Understanding Media Studies
Tabloid Press and Popular Subversion
In an information booming age nowadays, it is no doubt that we are all bounded by ‘news’ everyday. The infiltration of news is so deep inside our life which we can get the news information almost everywhere: television, radio, newspaper, and internet. Although we do have a wide range of choice to seek information now, large group of people are still heavily rely on the source from the printed press. Therefore it is obvious that press, especially newspaper are playing a dominant role in our daily life. However, with changing taste and interest of the newspaper readers, this market-driven press industry are ...view middle of the document...
The paper ends with suggesting the ideal perceived role of tabloid in future.
Definition and Feature of Tabloid
‘Tabloid’ is always described as an opposition of ‘mainstream’ newspaper which the main features of these two kinds of press is very different; they are different in various dimensions, for example their size, tone, use of photo and headline, style, content and societal function. As a result, it is difficult to find any intersection among these two kinds of press.
The easiest and the commonest way to differentiate tabloid from mainstream newspaper is to look at the size of it, since the word ‘tabloid’ refers to a particular size and shape of a newspaper, but the mainstream newspaper is a broadsheet which big in size. Of course, only this difference is not influential enough to make the presence of tabloid to be a controversial topic among different media and sociology scholars (Fiske, 1992; Gripsrud, 2000; Sparks, 2000). Gripsrud (1992, cited by Gripsrud, 2000) had argued that the main characteristic to distinguish popular journalism from mainstream newspaper is tabloid’s sensational and personalization style; on the other hand, the mainstream newspaper have their professional codes of practice: impartial, balanced and objective; besides, they are not only ‘big’ in their size, but also ‘big’ in their idea. Because of such contradictory feature, the overwhelming debate about tabloid begins with its sensational and skeptical style and the emergent of private life into the press’s content.
Style and Content
In order to make the reported issue in press to be ‘vividly’ and visually sensational, tabloid use large pictures and sensationalist headings (Gripsrud, 2000; Sparks, 2000). And also because of the emphasis of the entertainment aspect of tabloid, it also has simple layout with striking graphics and abundant color (Paletz, 1998, cited in Gripsrud, 2000), though Paletz was describing the parameters for popular news, the tabloid actually do share this characteristics with an addition of using long-lens cameras. Yet, such layout and use of pictorial material is unlikely to be used in the serious, official and impersonal mainstream newspaper.
The style and tone of tabloid as pointed out previously is: “sensational, sometimes skeptical, sometimes moralistic earnest” (Fiske, 1999). In the same token, it means the tabloid wants to shock the aesthetics, and shake the audience with sensationalism. In a deeper sense, it seldom attempts to find out the distinction between the factual and the fictional; this act thus lead to the contradiction of the real and fake remain unresolved and the conversation about such skeptical issues can be opened up continuously (Fiske, 1999). More to this, according to Gripsrud’s idea, in order to fit the “fast thinkers” style of tabloid readers, the length of text is short, and thus the tabloid press can only treat the selected topics superficially. This practice resulted in...