, moreover, inadequately reflect the newsgathering enterprise that characterized the yellow press and fail to recognize fully the variety of content that the yellow press typically presented.


The Defining Characteristics


This study argues for and presents a more encompassing set of defining characteristics 50 of yellow journalism, a set of characteristics derived from the close reading of issues of the New York Journal and New York World during the first half of 1897, when the term began appearing in print in New York City and beyond. This set of characteristics, moreover, acknowledges not only the complexity of yellow journalism; it recognizes the genre'ss aggressive flamboyance, its inclination to experiment with page design, and its eagerness to call attention to itself. Thus, in its most developed and intense form, yellow journalism was characterized by:

  • the frequent use of multicolumn headlines that sometimes stretched across the front page.
  • a variety of topics reported on the front page, including news of politics, war, international diplomacy, sports, and society.
  • the generous and imaginative use of illustrations, including photographs and other graphic representations such as locator maps.
  • bold and experimental layouts, including those in which one report and illustration would dominate the front page.51 Such layouts sometimes were enhanced by the use of color.
  • a tendency to rely on anonymous sources, particularly in dispatches of leading reporters (such as James Creelman, who wrote for the Journal and the World).
  • a penchant for self-promotion, to call attention eagerly to the paper'ss accomplishments. This tendency was notably evident in crusades against monopolies and municipal corruption.


As defined above and as practiced a century ago, yellow journalism certainly could not be called predictable, boring, or uninspired- complaints of the sort that were not infrequently raised about U.S. newspapers at the turn of the twenty-first century.52




Yellow journalism was a product of a lusty, fiercely competitive, and intolerant time, when editors were known to shoot editors,53 when editors were shot by their readers,54 and when newspapers almost casually traded brickbats and insults.55 The latter practice was remarkably well-developed at the end of the nineteenth century. The Journal and World, for example, were ever eager to impugn, denounce, and sneer at each other,56 so, too, were conservative newspapers.57 The gray, staid Washington Post said this about one of its conservative counterparts in 1899: "The New York Times has such abnormal keenness of vision that it is occasionally able to see that which does not exist. The ardency of its desire sometimes overcomes the coolness of its reason, so that the thing it wants to see shows up just where it wants it to be, but in so intangible a form that no other eye is able to detect, no other mind finds ground to suspect its presence."58


More generally, yellow journalism reflected the brashness and the widely perceived hurried pace of urban America 59 at the turn of the twentieth century. It was a lively, provocative, swaggering style of journalism well suited to an innovative and expansive time - a period when the United States first projected its military power beyond the Western Hemisphere in a sustained manner.60 The recognition was widespread at the end of the nineteenth century that the country was on the cusp of rapid, perhaps even disruptive transformation. For example, the demographic profile had begun to swing from predominantly rural to largely urban; the population of U.S. cities expanded by nearly one third during the 1890s,61 growth fueled in measure by incipient immigration from central, southern, and eastern Europe.62


The sense of change at the end of the nineteenth century went well beyond demography, however. It was more profound, more elemental.63 "Political, commercial, social, artistic and religious customs and thoughts that have stood for many years - some for many centuries - are yielding place to new more rapidly than they have for many generations past," one commentator wrote in the spring of 1898. "Scientific discovery, popular education, free thought and business enterprise are all factors in the change."64


"Scientific discovery" seemed to have annihilated time and space. "Space is no intervention now between communication," an editorial writer in Cincinnati marveled in 1900. "[N]ot only do the wires of copper bind the world together in closer communication, but with the telephone it is possible to converse with friends a thousand miles away, hearing distinctly every word and recognizing the individual voice. Closer acquaintance has thus wrought vast changes in public opinions and policies. The entire civilized world has been drawn more closely together, old ideas and prejudices have been wiped out."65


Prejudice of course had not been excised. If anything, the late nineteenth century was a time of stunning intolerance, of prejudices renewed and deepened. In Southern states, black men were disfranchised and Jim Crow segregation became institutionalized, efforts that often were championed by local newspapers. The Raleigh News and Observer, for example, played a central role in North Carolina'ss virulent white supremacy movements which led to the severe curtailment of black suffrage at the end of the nineteenth century.66


The yellow press of New York felt the sting of intolerance, too, notably in a boycott by social organizations, clubs, reading rooms, and public libraries. The boycott spread quickly throughout metropolitan New York during the first months of 1897, but ultimately proved unsustainable - in no small measure because the Journal and the World were livelier, more aggressive, more insistent, and generally more appealing than their conservative rivals.67


