Tabloid journalism

Tabloid journalism is a popular style of largely sensationalist journalism, that take its name from the format: a small-sized newspaper (half broadsheet).[1] But not all newspapers associated with tabloid journalism are tabloid size, and not all tabloid-size newspapers engage in tabloid journalism; in particular, since around the year 2000 many broadsheet newspapers converted to the more compact tabloid format.[citation needed] In some cases, celebrities have successfully sued for libel, demonstrating that tabloid stories have defamed them.[2]

Publications engaging in tabloid journalism are known as rag newspapers. Notable tabloid publications include the National Enquirer and Globe in North America; and the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Record, Sunday Mail, The Sun, and the former News of the World in the UK.

Tabloid journalism has changed over the last decade to more online platforms that seek to target and engage youth consumers with celebrity news and entertainment.

Supermarket tabloidsEdit

In the United States and Canada, "supermarket tabloids" are large, national versions of these tabloids, usually published weekly. They are named for their prominent placement along the supermarkets checkout lines.

In the 1960s, the National Enquirer began selling magazines in supermarkets as an alternative to newsstands, to help with their rapport with them and continue their franchise within them, they had offered to buy back unsold issues so newer more up to date ones could be displayed.[2]

These tabloids—such as The Globe and the National Enquirer—often use aggressive and usually mean-spirited tactics to sell their issues. Unlike regular tabloid-format newspapers, supermarket tabloids are distributed through the magazine distribution channel, similarly to other weekly magazines and mass-market paperback books. Leading examples include the National Enquirer, Star, Weekly World News (later reinvented as a parody of the style), and the Sun. Most major supermarket tabloids in the U.S. are published by American Media, Inc., including the National Enquirer, Star, The Globe, and National Examiner.

A major event in the history of U.S. supermarket tabloids was the successful libel lawsuit by Carol Burnett against the National Enquirer (Carol Burnett v. National Enquirer, Inc.), arising out of a false 1976 report in the National Enquirer, implying she was drunk and boisterous in a public encounter with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Though its impact is widely debated, it is generally seen as a significant turning point in the relations between celebrities and tabloid journalism, increasing the willingness of celebrities to sue for libel in the U.S., and somewhat dampening the recklessness of U.S. tabloids.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Other celebrities have attempted to sue tabloid magazines for libel and slander including Richard Simmons in 2017[9] and Phil McGraw in 2016.[8]

Tabloids may pay for stories. Besides scoops meant to be headline stories, this can be used to censor stories damaging to the paper's allies. Known as "catch and kill", tabloid newspapers may pay someone for the exclusive rights to a story, then choose not to run it.[10] Publisher American Media has been accused of burying stories embarrassing to Arnold Schwarzenegger,[11] Donald Trump,[12] and Harvey Weinstein.[13]

Red topsEdit

The term "red tops" refers to British tabloids with red mastheads, such as The Sun, the Daily Star, the Daily Mirror, and the Daily Record.[14]

Modern tabloid journalismEdit

In the last decade, a lot of tabloid journalism and news production has changed mediums to online formats due to the transition to digital media.[15] This change is to keep up with the era of digital media and allow for increased accessibility of readers. With a steady decline in paid newspapers,[15] the gap has been filled by expected free daily articles, mostly in the tabloid format. Tabloid readers are often youth and studies show that consumers of tabloids are on average less educated.[15] A problem with tabloid journalism is that often it can be inaccurate news[16] and the misrepresentation of individuals and situations.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Tabloid journalism - Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. ^ a b "Dr. Phil and wife Robin sue the National Enquirer for $250 million, citing defamation". The Washington Post. July 14, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  3. ^ Scott, Vernon (March 22, 1981). "Carol Burnett launches trial balloon". United Press International. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  4. ^ Lindsey, Robert (March 27, 1981). "Carol Burnett given 1.6 million in suit against National Enquirer". The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  5. ^ "How the Supermarket Tabloids Stay Out of Court", January 4, 1991, The New York Times, retrieved January 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Langberg, Barry (August 12, 1991). "Tabloids' Lies Abuse the First Amendment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 1, 2017. (Opinion essay by libel attorney for Carol Burnett and others)
  7. ^ Beam, Alex (August 1999). "Tabloid Law". The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Andrews, Travis M. (July 14, 2016). "Dr. Phil and wife Robin sue the National Enquirer for $250 million, citing defamation". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  9. ^ "Richard Simmons v the National Enquirer". Retrieved November 1, 2017 – via Scribd.
  10. ^ Sullivan, Margaret (November 5, 2016). "'Catch and kill' at National Enquirer gives media one last black eye before election". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  11. ^ Nicholas, Peter; Hall, Carla (August 12, 2005). "Tabloid's Deal With Woman Shielded Schwarzenegger". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  12. ^ Palazzolo, Joe; Rothfield, Michael; Alpert, Lukas (November 4, 2016). "National Enquirer Shielded Donald Trump From Playboy Model's Affair Allegation". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Twohey, Megan; Kantor, Jodi; Dominus, Susan; Rutenberg, Jim; Eder, Steve (December 6, 2017). "Weinstein's Complicity Machine". The New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  14. ^ Stephen Brook (December 6, 2007). "Red-tops on the rise, survey shows". The Guardian. London. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  15. ^ a b c Bastos, Marco T. (2016-11-18), "Digital Journalism And Tabloid Journalism", in Franklin, Bob; Eldridge, Scott A. (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies (PDF) (1 ed.), Routledge, pp. 217–225, doi:10.4324/9781315713793-22, ISBN 978-1-315-71379-3
  16. ^ Popović, Virginia; Popović, Predrag (December 2014). "The Twenty-First Century, the Reign of Tabloid Journalism". Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 163: 12–18. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.12.280.


  • Martin Conboy (2006). Tabloid Britain: Constructing a Community Through Language. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-35553-7.
  • Kevin Glynn (2000). Tabloid Culture: Trash Taste, Popular Power, and the Transformation of American Television. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-2550-0.
  • Paula E. Morton (2009). Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture. University Press of Florida. ISBN 978-0-8130-3364-8.
  • Colin Sparks; John Tulloch (2000). Tabloid Tales: Global Debates over Media Standards. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8476-9572-0.
  • Herman Wasserman (2010). Tabloid Journalism in South Africa: True Story!. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-22211-4.
  • Barbie Zelizer, ed. (2009). The Changing Faces of Journalism: Tabloidization, Technology and Truthiness. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-77824-4.
  • Bastos, M. T. (2016). Digital Journalism And Tabloid Journalism. The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies, 217–225. doi: 10.4324/9781315713793-22
  • Popović, V., & Popović, P. (2014). The Twenty-First Century, the Reign of Tabloid Journalism. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 163, 12–18. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.12.280

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