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How did we get here? The Histroy of Journslism

By:Monique Marshall

 

You may recognize the names Anderson Cooper, Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters. These names became famous through the world of Journalism. These American journalist made a name for themselves by becoming TV personalities, authors and well known broadcast journalist. Katie Turner says,”Journalism has always been a way for an individual or group to communicate to the mass public.”  But before these journalist became household names there wasn't much to journalism. Journalism has a long and interesting history that brought you the journalism  you see today.

 

            In 1721 James Franklin, the older brother of Benjamin Franklin, started one of the first American newspapers called The New England Courant. At this time Benjamin Franklin was only 15 and had a desire to write for his brother's newspaper. He began submitting advice pieces under the name Silence Dogood. After 14 pieces were published and became fairly popular, people demanded to know the true identity of Silence Dogood. Due to The New England Courtant’s opposing political views, James Franklin was ultimately thrown in jail, leaving Benjamin Franklin to run the newspaper for several editions, It wasn't until the late 18th century and 19th century that journalism began to expand all America.

In the 18th and 19th century Yellow Journalism became very popular. Yellow Journalism is a type of journalism that presents  little to no legitimate facts but instead presents eye catching headlines to sensationalize stories or exaggerate. This term was coined in the 18th century during the rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. The two journalists started altering their headlines and content by adding more exaggerated and sensationalized stories. The creation of Yellow Journalism helped push for the American Spanish War. Hearst is credited for having his newspapers shift Americans opinions about the war and pushing us to take action after the sinking of the USS Maine. To this day in modern 20th and 21st century journalism the term yellow journalism is used to display disappointment in any journalism that handles news in an unprofessional manner.

With the use of the internet and televisions the importance of Journalism in the 21st century is becoming more widespread. “ I think some people put to much emotion in thier writing. I think it can hinder them”, says TJ Day. In this digital age modern journalism has become more popular and expressive with anyone being able to openly express their viewpoints and opinions about important issues regarding politics and society without being reprimanded. Between broadcast journalism, bloggers and online magazines etc journalism has not only affected political issues but society in general. Journalists in America have the ability to reach people in Saudi Arabia and Egypt bringing to light the Middle Eastern protest and political issues. Use of the internet in 21st century journalism has created different forms of journalism and also given journalists the power to connect with people and gather information from all over the world. Today we are informed about politics, pop culture, new discoveries in science medicine and so much more!

 

Journalism has come a long way from journalist being thrown in jail due to having a “controversial” newspaper to openly expressing themselves on several platforms. Without journalism tons of important information wouldn't even reach the public. Now with the ability of journalists to speak openly about their opinions society can be educated on a different viewpoints of an issue. The early stages of journalism and even Yellow Journalism has paved the way for the modern journalism we see and use today. “ I think journalism will focus more on pop culture in the future and less important stuff”, says TJ Day. All that's left to do is sit back and continue to watch the great changes happening in journalism.