To be sure, yellow journalism did not simply burst upon the media landscape of the United States in the 1890s, unique and fully formed. It was malleable and it borrowed from past practice. Pulitzer, for example, had engaged in crusades and indulged in sensationalism several years before Hearst's appearance in New York City.68 Yellow journalism was, as contemporaneous observers noted, born before it was baptized.69


It was a genre keen to adapt and eager to experiment. Its distinctiveness and popularity were in no small measure attributable to a hearty embrace of established and emergent techniques and technologies. Yellow journalism cannot be explained as merely an effect or artifact of technological advances-such as the high-speed presses that cost upwards of $100,000 at the turn of the twentieth century and could print in five or even six colors.70 The genre'ss boldness and its diffusion were due fundamentally to the tastes, affluence, and idiosyncrasies of individual publishers. But yellow journalism undeniably was shaped and propelled by the developments of the time, which included:

  • The emergence of a "graphic revolution,"71 marked by the popularity of half-tone photographs 72 and the rise in importance of newspapers's art departments.73 The half-tone ultimately helped to transform the appearance, and appeal, of newspaper front pages.74
  • The fall in the cost of pulp-based newsprint,75 which enabled newspapers to experiment with bolder headlines 76 and to expand the page count of their daily and Sunday editions 77 Cheaper newsprint helped make possible the six-figure daily circulations claimed by the Journal and World.78
  • The advances in newsroom technology. Typewriters, notably, became standard 79 and were valued for their efficiency. Electric typewriters were emergent.80 Moreover, college-educated reporters were at the turn of the twentieth century becoming "more and more of a factor" in New York City journalism.81
  • The enhancements in delivery systems. At the end of the nineteenth century, automobiles began replacing horse-drawn carts as a principal means of distributing newspapers in New York City.82 In addition, New York metropolitan newspapers were routinely sent by high-speed train to cities throughout the eastern United States.83


Despite the multiple technologies and developments that facilitated its emergence and diffusion, yellow journalism in its most flamboyant, immoderate, and sell-important form could not be long sustained. By the close of the first decade of the twentieth century, it clearly had faded. The tendency to self-promotion, once so frenzied and inescapable, had subsided. The New York American (the Journal'ss successor title) and the New York World were, by 1909, far less eager to place their names in front-page headlines than they had been ten years before.


The fading or softening of yellow journalism was also attributable to a convergence of multiple forces: Conservative competitors began to in-corporate features of the genre, notably in somewhat bolder layouts. Muckraking magazines such as McClure'ss, became journalism'ss most prominent crusaders, exposing municipal corruption and corporate greed and misconduct. Publishers became enfeebled (as did Pulitzer) or turned toward other interests (as did Hearst, to state and national politics). Reports of sporting events migrated from the front page to discrete sections.84


Meanwhile, the term "yellow journalism" became tied inextricably to an improbable assortment of journalistic failings and misdeeds, notably that of provoking the war with Spain in 1898.85 The myth of the yellow press and the Spanish-American War deepened in the 1930s with publication of studies by Joseph E. Wisan 86 and Marcus M. Wilkerson,87 and of polemics such as Ferdinand Lundberg'ss hostile biography, Imperial Hearst.88


By the end of the twentieth century, the understanding of "yellow journalism" had become so distorted, so choked by myth and misunderstanding, that discussions of the genre often were little more than ill-informed caricatures. Consider, for example, the following passage from Harper'ss magazine in 1997, which discussed Hearst and the Journal'ss reporting of the insurgency in Cuba that preceded the Spanish-American War-during what the author called "the florid bloom of crime and underwear that soon came to be known as yellow journalism":89


For eighteen months, the Journal had been printing vivid, first-hand accounts of the cruel suffering inflicted by Spanish brutes and tyrants on the innocent, democratic, freedom-loving Cuban people. The stories were counterfeit, composed by an atelier of thirty-odd artists and writers, among them Frederick [sic] Remington and Richard Harding Davis, that Hearst had dispatched to Cuba to dramatize the revolution presumably taking place in the mountains. The revolution was nowhere to be found, and so Hearst's correspondents stationed themselves in wicker chairs on the terrace of the Hotel Inglaterra in Havana, where they sipped iced drinks and received news by telepathy. Borrowing from one another'ss adjectives, they sent word of imaginary atrocities and non-existent heroes, descriptions of battles that never occurred, fanciful but stirring tales of Spanish officers roasting Catholic priests on charcoal fires and feeding prisoners to the sharks.


