Yellow Journalism

sclements at NEO.RR.COM sclements at NEO.RR.COM
Fri Aug 2 16:01:47 UTC 2013


Of course you have free access to _The Sun_ from Chronicling America/LoC.

But don't bother, the editorial never existed.

Nicely explained on page 27 of

Sam Clements

---- "Baker wrote:
> Banks's article is available online at; her article begins on page 328.  She follows the Yellow Kid theory and specifically ascribes the term to an editorial in the Sun by Charles A. Dana.  I don't have access to the Sun from this period and haven't seen the editorial.
> John Baker
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Joel S. Berson
> Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2013 3:28 PM
> Subject: Re: Yellow Journalism
> I see that Elizabeth L. Banks is supposed to have written an article
> titled "American 'Yellow Journalism'" in _Ninteenth Century_ in April
> 1898; perhaps she has something to say about the term.  She published
> _Campaigns of Curiosity: Journalistic Adventures of an American Girl
> in London_ in 1894, but GBooks does not hit upon "yellow journalism"
> in  that edition (except in the Introduction and footnotes) or in the
> 1895 edition.
> Joel
> At 7/31/2013 07:33 PM, Baker, John wrote:
> >It is generally accepted that the term "yellow journalism" came into
> >use in or around early 1897 and derived its name from the Yellow
> >Kid, a character in the comic strip Hogan's Alley in the New York
> >World.  What, then, to make of this earlier variant on the
> >phrase?  (Spoiler alert:  I'm going to argue that the Yellow Kid's
> >role is overblown.)
> >
> >The earlier example is from the (Bangor, Maine) Whig & Courier, Oct.
> >11, 1883, at 2, col. 1 (19th Century U.S. Newspapers).  The piece is
> >too long to quote in full, so I quote selectively.
> >
> >
> >To a paragraph of ours expressing amusement that the _Commercial_
> >was cried on our streets Tuesday evening as having "A full account
> >of the Ohio election," before anybody had the slightest idea of the
> >result in that State, the Central street paper retorts by
> >characterizing us as "the old dried up and disgruntled WHIG, "the
> >muddled WHIG," etc., and says the people who bought the _Commercial_
> >"did not expect to find a complete statement of the result before
> >the votes were counted." Still, it was considered by its proprietors
> >an "enterprising" thing to have their paper hawked about the street
> >and imposed upon the public as containing a "full report" of an
> >election, "before," as itself acknowledges, "the votes were counted."
> >
> >There was nothing "old," or "dried up" about that sort of smartness,
> >and it simply suggests the wide difference that prevails between
> >some people and some other folks in regard to what is proper and
> >honest and decent in journalism.  A recent issue of the Boston
> >_Post_ furnishes so apt an illustration and so authoritative a
> >proclamation of the peculiar idea upon which the _Commercial_ is
> >conducted, that we are tempted to quote some pertinent extracts.  In
> >its editorial column, the _Post_, although a strongly Democratic
> >paper, feels compelled to plainly and vigorously denounce the
> >disgraceful, pictorial campaign pamphlet put forth by Governor
> >Butler, which it declares to be _"the vilest book that has ever been
> >openly printed in the State,"_ . . . .
> >
> >[T]he news columns of the _Post_ of Tuesday, Oct. 9, contain an
> >interview with "Hon. Joseph P. Bass, of Bangor" . . . as follows:
> >
> >"What do you think about the Governor's picture book?"
> >
> >". . . In my judgment the book will MAKE BUTLER LOTS OF VOTES.  You
> >see the case is about as it was with a big publisher down in
> >Maine.  Somebody said to him one day, 'Mr. ____, you are making a
> >big mistake; you ought to hire some first class contributors and
> >editors and get out a better class of literature.' 'Now, look here,'
> >said the publisher, 'I know more about this business than you do.  I
> >HAVE FIGURED THIS THING ALL OUT and I find that where one of my
> >patrons wants a higher toned book and a higher toned paper, 20 OF
> >PAPER.' It's just so with Butler's Tewksbury work; where one person
> >would prefer that the pictures be left out and the text amended
> >there are 20 who would say give us the whole story and along with it
> >
> >A volume of comment would not suffice to portray more clearly the
> >opinion of the _Commercial's_ manager as to the sort of literature
> >which "will sell," and his complimentary view of the intelligence
> >and taste of the public.  It is perhaps fortunate that even in this
> >age of "yellow covered" enterprise, there are some old-fashioned
> >publishers of newspapers who are not willing to put a mortgage on
> >their souls by peddling out their self-respect and manhood for
> >pennies on the public streets.>>
> >
> >Note the reference to "yellow covered books" in the quotation from
> >the Hon. Joseph P. Bass.  The Century Dictionary (1889 - 1891)
> >defines "yellow-covered literature" as "trashy or sensational
> >fiction, periodicals, etc.: in allusion to the form in which such
> >matter was formerly commonly issued."  Similarly, Webster's Revised
> >Unabridged Dictionary (1913) defines "yellow-covered literature" as
> >"cheap sensational novels and trashy magazines; -- formerly so
> >called from the usual color of their covers."
> >
> >"Yellow journalism" became an extremely popular term shortly after
> >its use in or around January 1897 and, while the 1883 example from
> >the Whig & Courier is striking for its use of "yellow-covered
> >journalism" to have the same meaning, I doubt if it played any role
> >in the success of the term.  I believe it does, however, illuminate
> >the term's history.  It seems to me that when Ervin Wardman referred
> >to "yellow-kid journalism," he was not inventing a wholly new
> >phrase, but instead making a play on words with "yellow-covered
> >literature" and the well-known Yellow Kid.  In other words, "yellow
> >journalism" is not so-called because of the Yellow Kid, but follows
> >directly from the earlier "yellow-covered" books/literature.
> >
> >
> >John Baker
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society -
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