I need a hero: a study of the power of the myth and yellow journalism newspaper coverage of the events prior to the Spanish-American war

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Authors
Sipes, Sandra C.
Advisors
Dooley, Patricia L.
Issue Date
2006-07
Type
Thesis
Keywords
Textual analysis , Cultural myths , Yellow press , Spanish-American War, 1898 , Journalism
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Abstract

Like most wars, the Spanish-American War had its heroes: the heroes who rescued Cuban prisoner Evangelina Cisneros, the heroes who gave aid to starving, suffering Cubans, and the heroes who investigated the possibility of a sinister element in the mysterious explosion of the battleship Maine. Even the yellow press could be construed as a hero since its leaders spared no expense in sending reporters to Cuba to capture the events leading up to the Spanish-American War for the American public. Designed to explore the hero and the heroic in journalistic coverage of war, this thesis involved qualitative textual analysis of front-page newspaper stories published in New York City during the Spanish-American War. Using Joseph Campbell's power of the myth and the hero as a framework, this thesis explores three major themes: 1) the story of Evangelina Cisneros, 2) the desperate situation of the Cuban people, and 3) the sinking of the battleship Maine. The following research questions are explored: What events in the nine-month period leading up to the war call for heroic action? Who were the heroes according to the yellow newspapers of Hearst and Pulitzer? How did these yellow newspaper stories mirror Campbell's concept of the mythic hero and his/her heroic journey? The analysis shows that these articles answered the human need for excitement, for drama, for a hero, and the need to be a hero.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Elliott School of Communication.
"July 2006."
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 60-64)
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