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Digital Journalism and Tabloid Journalism

Bastos, M. T. (2016). Digital Journalism and Tabloid Journalism. In: Franklin, B. & Eldridge, S. (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies. . Routledge.


In this chapter I review the legacy of tabloid journalism in the context of digital media and discuss the transition from the strong editorial identity of tabloid newsprint to content curation that is both user-generated and created by paid staff members. Although the terms broadsheet and tabloid stem initially from paper size and format, I rely on this distinction to refer to editorial decisions that define newspapers’ journalism standards, setting quality press (broadsheets) apart from popular newspapers (tabloids). I describe the heyday of tabloid journalism in the early twenty-first century, when newspapers shifted toward compact, visually appealing, and commuter-friendly editions featuring fewer stories with fewer words on each page and making space for the use of photography in storytelling. These structural changes to the process of newsmaking are reviewed in the context of the introduction of social networking technologies that once again disrupted newsmaking, with social media audiences behaving differently from the traditional readership of broadsheets and tabloids. I inquire whether entertainment-focused websites like Upworthy and BuzzFeed are positioned to displace the traditional tabloid media by churning out viral content that is mostly short, highly visual, sharable, and mostly accessed through mobile devices. In short, this chapter reviews the key assumptions underlying the opposition between broadsheet and tabloid in the context of digital journalism and offers a discussion on viral news websites and the personalization of news amplified by fragmented networked audiences. The article offers a contribution to the understanding of the world of tabloid journalism in the context of digital media.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies on 20 Oct 2016, available online:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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