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Yellow journalism is a type of journalistic practice, while a muckraker is a type of journalist. The former downplayed the realities of an event and instead included only details of pith and interest, making for better headlines, but rather inaccurate stories. Many of William Randolph Hurst's publications were associated with the yellow press. It had its rise during the Spanish-American War, when newsmen embellished every detail of conflict and battle, occasionally making stories up altogether. Frank Luther Mott described yellow journalism with these 5 characteristics:

1. scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news

2. lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings

3. use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudo-science, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts

4. emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic strips (which is now normal in the U.S.)

5. dramatic sympathy with the "underdog" against the system.

A muckraker, usually a journalist associated with the progressive movement, sought to expose corruption in all its forms. Their works are usually urban oriented, and could span anything from government scandal to the wretched conditions in the factories of the day. Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell, and Upton Sinclare are some rather popular muckrakers, while McClure's, Cosmopolitan, and the Independent were publications often associated with muckraker writing. This movement predates that of yellow journalism.

Yours truly,

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13y ago
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2mo ago

Muckraking aims to expose corruption and social issues through investigative journalism, while yellow journalism prioritizes sensationalism and exaggeration to attract readers. Muckraking seeks social reform, whereas yellow journalism focuses on selling newspapers through scandal and sensationalism.

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11y ago

The Penny Press, which began around the early 1830s, was originally envisioned as a way to make newspapers more affordable. Some historians credit Benjamin Day with the idea and the implementation of it. He understood that poor and working people could not afford the higher-priced editions, so offering a newspaper for a penny was a brilliant strategy and it encouraged more people to buy a copy, where they did not buy it before. The problem was that working class readers were not as as educated (this was not the era when many people went to college; large numbers had perhaps a 6th grade education, in fact) and wanted to read shorter, more exciting articles. This led to more illustrations, Cartoons, and even to some sensationalism. Not all penny papers succumbed to becoming like today's tabloids; some continued to be understandable and easy to read, but still had facts. However, many others did make use of sensationalism, in order to compete.

On the other hand, Yellow Journalism was a style of reporting and it had nothing to do with the price of the paper, nor was it necessarily aimed at uneducated people (although many of them were undoubtedly fooled by it). Yellow journalism was intended to scare the public (or stir up other emotions, like anger at immigrants, for example). It was often lacking in facts, and featured huge, frightening headlines, threatening language that made it seem something terrible was about to happen, and it often contained misinformation, spread by someone with an agenda (a government official, a corporation, someone powerful who would benefit from stirring up public outrage over an issue). Many historians believe the publisher William Randolph Hearst used this kind of "journalism" to encourage the US to enter the Spanish-American war. It was also used to make people afraid of immigrants and to oppose allowing them to come to America.

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Q: What is the difference between muckraking and yellow journalism?
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