Essay on Yellow Journalism in India

What is Yellow Journalism? – Definition, History & Examples

Shared By: Akshi Agrawal

Meaning of Yellow Journalism

Journalism was created to disseminate news based on true events or happenings. We make important decisions based on information. But who thought that journalism would also show a phase of yellow journalism? Yellow journalism literally means presenting not much real news and poorly researched articles with catchy headlines. Information is served with exaggeration. In other words, it is a style of reporting that emphasise sensationalism over facts so that publishers can earn more money.

Characteristics of Yellow Journalism

  • headlines in huge print, often of little news
  • an inclination to rely on unverifiable/anonymous sources for gathering the information.
  • fabricated interviews, deceptive headlines, self made stories, false information.
  • Lavish usage of photos or drawings accompanying the story.

History of Yellow Journalism

This term was first coined in the late eighteenth century during the newspaper wars between America’s “New York World” owned by Joseph Pulitzer and “New York Journal” owned by Randolph Hearst. The Spanish-American War is often cited as the first ‘media war’. Firstly reporters had no sake in the war but when they realised that war could boost their business, they adopted some unethical reporting tricks.
With the purpose of increasing sales both these leading newspapers used techniques like changing the actual content by publishing false articles, adding more sensationalised stories, and increasing the use of cartoons and drawings.

The aim was to create an environment that would encourage people to buy more copies of the paper. In other words, the truth was sacrificed, a victim to profit. Misleading journalism played a crucial role in provoking the Spanish-American war.

Why is it called ‘Yellow’?

The term yellow journalism came from a popular yellow dressed cartoon character featuring in the Pulitzer’s ‘New York World’. This cartoon was named the ‘the yellow kid’. Pulitzer’s competitor Randolph Hearst copied his style by hiring the same cartoonist. In retaliation to it, Pulitzer created a second yellow kid by employing another artist. This way, it took the form of a competition between the ‘yellow kids’. From then onwards this journalistic style is called as “YELLOW JOURNALISM”

How Disinformation Spreads?

We usually hold the Internet responsible for such phenomena and often direct it towards media. Whereas, in fact it’s much more complicated than that. We all take our part in this ecosystem. It spreads through word of mouth and through digital forms of communication. For example, social media rumours, edited videos, memes etc. Most of us upload/share something controversial without confirming it’s source and reliability. Because of such type of content which has unverifiable sources the truth is often lost and it leads to the readers buying into the false articles or remain confused about the truth or actual information.

Impact of Fake News

With the number of outrageous things that occur in our daily lives, nowadays, has made ourselves in a way numb towards shock. False rumours that target specific individuals can have major consequences. Sometimes the general public believes in media so blindly that they fail to focus on the thin line difference between the actual truth and the fabricated truth.

Disadvantages of Yellow Journalism

  • racist ideas
  • fear
  • sometimes mental tension may lead to health issues
  • violence amongst people
  • political issues

How to stop Yellow Journalism?

So basically, we want that others will always make us realise the difference between what we need to know and what we want to know? But this just can’t happen. The requirement of young India is not biased information but facts. We can listen to media but should apply our own senses, and be aware of the outside world to make out the best possible conclusion. We can’t always rely on others to serve us ready-made things. Unlike animals, humans have the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. We should use our minds to avoid being trapped in the loop of disinformation.

Examples of Yellow Journalism in India

  • Selfie death of the student of National Law University, Jodhpur.
  • The JNU controversy went around exaggerating the facts, false and bias reporting. Some media houses crushed the moral and ethical grounds of reporting.
  • Violence at Jamia MIlia Islamia in relation to CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act )2019
  • Live coverage of the Taj Mumbai attack at the cost of national security issues.

As we can see, yellow journalism attracts attention, but, it typically doesn’t have much substance.

Conclusion: Yellow Journalism Essay

For media, bringing anything or everything to limelight costs the same, but we as readers should behave rationally. The fact cannot be denied that everything has both positives and negatives. After confronting the dark side of media, we should keep a general sense and awareness of what we are reading. Any news we come across shouldn’t be forwarded without proper consideration. Making a mountain out of a molehill can be harmful to others.


Disseminateto communicate or publicize information
Exaggeration  represents something as better or worse than it really is
Sensationalism intended to provoke public interest or excitement,
Emphasiseto Stress Upon
Provoking try to make a person or an animal angry
Racistshowing discrimination against people of other races

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