Tabloid: Wikis


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Newspaper sizes in August 2005.
• Blank paper (A4 size)
The Times, in "compact" format
Daily Mail, in "tabloid" format
Le Monde, in "Berliner" format
Berliner Zeitung
Neues Deutschland
The Guardian, a "broadsheet"

A tabloid is an industry term for a smaller newspaper format per spread; to a weekly or semi-weekly alternative newspaper that focuses on local-interest stories and entertainment, often distributed free of charge (often in a smaller, tabloid-sized newspaper format); or to a newspaper that tends to sensationalize and emphasize or exaggerate sensational crime stories, gossip columns repeating scandalous and innuendos about the deeply personal lives of celebrities and sports stars, and other so-called "junk food news" or junk mail (often in a smaller, tabloid-sized newspaper format). As the term "tabloid" has become synonymous with down-market newspapers in some areas, some small-format papers which claim a higher standard of journalism refer to themselves as "compact" newspapers instead.

The tabloid newspaper format is particularly popular in the United Kingdom where its page dimensions are roughly 430 mm × 280 mm (17 by 11 inches). Larger newspapers, traditionally associated with 'higher-quality' journalism, are called broadsheets though several British 'quality' papers have recently adopted the tabloid format. Another UK newspaper format is the Berliner, which is sized between the tabloid and the broadsheet and has been adopted by The Guardian and its sister paper The Observer.



The word "Tabloid" comes from the name given by the London based pharmaceutical company Burroughs Wellcome & Co. to the compressed tablets they marketed as "Tabloid" pills in the late 1880s [1]. Prior to compressed tablets, medicine was usually taken in bulkier powder form. While Burroughs Wellcome & Co. were not the first to derive the technology to make compressed tablets, they were the most successful at marketing them, hence the popularity of the term 'tabloid' in popular culture. 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. The label of "tabloid journalism" (1901) preceded the smaller sheet newspapers that contained it (1918).

An early pioneer of tabloid journalism was Alfred Harmsworth (1865–1922), who amassed a large publishing empire of halfpenny papers by rescuing failing stolid papers and transforming them to reflect the popular taste, which yielded him enormous profits. Harmsworth used his tabloids to influence public opinion, for example, by bringing down the wartime government of Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith in the Shell Crisis of 1915.

International use

United States

This style of journalism and newspaper publishing has been exported to various other countries, including the United States.

"A photographer's photographer" quote by First Lady Mrs. Warren G. Harding who stated the Edward Jackson's photograph of her was "the best photo ever taken." The photo ran on the entire front page of the February 5, 1921 New York Daily News.

The daily tabloids in the United States date back to the founding of the New York Daily News in 1919, followed by the New York Daily Mirror and the New York Evening Graphic in the 1920s. Competition among those three for crime, sex and celebrity news was considered a scandal to the mainstream press of the day. In comparison, today's American daily tabloids are generally much less overheated and less oriented towards scandal and sensationalism than their predecessors, or their British counterparts. With the exception of the supermarket tabloids (see below), which have little mainstream credibility, the word "tabloid" in the U.S. can refer more to format than to content.[citation needed] The tabloid format is used by a number of respected and indeed prize-winning American papers.

However, since its initial purchase by Rupert Murdoch in 1976, the New York Post has become the exemplar of the brash British-style tabloid in the US, and its competition with the Daily News has become newspaper legend.

Prominent US tabloids include nationally the Metro, locally, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, the Boston Herald, the New York Observer, Newsday on New York's Long Island, the San Francisco Examiner and Baltimore Examiner. (Newsday co-founder Alicia Patterson was the daughter of Joseph Patterson, founder of the New York Daily News.)


The biggest tabloid (and newspaper in general) in Europe, by circulation, is Germany's Bild, with around 4 million copies (down from above 5 million in the 1980s). Although its paper size is bigger, its style was copied from the British tabloids.

In the UK, three previously broadsheet daily newspapers—The Independent, The Times, and The Scotsman—have switched to tabloid size in recent years, although they call it "compact" to avoid the down-market connotation of that word. Similarly, when referring to the down-market tabloid newspapers the alternative term "red-top" (referring to their traditionally red-coloured mastheads) is increasingly used, to distinguish them from the up-market compact newspapers.

