A tabloid is often a weekly or semi-weekly alternative newspaper that focuses on local interest stories and entertainment, sometimes distributed free of charge, or a newspaper that tends to emphasize sensational crime stories, gossip columns repeating scandalous innuendos about the personal lives of celebrities and sport stars, and other so-called "junk food news".
The word "tabloid" itself has several definitions. In 1884 it was trademarked as a name for compressed drugs. The connotation of "tabloid" was soon applied to other small items and to the "compressed" journalism that condensed stories into a simplified, easily-absorbed format.These papers were commonly identified with boisterous, brief news content, an abundance of pictures, some fiction, and often they blatantly appealed to the human interest in crime, sex, and disaster. One definition of tabloid from Webster's College Dictionary describes it as luridly or vulgarly sensational. Tabloid journalism employs sensationalism as a device to capture readers' attention. Sensationalism is the use of material intended to produce a startling or scandalous effect, especially one pertaining to the senses.
The tabloids attempt to captivate or persuade the masses with their colors and headlines about wonderful, amazing, and even shocking stories. Persuasion is a deliberate attempt by one individual or a group of individuals to modify the attitude, beliefs, or behaviors of another individual or group individuals through the transmission of some message. These stories are not confined to newsprint. Although many tabloids come in the form of a newspaper or a magazine, today we have tabloid television and even Internet tabloids.
The political world is very much affected by this form of press. If someone had a choice of a story which highlighted Clintons foreign policy or a story which outlined the Presidents sexual escapades, which one do you think that they would choose? We all know that scandals draw a lot more attention than almost any form of media by playing on the public appetite for controversy.
Celebrity news is a staple of the tabloids, and sources for this information are everywhere. Each tabloid writer maintains an army of sources, including security guards, hair stylists, personal drivers and even police officers who will call the writer whenever they have new information on a celebrity. These informants are paid various amounts for their information, depending on the quality of the news and which celebrity it involves. Information about a minor TV actor might be worth a few hundred dollars, while a major scoop about Madonna or Britney Spears could be worth thousands.
A large proportion of tabloid celebrity news comes from celebrities themselves, often by way of their publicists. Some stars build a working relationship with a tabloid, offering inside stories in exchange for the free publicity. At other times, the tabloid will accept inside stories while agreeing to avoid running harsh or negative stories about a certain star.
On the other hand, there may be celebrities who are victims of tabloids. Paparazzi may create inaccurate information as they want to spice up the news in their magazines. With that, the public can be easily taken in by the news/ gossips written on it. Bad image is thus formed in the people’s minds. Celebrities are thus seen in a different light and hence leading to a downfall in reputation.
For example, HK celebrity Anne Heung Hoi Lan cum Miss Hong Kong of year 1998 was recently said to have undergone sex change, which is unlikely true.
Not only so, tabloids have also imposed on the privacy of the celebrities. Thus they have less privacy and own personal space as their personal lives will usually be watched over by the paparazzi. They are somehow obliged to having a responsibility to portray good impression to the general public due to their fame and popularity –it is important for them to keep a clean image of themselves so as to be able to have better opportunities in the media industry. For example, to become advertising stars, which most firms would select celebrities with good image. With that, not only will tabloids take away celebrities’ privacy, however in order to protect their reputation, constant fears will also be developed in them.
Besides having negative impacts on the celebrities, the society will be much affected as well. Confusion will be created in the public’s mindsets. People do not know which news to trust as they may either be false or true. For example, Britney spears has many tales about her within one period of time by different tabloids. (as shown below in different magazines)
Star magazine is reporting that Britney supposedly said that both her children were mistakes--which we don't buy. Britney may not be a fit mother but she genuinely seems like she loves those boys.
Life & Style magazine says that Kevin said that Brit's going to lose her babies and that he 'declares victory.'
Us Weekly claims to have a 'tell all' from Britney's ex nannies and old staff members.
Ok! magazine took a break from the 'Britney's a bad mom' story and went with the 'Britney's a lesbian' route. --- adapted from http://www.hollyscoop.com/britney-spears/when-tabloids-attack-britney-spears-edition_12295.aspx
When such things happen, gossips will be sparked. People start discussing among themselves about the news that they read on the net/magazines/newspapers. This is a distraction as they’re becoming interested in the wrong news. Some fans of the celebrities may want to protect the interests or reputations of their idols and thus causing an uproar of emotions among fans.
Tabloids can also be bad as people follow the bad examples of celebrities. Some people who are fans of the celebrities may follow the actions of celebrities written in the tabloid without thinking beforehand if it is a wise or correct decision to make.
Yet with such a platform having so many negative impacts on the society, people are still much more interested in such news compared to truths printed on the newspapers. Does this gives us a signal that we as humans should do something about our integrity? Instead of spreading rumors that we are unsure of, we should check and make sure that it is the truth before spreading it?
Done by: (10S11)
Wong Yi Ting