When all else failed, they sent an attractive Cuban girl whom they persuaded to travel north with a terrible story of how she had been violated by General Valeriano Weyler, the commander of the Spanish troops, whom the correspondents had never met but whom they routinely described as "the destroyer of haciendas," "the destroyer of families," and "the outrager of women." When the fair maiden arrived in New York, Hearst prepared for her appearance at Madison Square Garden with three concise instructions, always the same and always ready to hand, that expressed his reading of the First Amendment: "Hire military bands. Secure orators. Arrange fireworks."90


The errors, half-truths, and distortions in the Harper'ss account are not only spectacular: They are illustrative of the kind of routine denunciation and gratuitous misunderstanding that attaches to the yellow press and its practitioners. The Harper'ss account errs in many ways: The Spanish did resort to harsh measures in their failed attempt to quell the insurrection in Cuba; the Journal kept no "atelier" of artists and reporters on the island; Davis and Remington, whom the Journal dispatched to Cuba, stayed a short while but traveled beyond Havana; some Journal correspondents did spend time with the Cuban insurgents; the Journal sometimes carried extravagant atrocity stories, but so did many other U.S. newspapers; correspondents for the Journal were acquainted with Weyler, the Spanish military leader in Cuba in 1896-1897; Weyler did not violate the Cuban "girl," the description of whom suggests Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros, an eighteen-year-old woman whom the Spanish imprisoned for sympathies with the insurrection and whom a Journal correspondent rescued from a jail in Havana and sent to a tumultuous welcome in the United States.




This study seeks neither to laud nor apologize for yellow journalism. Its excesses were many and difficult to countenance. It was a notably impenitent genre. The Journal, in particular, was seldom given to acknowledge lapses and errors.91 Its indulgence in oddities and pseudoscience,92 moreover, lent to yellow journalism a sense of absurdity and encouraged the notion that the genre was eager "to sport with the facts."93 While strange and improbable stories (such as "The Missing Link Found Alive In Annam,"94 "Is the Sun Preparing to Give Birth to a New World?"95 and "Pontius Pilate'ss Interview With Christ"96) were generally confined to Sunday supplements, they live on as blighting counterfeits.97


Nevertheless, it is a mistake to assess yellow journalism solely in relation to such excesses. Oddities and pseudoscience were diversions, not the principal elements of content; not all columns of the yellow press "were filled . . . with frivolities and slush."98


This study, while mindful of the lapses and shortcomings of yellow journalism, recognizes as well that it was a robust and searching genre, the understanding of which has been warped by myth and error. The study, therefore, pursues a twofold objective.


First, it revisits and offers fresh perspectives and interpretations about the prominent mythology of yellow journalism. The study specifically seeks to correct the record about legends and misunderstandings, such as Hearst's purported vow to "furnish the war," and about misleading claims, such as the undying notion the yellow press plunged the United States into war with Spain. Those and other myths of the yellow press are addressed in the first part of this study. The second, related objective is to assess the extent to which the defining features of yellow journalism live on in leading American newspapers. That they do live on has often been asserted by media historians 99 but never has been tested systematically. The second part of this study presents the results of a detailed content analysis of the front pages of seven leading U.S. newspapers at ten-year intervals, from 1899 to 1999. The content analysis indicates that some of the less flamboyant elements characteristic of yellow journalism have been generally adopted by leading U.S. newspapers. A separate chapter offers qualitative evidence about how the genetic material of yellow journalism can be found in various strains of activist-oriented journalism of the late twentieth century-namely, in "development journalism," a movement popular in developing countries during the 1970s and 1980s; in "public journalism," which emerged in the United States during the 1990s, and in the virulent brand of crime-busting journalism practiced by large-circulation British tabloid newspapers at the end of the 1990s.


In puncturing the myths and defining the legacies of yellow journalism, this study focuses to some degree on Hearst's New York Journal. Such a concentration is inescapable: Not only did the Journal perhaps best exemplify the accomplishments and excesses of yellow journalism, the newspaper was central to the genre'ss most powerful and enduring myths. More broadly, however, this study endeavors to present a nuanced and less emotional understanding of an energetic, complex, and much-maligned genre of American journalism. Yellow journalism has long awaited such treatment.


Most discussions of the yellow press, after all, have been conducted through the biographies of the figures most readily associated with the genre - of Hearst and Pulitzer, principally. A notable exception was John D. Stevens's Sensationalism and the New York Press, an insightful if largely descriptive account that considers the yellow press of New York City in detail. Stevens's work does not, however, examine the genre as it emerged elsewhere in the United States, nor does it explore its myths and legacies. Sidney Kobre'ss The Yellow Press and Gilded Age Journalism is a useful treatment, but is principally a descriptive survey of important figures and institutions of the press in the United States during the late nineteenth century.


This study, then, seeks to fill a significant gap in the literature. It begins with Ervin Wardman and the first sustained use of the term "yellow journalism."