In the Netherlands, several newspapers have started publishing tabloid versions of their newspapers, including one of the major 'quality' newspapers, NRC Handelsblad, with nrc•next in 2006. Two free tabloid newspapers were also introduced in the early 2000s, 'Metro and Sp!ts, mostly for distribution in public transportation. In 2007 a third and fourth free tabloid appeared, 'De Pers' and 'DAG'. However, De Telegraaf, the Dutch newspaper that most closely resembles the style of British tabloid papers, comes in broadsheet.

In Norway, close to all of the newspapers have switched from the broadsheet to the tabloid format. The three biggest newspapers are VG, Dagbladet, and Aftenposten, the former the most sensationalist one and the latter more serious.

In France the Nice Matin, a popular Southern France newspaper changed from Broadsheet to Tabloid on April 8, 2006. They changed the printing format in one day after test results showed that 74% liked the Tabloid format compared to Broadsheet.

In Denmark the newspaper Berlingske Tidende shifted from Broadsheet to Tabloid format in 2006.

In Poland the newspaper Fakt, sometimes Gazeta Wyborcza is considered as tabloid [2]

South Asia

India: Tabloid Journalism is still an evolving concept in the conservative Print Media. The first tabloid 'Blitz' was started by Russy Karanjia on February 1, 1941 with the words "Our Blitz, India's Blitz against Hitler!". It started off in English and then branched out with Hindi, Marathi and Urdu versions. In 1974, was started the "CineBlitz" magazine by Russy's daughter Rita. The cover had Zeenat Aman and a streaking Protima Bedi inside. The venerable Times of India too changed its entire content, tone and editorial style in 2002. There is now more of sensationalist stories, snappy headlines, and Page3 parties. In 2005, Times of India brought out a dedicated Mumbai tabloid nespaper Mumbai Mirror which gives prominence to Mumbai-related stories and issues. Tehelka started off a news portal in 2000 and broke the match-fixing story in Indian and International Cricket and later on a sting operation on defence deals in Indian Army. In 2007, it shut shop and reappeared in tabloid form and has been appreciated for its brand of investigative journalism. Other popular tabloid newspapers in mainstream media are Mid-Day, which is an afternoon newspaper published out of and dedicated to Mumbai and business newspapers like MINT.

Pakistan: In Pakistan, Khabrain is a tabloid newspaper popular in local lower middle class. If you ever happen to visit any barber shops or other small gathering places in cities like Multan, you can find a copy of this newspaper there. This news group introduced a new paper Naya Akhbar which is comparably more sensational. On local level, many sensational tabloids can be seen but unlike Khabrain or other big national newspapers, they are distributed only on local levels in districts.


In the People's Republic of China, Chinese tabloids have exploded in popularity since the mid-1990s and have tested the limits of press censorship[citation needed] by taking editorial positions critical of the government and by engaging in critical investigative reporting.[citation needed]

Other countries

In Canada, many of the Sun Media newspapers are in tabloid format. There is also The Province, which is a tabloid in British Columbia, and has no connections to Sun Media. The Canadian publisher Black Press publishes newspapers in both tabloid (10 1/4" wide by 14 1/2" deep) and what it calls "tall tab" format, where the latter is 10 1/4" wide by 16 1/4" deep, larger than tabloid but smaller than the broadsheets it also publishes.[3]

When a tabloid is defined as "roughly 17 by 11 inches" and commonly "half the size of a broadsheet," confusion can arise because "Many broadsheets measure roughly 29½ by 23½ inches", half of which is roughly 15" x 12" not 17" x 11".

In Oman, TheWeek is a free, 48-page, all-colour, independent weekly published from Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. Oman’s first free newspaper was launched in March 2003 and has now gone on to gather what is believed to be the largest readership for any publication in Oman. Ms Mohana Prabhakar is the managing editor of the publication. TheWeek is audited by BPA Worldwide, which has certified its circulation as being a weekly average of 50,300.

In Georgia, the weekly English-language newspaper The FINANCIAL switched to a compact format in 2005 and doubled the number of pages in each issue. Other Georgian-language newspapers have tested compact formats in the early 1990s.

In Russia and Ukraine, major English language newspapers like the Moscow Times and the Kyiv Post use a compact format.

In Argentina, one of the country's two main newspapers, Clarín, is a tabloid and in the Southern Philippines, a new weekly tabloid, The Mindanao Examiner, now includes media services, such as photography and video production, into its line as a source to finance the high cost of printing and other expenses. It is also into independent film making.

In Australia - The Advertiser, Herald Sun, The Sun-Herald, Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail (All News Ltd papers), The West Australian, and The Melbourne Observer.

In India - MiD DAY and Afternoon are the leading tabloids. MiD DAY is particularly known for publishing sensationalizing stories about celebrities.

