Pivotal moments of a decisive year in American journalism
January 1 The new year is celebrated at midnight in New York City with the traditional pealing of the chimes at Trinity Church on lower Broadway.
January 21 The New York Tribune publishes on its front page a halftone photograph of Thomas Platt, New York's U.S. Senator-elect—demonstrating that the halftone process can be applied on the high-speed web perfecting presses at large-circulation newspapers. The Tribune's portrait “startled New York ” journalism, says the trade journal Fourth Estate.
January 31 The epithet “yellow journalism” first appears in print, in a small headline near the bottom of page six of the New York Press
February 2 The New York Journal publishes Richard Harding Davis' evocative, detail-rich dispatch about the firing-squad execution of a twenty-year-old Cuban who had joined the island wide rebellion against Spanish rule. Davis' report stands as the finest example of foreign correspondence in American journalism in 1897.
February 4 Trustees of the Newark Free Public Library in New Jersey vote to remove the New York Journal and the New York World from its reading room—the opening move in a bitter campaign to ban the leading exemplars of yellow journalism from libraries, social clubs, and reading rooms in metropolitan New York.
February 5 Sylvester Scovel, a war correspondent for the New York World, is arrested and jailed in Sancti Spíritus, Cuba. He is held on four counts, including communicating with the Cuban insurgents and traveling with forged papers. The World declares Scovel to be “in imminent danger of butchery.”
February 10

Without fanfare, the New York Times places its slogan, “All the News That's Fit to Print,” in the upper left corner of its front page. The slogan will appear there permanently.

February 17 The annual meeting of the American Newspaper Publishers' Association is convened at the Hoffman House in New York City.
February 18 The World publishes a dispatch written by Sylvester Scovel and smuggled from his jail cell in Cuba. In it, Scovel calls himself a “prisoner of war.” In fact, the conditions of Scovel's detention border on the luxurious.
March 4 William McKinley is sworn in as the twenty-fifth U.S. president, ushering in a prolonged period of Republican domination of national politics. McKinley's is the first U.S. presidential inauguration to be captured on film.
March 10 The World reports that Sylvester Scovel is to released without trial and will soon leave Cuba for the United States. The newspaper' s high-profile efforts to win his freedom have helped make Scovel the best-known journalist in America.
March 17 Robert Fitzsimmons defeats James Corbett in a much-anticipated heavyweight boxing match in Nevada. The fight is staged with the motion-picture camera in mind. Beginning in May, flickering footage of the bout is shown in theaters across the country, attracting large audiences.
April 19 The first Boston Marathon is run, and won by John J. McDermott of the Pastime Athletic Club in New York.
April 22 First issue of the Yiddish-language daily newspaper, Forverts, appears. The newspaper is still published, as a weekly, in English and Yiddish.
June 10 The Chicago Tribune marks its fiftieth anniversary and reports vigorous demand for its “golden jubilee” souvenir edition.
June 22 Queen Victoria's silver jubilee is celebrated in London. In his dispatch to the New York Journal, Mark Twain says the event was “a spectacle for the kodak [camera], not the pen.”
June 27

A man's headless torso washes up in the East River in New York. Other body parts are found in the river on following days, creating a lurid murder mystery that grips New York.

July 3 The New York Journal solves the East River murder mystery, identifying the victim as William Guldensuppe and leading authorities to the chief suspects in the crime. The newspaper later declares: “But for the Journal, the arm of the law would have been palsied.”
July 4

The New York Times publishes in its Sunday magazine thirty-seven official half-tone photographs of Victoria's silver jubilee in London. The Times says anyone who “looks over these pictures will really see more of the jubilee than any one visitor could have seen, and more than the Queen herself could possibly have witnessed.” Meanwhile, the New York Journal publishes details of labor journalist Eva McDonald Valesh's interview with President McKinley.

July 17 The steamer Portland arrives in Seattle carrying sixty-eight passengers and a ton of gold from Canada's subartic Klondike region. The vessel's arrival helps ignite a continent-wide a stampede for the Klondike's goldfields.
July 20 Guglielmo Marconi establishes the Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company Ltd., near London. It is the world's first electronic communications wireless company.
August 17

The New York Journal discloses that a young Cuban woman, Evangelina Cosío y Cisneros, has been imprisoned more than a year in Havana's wretched Casa de Recogidas. The Journal's calls her the “Cuban Girl Martyr” and begins a noisy but ultimately unsuccessful petition drive to force Spain to set her free.

August 28 Karl Decker, a Washington-based reporter for the Journal, arrives in Havana on a secret mission to free Cisneros and send her to the United States.
August 29

The first Zionist Congress is convened in Basel, Switzerland. The principal organizer, Theodor Herzl, soon after confides to his diary: “At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years and certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.”

August 31 Six years after applying, Thomas Edison receives a patent for the kinetograph, a motion-picture camera.
September 1 The first section of America's first subway system opens in Boston. Enthusiastic passengers on the first trolley car to enter the subterranean tunnel yell themselves “to the verge of apoplexy,” according to the Boston Globe.
September 10

Nineteen protesting coal miners are shot to death by sheriff's deputies near Lattimer, Pennsylvania. The sheriff is acquitted of murder charges at a trial six months later.

September 21 The New York Sun published an editorial titled, “Is There A Santa Claus?” The commentary, written by Francis P. Church in reply to the inquiry of an eight-year-old girl, appears in the third of three columns of editorials. In time, “Is There A Santa Claus?” becomes a classic in American journalism.
October 2

The Boston Beaneaters win the National League pennant, edging the Baltimore Orioles in the tightest pennant race of the 1890s. The professional baseball season was marred by frequent run-ins among players and umpires.

October 7

With help from Karl Decker and his accomplices, Evangelina Cisneros escapes from the Casa de Recogidas. She is hidden at the home of a Cuban-American banker, just a few blocks from the jail, before being smuggled aboard a passenger steamer to New York.

October 10 In headlines four lines deep, New York Journal takes credit for organizing the escape and flight of Evangelina Cisneros. It calls the jailbreak the “greatest journalistic coup of this age.” Cisneros arrives in New York City on October 13.
October 16 The Journal stages an enthusiastic outdoor reception for Cisneros, and calls the event the city's largest public reception since end of the Civil War.
October 17 Charles A. Dana, the brilliant but ill-tempered editor of the New York Sun, dies at his county home on Long Island. Dana edited the Sun for nearly thirty years and his death underscores the transitory nature of the year in journalism.
November 1

The ornate Library of Congress building is opened on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The edifice is a spectacular assertion of expanding American self-assuredness.

November 3

Sylvester Scovel arrives in Cuba, accompanied by his wife. His principal assignment for the World is to chronicle the ravages of Spain's reconcentration policy, in which Cuban non-combatants were ordered into garrison towns. Thousands of them died from malnutrition and disease.

December 12 The Katzenjammer Kids comic makes its debut in the New York Journal. It will become the longest-running newspaper comic strip.
December 23

Joseph Pulitzer, proprietor of the New York World, privately acknowledges that his archrival, the New York Journal, has become “a wonderfully able & attractive and popular paper.” Scovel of the World, in a capstone to a remarkably full and energetic year of reporting, interviews the Cuban insurgent leader, General Máximo Gómez, who reasserts his opposition to Spain's offer of limited home rule in Cuba.

December 31 The New York Journal stages a lavish New Year's Eve party to commemorate the consolidation of the five boroughs of New York City, which officially takes place January 1, 1898. Some 100,000 merry-makers defy rain and snow to make their way to lower Manhattan and celebrate what the Journal calls the “luminous starting point from which the history of the expanded New York will be dated."
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