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1. George B. Cortelyou, diary entry, 1 January 1901; Cortelyou papers, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

2. Langdon Smith, "The Journal, the First Newspaper of This Century's -McKinley," New York Journal (2 January 1901): 1. McKinley was quoted in Smith'ss article as tersely offering thanks for the newspaper and the silver case. The Journal sent the second copy of its 1 January 1901 edition to Vice President-elect Theodore Roosevelt, and the third to New York Governor-elect Benjamin B. Odell Jr. For another account of the Journal'ss first issue of the twentieth century, see "Greeting to the Century," Fourth Estate (5 January 1901): 5. Smith reported on the Spanish-American War for the Journal and, in 1899, was nearly lured away by the rival New York World, the managing editor of which was impressed by the "vivid description" that characterized Smith'ss prose. See Bradford Merrill, letter to Don C. Seitz, 6 July 1899, 1899 file, NewYork World papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York.

3. The term "reformed yellow journalism" was proposed in 1902 by a former editor of the New York Journal, Samuel E. Moffett. He said that "respectable" newspapers need not eschew large headlines and illustrations, or avoid criticizing powerful interests. Moffett suggested making "accuracy instead of record-breaking celerity the supreme requirement in your news-room." The suggestions were cited in "Are Yellow Journals as Bad as They Are Painted?" Literary Digest 25, 5 (2 August1902): 132.

4. For example, the trade journal Fourth Estate said: "The advent of young Hearst is an event of the greatest importance, for he means what he says, says what he means and states that he is here to stay. . . . Hearst is young and ambitious. He is worth watching. He wants to prove that he has more than his millions to back him. He is in New York to hustle and not to buy gold bricks. If he can, as he intends to, push the Journal into the first rank, he will have proved the power of his purpose and achieved his ambitions." See "W. R. Hearst Here," Fourth Estate (10 October 1895): 1. Fourth Estate added: "The result of new blood in metropolitan journalism will be watched with the deepest interest, not only in New York, but throughout the country" (2). See also, "Who Will Be Next?" Fourth Estate (7 November 1895): 1.

5. James Creelman, On the Great Highway: The Wanderings and Adventures of a Special Correspondent (Boston: Lothrop Publishing, 1901), 177-178.

6. The purported exchange has often been invoked by journalists and media historians. See, among many others, Clifford Krauss, "Remember Yellow Journalism," New York Times (15 February 1998): 4, 3, and Michael Schudson, Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers (New York: Basic Books Inc., 1978), 61-62. Many biographers of Hearst have repeated the anecdote, some of them without qualification. See, for example, Ferdinand Lundberg, Imperial Hearst: A Social Biography (New York: Equinox Cooperative Press, 1936), 68-69.

7. Philip Seib, Headline Diplomacy: How News Coverage Affects Foreign Policy (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1997), 1-13. See also, W. A. Swanberg, Citizen Hearst: A Biography of William Randolph Hearst (New York: Charles Scribner'ss Sons, 1961), 144.

8. Another enduring myth is that the yellow press was decidedly and intentionally downscale, that it appealed primarily to the poor, to newly arrived immigrants, and to people with an uncertain command of English. But the contrary evidence, both quantitative and qualitative, is persuasive: The yellow press most likely was read across the social strata in New York and elsewhere, as will be discussed in Chapter Two.

9. See Schudson, Discovering the News, 89, 91.

10. Gunther Barth, City People: The Rise of Modern City Culture in NineteenthCentury America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 101. Barth argued:"Yellow journalism reduced newspapers to a tool of power politics in the hands of news barons with concern for news reporting as an instrument of communication forged by the interaction of journalism, the modern city, and its residents."

11. Sociology studies have tended to emphasize that point. See, for example, Robert E. Park, "The Yellow Press," Sociology and Social Research 12 (1927- 1928). Park wrote that Hearst's "appeal was frankly not to the intellect but to the heart. The newspaper was for him and last a form of entertainment (10). See also, Carroll DeWitt Clark, "News: A Sociological Study," Abstracts of Theses, University of Chicago Humanist Series 9 (1930-32): 244.

12. See, notably, Swanberg, Citizen Hearst, 162. See also Lundberg, Imperial Hearst, 54-57.

13. The yellow press covered local news with vigor, too. John D. Stevens wrote of the New York Journal and New York World: "If they titillated, the yellow papers also told New Yorkers what was going on, what forces were shaping their lives. Each issue bulged with news accounts and feature stories which were little parables about life in the big city." Stevens, Sensationalism and the New York Press (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 99-100.