In South Africa, the Bloemfontein based daily newspaper Volksblad became the first serious broadsheet newspaper to switch to tabloid, but only on Saturdays. Despite the format proving to be popular with its readers, the newspaper remains broadsheet on weekdays. "The Daily Sun" published by NEWS24 has since become South Africas biggest selling daily newspaper and is aimed primarily at the black working class. It sells in excess of 500 000 copies per day reaching approximately 3 000 000 000 readers. News is gathered widely and reports on the almost-unbelievable, headline-making stories which Daily Sun journalist/news gatherers write from their encounters with real people, and astounding ‘eye-witness’ accounts of bizarre occurrences which are literally stunning. Besides offering a sometimes satirical view of the seriousness of mainstream news, the Daily Sun confers weightiness upon issues that would likely be treated with laughing dismissal in traditional South African broadsheets. Thus, “The Daily Sun" features stories about tokoloshes (hob-goblins), ancestral visions and all things supernatural and wildly absurd, together with localised stories and main stream news. It is also published as "The Sunday Sun".

In Brazil, many newspapers are tabloids, including sports daily Lance! (which circulates in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo), most publications from Grupo RBS (especially the Porto Alegre daily Zero Hora), and, in March 2009, Rio de Janeiro-based O Dia switched to tabloid from broadsheet. Its sister publication, Meia Hora has always been a tabloid, but in slightly smaller format than O Dia and Lance!.

As a weekly alternative newspaper

The more recent usage of the term 'tabloid' refers to weekly or semi-weekly newspapers in tabloid format. Many of these are essentially straightforward newspapers, publishing in tabloid format, because subway and bus commuters prefer to read smaller-size newspapers due to lack of space. These newspapers are distinguished from the major daily newspapers, in that they purport to offer an "alternative" viewpoint, either in the sense that the paper's editors are more locally-oriented, or that the paper is editorially independent from major media conglomerates.

Other factors that distinguish "alternative" weekly tabloids from the major daily newspapers are their less-frequent publication, and that they are usually free to the user, since they rely on ad revenue. As well, alternative weekly tabloids tend to concentrate on local- or even neighbourhood-level issues, and on local entertainment in the bars and local theatres.

Alternative tabloids can be positioned as upmarket (quality) newspapers, to appeal to the better-educated, higher-income sector of the market; as middle-market (popular); or as downmarket (sensational) newspapers, which emphasize sensational crime stories and celebrity gossip. In each case, the newspapers will draw their advertising revenue from different types of businesses or services. An upmarket weekly's advertisers are often organic-grocers, boutiques, and theatre-companies while a downmarket's may have those of trade-schools, super-markets, and adult-services, both usually contain ads from local bars, auto-dealers, movie theaters, and a classified-ads section.[4]

As a sensational, gossip-filled newspaper

The term "tabloid" can also refer to a newspaper that tends to emphasize topics such as sensational crime stories, astrology, gossip columns about the personal lives of celebrities and sports stars, and junk food news. Often, tabloid newspaper allegations about the sexual practices, drug use, or private conduct of celebrities is borderline defamatory; in many cases, celebrities have successfully sued for libel, demonstrating that tabloid stories have defamed them. It is this sense of the word that led to some entertainment news programs to be called tabloid television. Tabloid newspapers are sometimes pejoratively called the gutter press.

Supermarket tabloids are large, national versions of these tabloids, usually published weekly. They are named for their prominent placement along the checkout lines of supermarkets. Supermarket tabloids are particularly notorious for the over-the-top sensationalizing of stories, the facts of which can often be called into question. 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 (now defunct), and Sun.

Most major supermarket tabloids in the U.S. are published by American Media, Inc., including The National Enquirer, Star, The Globe, National Examiner, ¡Mira!, Sun, Weekly World News and Radar.

Collectively called the "tabloid press", tabloid newspapers in Britain tend to be simply and sensationally written, and to give more prominence than broadsheets to celebrities, sports, crime stories and even hoaxes; they also more readily take a political position (either left-wing or right-wing) on news stories, ridiculing politicians, demanding resignations and predicting election results. The term Red tops [5] refers to tabloids with red nameplates, such as The Sun, the Daily Star, the Daily Mirror[citation needed] and the Daily Sport, and distinguishes them from the black top[citation needed] Daily Express and Daily Mail. Red top newspapers are usually simpler in writing style, dominated by pictures, and directed at the more sensational end of the market.


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