Telling True and False Apart: Yellow Journalism and Modern Day Fake News



Fake news is all around us. Especially in an age of digital media, it can be easy to believe things that are exaggerated or aren’t true. However, if you develop methods to find reputable sources and accurate news, you will be much better off as you browse the internet.

Yellow journalism is a type of news that became popular in the late 1800’s. It is also known under the names satire, propaganda, biased articles, or sensationalizing stories. Yellow journalism includes vivid colors, cartoons, and tells a story from the side of the underdog in a situation.

Today, we still experience yellow journalism, yet it’s not necessarily called the same thing it was more than 100 years ago. “Clickbait”, “fake news”, and much more are common names for yellow journalism in today’s news. Some online sites have a reputation for reporting accurate and unbiased stories, and it’s best to try to find your favorite reputable websites as a go-to source.

Photo By: Avery Pollock

On the afternoon of July 11, 2019, Keith Patterson, Associate Director in the Library of Congress TPS, met with a group of students to teach them about yellow journalism. He advises the kids to “Read beyond headlines” in regard to news sources today. Lots of false articles will have big, flashy, headlines that attract audiences; but it is important to check that what you’re reading is true.

Once you find a trustworthy source of information, it’s a bit easier to identify true or fake in the future; but always be alert and keep an eye out for stories that seem very biased or really exaggerated, because it can be easy for publishers to camouflage news to seem interesting in order to get more clicks.