14. John H. Holmes, "The New Journalism and the Old," Munsey'ss Magazine (April 1897): 78. Holmes, then the editor of the Boston Herald, wrote: "Another feature characteristic of the enew [yellow] journalism's is the liberality with which its promoters expend money in the furtherance of their aims. . . . Many journalists conceive great undertakings, but refrain from executing them on account of the expense involved. The enew journalist's is not troubled with hesitation on that score. Like the general who orders guns to be trained in position where effective service can be rendered, he does not stop to count the cost." Munsey'ss returned to this theme a few years later, stating that "when all is said and done, the fact remains that the eyellow journals's are the progressive newspapers, those which spend the largest sums to get the latest and best news and to present it most attractively and forcefully." See Hartley Davis, "The Journalism of New York," Munsey'ss Magazine 24, 2 (November 1900): 233.

15. "Just One Small Fact," New York Journal (21 January 1902): 14.

16. "Truth's about the Old Journalism," New York Journal (2 February 1897): 6. "Old journalism" was the Journal'ss dismissive term for newspapers also known as "conservative." They included the New York Sun of Charles A. Dana. "New journalism" was a precursor term for "yellow journalism."

17. "Full Text of the Venezuelan Treaty: Final Draft of the Arbitration Now Published for the First Time," New York Journal (6 December 1896): 1. The Journal congratulated itself for what it called "one of the most notable achievements of journalism in recent years." See "The Venezuelan Treaty," New York Journal (7 December 1896): 6.

18. "First Publication of Paris Protocols and Peace Treaty: The Journal Makes Public the Private Documents Recording the Proceedings of the Peace Commission," New York Journal (1 January 1899): 25.

19. "Extraordinary Example," Fourth Estate (24 November 1898): 4. For other occasions when Fourth Estate commended the Journal'ss enterprise, see "The Fiercest of Fights," Fourth Estate (25 March 1897): 6; "Enterprise Tells: The New York Journal'ss Notable Achievements," Fourth Estate (27 October 1900): 3; and "Print the News at Any Cost," Fourth Estate (8 June 1901): 8.

20. The Journal also inveighed against the disruption created by the reconstruction of water and sewer mains along New York City'ss Fifth Avenue in 1897. The newspaper'ss principal target was Charles Collis, the city'ss public works commissioner, whom the Journal assailed for his "wicked negligence." See "Good Work Accomplished by the Journal in the Public Interest," New York Journal (2 October 1897): 3.

21. Ice [rust Shareholders: Van Wyck, 8,000 Shares! Carroll, 5,000 Shares!" New York Journal (15 May 1900): 1. John F. Carroll was a Tammany Hall leader.

22. "Put an End to the Criminal Extortion of the Ice Trust," New York Journal (8 May 1900): 1.

23. See "Van Wyck in Maine with Ice Trust Man," New York Journal (4 May 1900): 4, and "Mayor Van Wyck Sees Ice Kings of Maine," (6 May 1900): 1. Van Wyck would not say why he was visiting the Ice Trust properties, reticence that no doubt fueled the Journal'ss suspicions.

24. "Van Wyck Inspects Properties of Ice Trust," New York Journal (5 May 1900): 1.

25. See, for example, "The Journal to Democrats," New York Journal (28 October 1897): 8, and "Great Triumph for Democrats," New York Journal (3 November 1897): 1.

26. Sydney Brooks, "The American Yellow Press," Fortnightly Review 96 (December 1911): 1136-1137.

27. For a discussion of the Journal'ss use of injunctions to thwart what it called "giveaways" and "grabs" by powerful corporations, see "The Development of a New Idea in Journalism," New York Journal (3 October 1897): 38-39.

28. Hearst was twice elected early in the twentieth century to Congress from a New York City district, but failed in subsequent bids to win the presidency of the United States, the governorship of New York, and the mayoralty of New York City.

29. "Comment," Harper'ss Weekly (20 October 1906). Hearst was running for New York governor at the time. The commentary paraphrased remarks by Hearst's opponent in the gubernatorial campaign, Charles E. Hughes.

30. For a brief but revealing discussion about how Citizen Kane "has for generations suborned our perceptions" and left a "distorted portrait" of Hearst, see Harold Evans, "Press Baron'ss Progress," New York Times Book Review (2 July 2000): 7, 4.

31. The motion picture includes a scene in which Charles Kane, played by Orson Welles, receives a telegram from a correspondent with the word "there is no war in Cuba." Kane'ss reply: "You provide the prose poems. I'sll provide the war."

32. See, for example, Gene Wiggins, "Sensationally Yellow!" in Lloyd Chiasson Jr., ed., Three Centuries of American Media (Englewood, CO: Morton Publishing Company, 1999): 155.

