In last Thursday’s class, as we reviewed some of your “Top New Stories,” one person asked a question that baffles so many of us: When there’s so much real news out there, why do the news media focus so much time and space on Britney Spears?
So we talked a bit about celebrity and that prominence news value, and I talked a bit about the era of Yellow Journalism and how we’ve been down this path before…and survived. (I always like to keep hope alive.)
Then the next morning, while reading the San Francisco Chronicle, I happened across a Mark Morford column that explained it all to me (at least as much as anything subtitled “Showdown! White-trash diva versus mercenary war thugs. Who rapes your spirit more?” could explain it).
In case that doesn’t do it for you, here are some online resources on Yellow Journalism:
- Wikipedia entry on Yellow Journalism, which notes it has been loosely defined as “not quite libel“
- yellowjournalism.net, a web site created by Prof. W. Joseph Campbell of American University (clearly not that Joseph Campbell!)
- a PBS web page on the Spanish-American War, which includes this web page on the role of Yellow Journalism