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What criticisms could you make of the tabloid press? How would you defend them?

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Cameron Kirton Media studies "What criticisms could you make of the tabloid press? How would you defend them? Newspapers in Britain do not exist to report the news, to act as watchdogs for the public or any other of the noble things we ascribe to the newspaper industry. They are first and foremost businesses. They exist to make money. One particular genre of the British press has over several decades been able to create great profits from the newspaper industry. The tabloid newspaper; together they account for approximately 60 percent of the readers of newspapers in the U.K. However, they only make up 35 percent of the total number of daily titles in circulation within Britain. The oxford English dictionary describes a tabloid as: "a newspaper of small format giving the news in condensed form, usually with illustrated, often sensational material" Tabloid newspapers offer an alternative to the comprehensive, in-depth, analytical reporting of the broadsheet papers. Although tabloids are often referred to as the popular press they are frequently criticised by different quarters as being intrusive, sensationalised, bias, prejudiced, dumbed down and immoral. When I refer to the tabloid press, I'm referring primarily to the three popular (red top) papers; "The Sun"; "The Mirror"; and the "Daily Star". ...read more.


Rather, it is a story that entertains the public. If a newspapers primary function is of business and earning money, it's second, as regards to the tabloid press, is to entertain its readers. This enables the tabloids to distort the term " a story of public interest" into " a story that is of public entertainment". A tabloid can then justify it's reporting by saying that it's contents is what the British public want to read. This is backed up by figures supplied by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. (Period January to June 2000) "The sun" has a circulation of 3,586,803 compared with "the telegraph" which has 722,642. This shows that the leading tabloid has almost a 5 times greater circulation figure than that of the leading broadsheet. "I see it (tabloids) as a branch of showbiz. It recognised for the first time the need to entertain the reading public. The front pages even look entertaining, rather like the front of a theatre, all stars and bright lights beckoning you inside. There's so much glitz and razzmatazz" (David banks, former employee of "the sun") In pandering for the represented majority a tabloid can and often will exploit it's readers prejudices; calling the French "frogs", referring to the Germans as the "Hun" and talking about asylum seekers as "costing the BRITISH tax payer". ...read more.


However in doing this some women's groups say that in issuing just one of the pictures the tabloids have set back women's rights and the way women are viewed in society at least one hundred years. However, this has not translated into the readership figures. The average number of men and women reading tabloid papers in 1994 according to figures from the coverage and profile demographic analysis were men 58% and women 42%. "We acknowledge what many journalists were anxious to forget - that the basic interests of the human race are not in politics, philosophy or economics, but in things like food and money, sex and crime, football and television. But we did not deal with these things to the exclusion of all others...we tried ceaselessly to make a newspaper, which mattered. A newspaper that got it first, and got it right. A newspaper for people not for Fleet Street. (Larry lamb, former editor of the sun) I believe that tabloid papers perform a much needed service in eneter4taining, and bringing news in away that makes it easily understood to people who might otherwise not encounter the news. Their tactics in reporting their stories can sometimes be questionable and some might say immoral. But we need to ask ourselves whether or not the ends justify the means. It's down to the individual readers to decide that for themselves. ...read more.

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