Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why do newspapers have a sports section?

If you thought to yourself "because it brings in revenue" you'd be correct in a modern sense. But that answer is so overly generic as to be potentially meaningless, because it doesn't get to the root of the question. Why newspapers have sports sections is explained in a study done a century ago of newspapers, done by Will Irwin in his "The American Newspaper". Part 1, "The Power of the Press" explains the following:
On the other extreme, the yellow journals a few years ago, put some of their best cartoonists and cleverest writers into the sporting department. This created an artificial demand for "sporting stuff" far beyond the natural appetite of even an English-speaking people. That demand became so insistent that the other newspapers of all shades of opinion were forced to meet it; and now no newspaper is so conservative and intellectual as not to have a sporting page.

So to be specific, newspapers have sports sections because of propaganda. In one word. Because of yellow journalists. You could enlarge this into a phrase: newspapers have sports sections because they manipulate their readers. Only in the most generic of all senses can it be stated that newspapers have sports sections to make money. They essentially expanded their product line through the use of propaganda.

I wrote a larger posting about what's contained in the first part of this study yesterday, here, where other ways that newspapers manipulate people is illustrated, and he's not talking solely about the editorial pages where opinion rules.

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