33. See "Wise Limitations of the War Power," New York Tribune (18 February 1897), 6.

34. Will Irwin, "The American Newspaper: The Spread and Decline of Yellow Journalism," reprinted in Will Irwin, The American Newspaper (Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1969).

35. Edwin A. Grozier, the Boston Post'ss editor and publisher, conceded that the practice of placing prominent advertising on the front pages gave the city'ss press a "somewhat provincial" appearance. Cited in "Front Page Advertising," Fourth Estate (8 February 1902): 10.

36. Fourth Estate quoted James Creelman, formerly a correspondent for the New York Journal and the New York World, as saying in 1902 that the difficulty for people who sought "to seriously deal with yellow journalism, rather than approach it in a spirit of levity or wanton malice. . . is the lack of definition of yellow journalism acceptable to both sides in the debate. See "Strong Features of the eYellow Journals," Fourth Estate (3 May 1902): 8.

37. Cited in "Hearst Defends So-called Yellow Journals," Fourth Estate (13 September 1902): 4. The Fourth Estate account included comments by Hearst that had appeared in the London Express.

38. Cited in "Yellow Journalism's Defined," Editor and Publisher (20 January 1917): 14.

39. "Fall of Yellow Journalism," New York Press (28 March 1897): 6. The Press editorial was written during a well-publicized boycott of the Journal and World by clubs, social organizations, and reading rooms in metropolitan New York. The boycott dissolved in failure a few months after the Press predicted in the editorial of 28 March 1897 that yellow journalism would soon "practically disappear from newsstands. Goodbye to it, and no regrets!"

40. Brooks, "The American Yellow Press," 1131.

41. Delos F. Wilcox, "The American Newspaper: A Study in Social Psychology," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 16 (July 1900):56-92.

42.Wilcox for the most part drew his conclusions by examining only one issue of each of the 147 newspapers in his study. See Wilcox, "The American Newspaper," 78.

43. Wilcox, "The American Newspaper," 77.

44. Wilcox, "The American Newspaper," 77. Conservative newspapers, Wilcox said, were characterized by an emphasis on political and business news, letters and exchange material, and "miscellaneous advertisements."

45. Cited in American Journalism From the Practical Side (New York: Holmes Publishing Company, 1897), 314. Emphasis added.

46. The typographic flamboyance of yellow journalism was noted in many contemporaneous accounts. For example, Hartley Davis wrote in Munsey'ss Magazine in 1900: "The presentation or eplaying up's of news is one of the important features of modern journalism in New York. It is the distinguishing mark of the so-called eyellow journalism,'s because eyellow journalism's consists principally of huge head lines of a startling nature, big and striking illustrations, and heavily leaded type in which the facts are presented in the most interesting style." Davis, "The Journalism of New York," 220-221. See also, Holmes, "The New Journalism and the Old," 77-78.

47. Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism: A History: 1690-1960, 3d ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1962), 539.

48. Mott, American Journalism, 539.

49. Molt, American Journalism, 539. Molt noted that his criteria contained the "germs of newspaper techniques which are certainly defensible and which have since been developed into general and respectable features."

50. These features were the central elements of a content analysis discussed in Chapter Five.

51. See, among many other examples, "Remington and Davis Tell of Spanish Cruelty," New York Journal (2 February 1897): 1. The front page was almost entirely devoted to a sketch by Frederic Remington to illustrate a dispatch by Richard Harding Davis about a Cuban rebel'ss execution by Spanish firing squad.

52. See, for example, Sharyn Wizda, "Breathing Life into Newsprint," American Journalism Review (November 1999): 49-50, and Michael Kelly, "The Know-Nothing Media," Washington Post (10 November 1999): A39. Kelly'ss characterization was especially harsh: "Reporters like to picture themselves as independent thinkers. In truth, with the exception of 13-year-old girls, there is no social subspecies more slavish to fashion, more terrified of originality and more devoted to group-think."

53. Two New Orleans newspapers editors were reported to have shot and badly wounded each other in 1899 in a dispute arising from publication of a cartoon depicting one of them as a dog on a leash. See "Editors Shoot Each Other," Fourth Estate (12 October 1899): 4.

54. Frederic G. Bonfils and Harry H. Tannem, owners and editors of the Denver Evening Post, were shot and wounded in their offices by a lawyer in 1900.Both men recovered from their wounds. See "Assassin Visits the Post," Denver Evening Post (13 January 1900): 1.

55. The exchange of insults sometimes led to blows, as in Clinton, IL, in 1903, when rival editors brawled in public. See "Editors Come to Blows," Fourth Estate (20 June 1903): 3.

