Yellow journalism as many might refer to it, is journalism that is based upon sensationalism, crude exaggeration, scandal mongering, reliance on unnamed sources and unabashed self-promotion.
For many months now, I have read Andrew Mwenda’s facebook posts where he ocassionaly talks about yellow journalism in Uganda. So I made it my mission to get to know more about this fast growing vice, in a country where some journalists are paid according to the magnitude of their story capture in numbers, many have dropped all professional ethics to get news that will get them paid highly, even if it means making money at the expense of other’s human dignity and even if it means causing psychological toture to their victims. This kind of inhuman and fake journalism has become very common.
Frank Luther Mott defines yellow journalism in terms of five 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, pseudoscience, and a parade of false learning from so-
4. emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually
with comic strips.
5. dramatic sympathy with the “underdog” against the
Newspapers usually blur the facts so as to make an interesting, eye catching story. The papers aim at circulation maximisation, by indulging in circulation wars which force them to drop proper journalism. These newspapers take on journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion. Kahinda otafire refers to it as “the gutter press.”
Here, facts are dilluted so as to produce a story that the populace would love instead of giving the public the story they need to know.
The most prominent newspaper in this field is the red pepper, other papers are slowly following suit. It keeps me asking my self, do most Ugandan journalists make any research before publishing a story? I have read some papers where the headline is different from the content of the headline. This is contemptible, and I often pass by the news stand mirthlessly becausd of yellow journalism. These flimsy things people do for money can actually cost them a fortune…
Pictures below can throw more light, lest I become one of them yellow journalists.
The red pepper gains the crown…
Then this one rolling stone!
Need I say more?
What should be done? What can we do?
Sources: wikipedia, facebook.