Journalism through the 20th century and beyond


Journalism through the 20th century has evolved and shaped the way the world perceives and has influenced everyday life. From the 1900s to the present day, the press has developed into the people’s source for news.

At the beginning of the century in the 1900s, everything was practically new. Newspapers had been invented in 1690, more than 200 years prior. The radio, having been invented in 1895, was just picking up speed. Journalists and “media personalities” like Joseph Pulitzer (the Pulitzer Prize for literature), Ida Tarbell, R.F. Outcault, and the famous Nellie Bly pioneered journalism in the new century, influencing journalism today with their outspoken personality on air.

The 1920s is known as the Roaring Twenties, with popularity around flappers, jazz, and nightclubs. This was constantly reflected in tabloid journalism, which focused on celebrities, movies, radio, and other pop culture issues. Still today we have tabloid journalism, and you may know of some magazines called People or US.

Like tabloid journalism, “Yellow Journalism” had the same bad ethics and completely ignored the traditional structure of writing, with genuine research and coverage. It focused on the same content as the tabloids. More violence and sin. Both of these “fake journalism” outlets have a negative connotation because they focus on gossip and ingenuine news.

World War II was raging during the 1940s, and journalism was too. Men were off to war while the women took over their jobs, so many women were covering for men in journalism, off to the front lines to correspond. This gave many females the chance to broadcast their abilities to a wider audience, in an otherwise patriarchal world.

The 60s were somewhat extraordinary, with JFK becoming president, along with his assassination. He consumed a majority of the press content while in office. Major event coverage and reporting were discovered to have been influenced by major men in power, resulting in scandal. News releases, press conferences, and official statements were almost always made by men in power and position.

The 70s were tainted with scandal. The Pentagon Papers caused quite the fuss. Watergate was also a national obsession. Watergate is the name given to the scandal where a group broke into the national Democratic Headquarters, stealing classified information about the government. Richard Nixon was discovered to have approved this break-in, resulting in his impeachment.

The 80s brought TV, FOX, and CNN into the spotlight, representing journalism on the screen. Though with the 90s, more coverage about the Iraq War and other wars were being added to the silver screen.

The 2000s marked a new century full of excitement. When the Twin Towers were destroyed in 2001 the press was overwhelmed. Journalism became more digital with the creation of the iPhone and the WWW, producing a chance for journalists to spread their ideas to more people, faster, and more efficiently.

Present-day journalism is extremely controversial. Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate because he was outspoken about political issues, and the government didn’t feel comfortable with contradiction. The presidential election of 2016 was a substantial topic, along with the Mueller probe and Russia’s involvement in the election.

Though journalists are spreading news through writing, you can spread what you know through words and beliefs. The free press are writing to provide you with reliable information on worldwide events. And it’s especially important that they’re doing so right now.