56. See "Fiercest of Fights." The Fourth Estate editorial deplored the brick-bats and said of the Journal-World enmity: "When two newspapers find their time chiefly occupied in exaggeration of one another'ss faults, it is then time to consider whether journalism is doing justice to its high estate."

57. There were exceptions, however. Edwin A. Grozier, editor and publisher of the Boston Post, insisted that no employee speak badly of competing newspapers. See untitled editorial page comment, Fourth Estate (11 April 1895): 6. By 1905, newspapers generally were less inclined to exchange insults and brickbats in print. See "Decline of Bad Temper," Fourth Estate (8 April 1905): 6. The Fourth Estate comment said: "Close observers have remarked with pleasure the decline of bitterness and personal attack in newspaper controversies. Of course, the controversies go on, but the days when one editor could not differ with another without calling him names are over."

58. "Seeing Nonexistent Things," Washington Post (18 June 1899): 6. The Post was referring to the Times's opinion (mistaken, as it turned out) that the appeal of William Jennings Bryan as a Democratic presidential candidate was fading. Bryan was the party'ss presidential nominee in 1896 and in 1900.

59. For example, Fourth Estate described the dawn of the twentieth century as "these days of rush and hurry." See "The Twentieth Century," Fourth Estate (5 January 1901): 8. The trade journal noted on another occasion that "society hurries because it wants to hurry, wants to do things quickly and get them out of the way; and the railroads and the telegraphs have been called into existence to meet its need." See "Modern Journalism," Fourth Estate (2 August 1900): 14.

60. The extension of U.S. influence to Asia, it has been argued, was a largely unintended consequence of the Spanish-American War. For a brief but persuasive discussion on this topic, see Ivan Musicant, Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War and the Dawn of the American Century (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1998), 590-591.

61. "Table 80- Population 1900, 1890, and 1880," Abstract of the Twelfth Census 1900 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1902), 100.

62. Nell Irvin Painter, Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919 (New York: Norton, 1987), xxxiv.

63. Fourth Estate referred to the late nineteenth century as "this remarkable time of transition, transformation and triumph." See "A Look at the Future," Fourth Estate (18 July 1895): 6. The trade publication declared: "Modes of locomotion and of living are changing, and man has become a nobler animal, with abilities that seem supernatural and ambitions almost too great for attainment."

64. David A. Curtis, "Yellow Journalism," The Journalist 23, 1 (23 April 1898): 19.

65. "The Century'ss Place in History," Cincinnati Times-Star (1 January 1900):4.

66. W. Joseph Campbell, "One of the Fine Figures in American Journalism's: A Closer Look at Josephus Daniels of the Raleigh News & Observer," American Journalism 16,4 (Fall 1999): 37-56.

67. The Journal was not just a victim of intolerance, however. It campaigned vigorously against Chinese immigration early in the twentieth century, asserting: "The Chinaman remains always a Chinaman. He cannot, like other foreigners, be made over into an American. . . . We have one race problem [in] the South. Shall we deliberately invite another to harass us and our posterity?" "Keep Out the Chinese!" New York Journal (29 January 1902): 16.

68. Innovations in journalistic practice have tended to come gradually rather than dramatically and abruptly. Moreover, as John Stevens noted: "It is tempting to overstate the originality of Joseph Pulitzer'ss contributions to journalism. The truth is that he invented nothing, but by adapting and demonstrating so many techniques he set new standards for the business. Certainly he was not the first to exploit sensational news or to gear content to women." Stevens1 Sensationalism and the New York Press, 68.

69. See Brooks, "The American Yellow Press," 1130.

70. "The Cost of a Big Daily," Fourth Estate (30 November 1901): 12.

71. Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1961), 13.

72. Fourth Estate noted in 1897 that a "distinct passion for half-tones has been developed during the past few weeks throughout the country." See "Note and Comment," Fourth Estate (11 March 1897): 7. A little more than a year later, Fourth Estate declared it "interesting to note the extraordinary proportions which the pictures are attaining in the daily newspapers." See "War News Rapidly Developing Color Printing," Fourth Estate (28 April 1898): 1. The trade publication had credited the New York Tribune with "a novelty in newspaper accomplishments" in making use on 21 January 1897 of a half-tone photograph of U.S. Senator Thomas Platt. See "Half-tones for Perfecting Presses," Fourth Estate (28 January 1897): 6. However, two newspapers in Minnesota claimed to have used halftones much earlier, prompting Fourth Estate to ask: "Who Holds the Half-tone Record on Fast Presses?" Fourth Estate (11 February 1897): 7. The two newspapers were the Minneapolis Times and the St. Paul Dispatch.

