Joseph Pulitzer's and William Randolph Hearst's newspapers were called "yellow journalism" by rival newspapers, starting in either late 1896 or early 1897. The term "yellow journalism" was perhaps coined by the New York Press.
The New Journalism 1865-1919
1897 - Ervin Wardman was first to publish the term "yellow journalism" on Jan. 31, after he had referred to "yellow-kid journalism" on Jan. 23, and Richard Harding Davis had written about the "yellow kid school" of journalists in a Jan. 10 letter. Wardman and other editors had been critical of Hearst's pro-Bryan, pro-silver position in 1896, and of his frequent printing of women in underwear, or the "nude journalism" that was replacing the New Journalsim according to Wardman, especially the negligee picture of Anna Held in the Sept. 20, 1896, Journal, that had followed the Sep. 13 Journal article on underwear fashion. On Feb. 4, 1897, the Newark Free Library banned the Journal and World, and the boycott spread quickly to other libraries, clubs, YMCAs.
26 February 1897, The Mail and Express (New York), pg. 4, col. 2:
Freaks of Yellow Journalism
Yellow journalism, through its junior exponent in this city, has achieved another triumph which is entirely in keeping with those that have preceded it. Most of the recent and notable performances of the yellow journalism have been political in character. So is this latest one. It is nothing more or less, in fact, than a Canton dispatch, printed in ominous blackness, purportin to give a definite statement of what President McKinley will do with regard to the Cuban affair after he enters the White House.
2 March 1897, Boise (Idaho) Statesman, pg. 7, col. 1:
The New York Mail and Express gives a list of head lines in a copy of a contemporary, there being 16 relating to tragedies of one kind or another.Continuing it makes this timely comment upon the modern school of sensational journalism: "These sanguinary head lines are broken by the two-column picture of a fiend arrested for the murder of his wife at Norwalk, Conn. By some accident, a single item of news containing no homicide was found on the first page, crowded, howerer, into an unconspicuous corner. And this is the kid of literary pabulum which the reeking presses of yellow journalism are striving to force into the homes of our citizens!"
3 March 1897, New York Times, pg. 1:
The Union League Club's Library Committee to express dispproval of yellow journalism decided to drop The World and The Journal from its list of New York papers kept for the use of members, retaining only a single copy of each to provide for contingencies.
4 March 1897, New York Times, pg. 3:
VIEWS OF NEW JOURNALISM
(...) They call attention to the fact that the Directors of the Plainfield Public Library, Dec. 1, 1896, unanimously ordered the discontinuance of their subscription to one of the New York representatives of "yellow" journalism.
11 March 1897, Los Angeles Times, pg. 6 [Florida Times Union:]
This country during recent months, because of the efforts of two rival millionaire newspaper-owners in New York, working in the same field, to get the better of ecah other, has had the great exhibition of reckless, sensational journalism the world has yet seen. They call theirs the "new journalism," while by their contemporaries it is generally styled the "yellow journalism."
New York City • Media/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Tuesday, July 27, 2004 • Permalink