JOURNALISM - Past, Present and Future

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Joseph Pulitzer vs. William Randolph Hearst in The War of Headlines News:

Students who study the history of American news media learn about the roots of Yellow Journalism-

Before the Spanish-American War, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer fought their professional battle for readers in New York City. By 1896, when W R Hearst arrived in NYC to run his newspaper, The New York Journal, Pulitzer was enjoying great financial success by employing sensational reporting techniques that provided mass appeal. Hearst, not to be outdone, adopted similar tactics of yellow journalism to increase the circulation of his newspaper in an attempt to beat Pulitzer at his own game. In another aggressive tact, Hearst lured away journalists from Pulitzer's New York World by offering them unprecedented salaries. He also enticed some of the most talented nationally-known artists, cartoonists and writers, including Mark Twain to bolster readership of the Journal. But even these costly efforts did not afford him the success he was seeking.

Hearst and Pulitzer perceived the war with Spain as the perfect subject matter to exploit. American patriotism fever and the interest with developments in Cuba. Hearst paid to focus on the war, going so far as to personally edit all of the related stories. Pulitzer decided that his journalists should stretch and distort their news coverage. He chose to practice if it bleeds it leads. Hearst and Pulitzer both dispatched journalists to cover the Cuban revolution and the ensuing war. The reports that came back were re-written into stories that played upon the fears and loyalties of the Americans.