73. Holmes, "The New Journalism and the Old," 78. The art department, Holmes wrote in 1897, "is now as much a portion of a newspaper outfit as are the presses themselves. Every event has to be set off with ecuts,'s the more numerous and the more startling the better."

74. The enthusiasm for half-tones in the late 1890s was well described by Bradford Merrill, the World'ss managing editor, who observed in a letter to Pulitzer in 1899: "The tendency is to use half-tones and actual photographs in all editions, and the improvement in process is working three important results: First, it gives absolute accuracy; second, it saves space by making the pictures small; and last but not least, the tendency will be greatly to reduce expenses because photographers are cheaper than draughtsmen." Merrill, letter to Joseph Pulitzer, 13 June 1899, New York World papers, 1899 file, Butler Library, Columbia University.

75. The price fell to less than two cents a pound in 1896. See "Below Two Cents," Fourth Estate (8 October 1896): 1.

76. See "Newspapers and Headlines," Fourth Estate (6 October 1898): 4.

77. See "The Extinction of Newspapers," Scribner'ss Magazine 32 (October 1902): 507-508. The article noted: "It is the cheapness of the paper that makes it possible for the publisher of a metropolitan journal to put 150 tons of ewood-pulp's into a single Sunday issue" (508).

78. During the Spanish-American War, the Journal claimed daily sales of as many as 1.6 million copies.

79. "A New Time Saver," Fourth Estate (21 December 1899): 7.

80. "Electric Typewriter," Fourth Estate (28 September 1901): 4.

81. Davis, "The Journalism of New York," 228. The emphasis on recruiting college graduates was exploitative. Fourth Estate noted in 1900: "The tendency each year seems to be to drop the high-priced, experienced men for young fellows, fresh from college, who are ready to work for just enough to pay their expenses. The number of the latter is so large that the ranks are kept full at all times." See "Journalistic Kindergarten," Fourth Estate (5 May 1900): 6.

82. See "Delivery by Automobiles," Fourth Estate (24 March 1900): 5. The article said: "The New York Journal has successfully introduced the automobile in its newspaper delivery department. The machines are heavily built in order to stand the strain of moving rapidly over rough pavements. They can carry more papers than the ordinary wagons, can be run at a high rate of speed, and seem to be admirably adapted to the hard work they are expected to do. . . . The Journal is the first of the Manhattan newspapers to adopt these admirable machines in its circulation department."

83. Davis, "The Journalism of New York," 232.

84. For a brief discussion of sports coverage in the yellow press, which credits the New York Journal as the "first to develop the modern sports section," see John Rickards Belts, "Sporting Journalism in Nineteenth-Century America," American Quarterly 5, 1 (Spring 1953): 56.

85. See Brooke Fisher, "The Newspaper Industry," Atlantic Monthly 89 (June 1902): 751.

86. Joseph E. Wisan, The Cuban Crisis as Reflected in the New York Press (1895-1898), (New York: Octagon Books, reprint edition, 1965).

87. Marcus M. Wilkerson, Public Opinion and the Spanish-American War, A Study in War Propaganda. (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1932).

88. Lundberg, Imperial Hearst, 66-82.

89. Lewis H. Lapham, "Notebook: The Consolations of Vanity," Harper'ss Magazine (December1997): 11.

90. Lapham, "Notebook," 11.

91. Similar criticism was raised about the American press at the end of the twentieth century as well. See, for example, Robert J. Haiman, Best Practices forNewspaper Journalists: A Handbook for Reporters, Editors, Photographers and Other Newspaper Professionals On How to be Fair to the Public (Arlington, VA: The Freedom Forum, 2000), 13. Haiman wrote: "There is a broad feeling in the public that newspapers not only make too many mistakes, but that they also are unwilling to correct them fully and promptly."

92. See, for example, "Can Scientists Breed Men from Monkeys?" New York Journal (22 August 1897): 13. Other yellow journals carried bizarre tales as well. See, for example, "Is Our Earth Alive-Has It a Soul?" San Francisco Examiner (25 April 1909): 18.

93. Brooks, "The American Yellow Press," 1128.

94. "The Missing Link Found Alive In Annam," New York Journal (6 December 1896): 33. Annam is in what now is central Vietnam.

95. "Is the Sun Preparing to Give Birth to a New World?" New York Journal (12 September 1897): 20-21.

96. "Pontius Pilate'ss Interview With Christ," New York Journal (7 November 1897): 17.

97. Such features probably were not taken altogether seriously by readers. Fourth Estate said that it suspected the oddities were seen as "wildly ludicrous to people of moderate sense and education." See "Past and Present Sensationalism," Fourth Estate (18 November 1897): 6.

98. Brooks, "The American Yellow Press," 1135.

99. See, for example, Molt, American Journalism