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Yellow Journalism: Topics in Chronicling America

A guide for researching the topic of "yellow journalism” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

"UNCLE SAM.DETERMINED ..." The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), September 30, 1901, Image 4. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

With competition for newspaper readership fiercer than ever, papers including the New York World and New York Journal take to publishing catchy headlines and exaggerate the facts to draw in readers. Though other papers heavily criticize these in editorials, they still run articles from these influential publications. This new style of reporting, dubbed yellow journalism, is as sensational as it is inaccurate. The World and the Journal heavily cover revolution in Cuba and the eventual Spanish-American War. The yellow press is accused of causing the war with its reporting. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

February 1897 The New York Journal and New York World dispatch war correspondents to Cuba.
October 1, 1897 Scandal as an employee of the yellow press is caught stealing an early issue of another paper.
October 1897 The yellow press rescues Evangelina Cisneros, a Cuban prisoner who escapes to the US with the help of the New York Journal.
February 1898 The yellow press misreports on the sinking of the Maine, stirring up rumors and adding fuel to the fire calling for war with Spain.
March 19, 1898 The New York Journal continues publishing questionable information on tensions between Spain and the US, including a letter allegedly written by the former Captain General of Cuba.
May 1898 Though critical of the yellow press’ reliability, smaller local papers continue to reprint articles published in the World and Journal.
May 24, 1898 First major battle of the Spanish-American War takes place at Manila Bay.
November 29, 1898 The United States and Spain prepare to sign the Treaty of Paris, ending the Spanish-American War.
September 30, 1901 In the wake of President McKinley’s assassination, the yellow press is accused of inciting anarchy through its reporting.