Tabloid television

Tabloid television

Tabloid television is similar to tabloid newspapers. Tabloid television newscasts usually incorporate flashy graphics and sensationalized stories, some with little or no local relevance. Often, there is a heavy emphasis on crime, stories with good video, and celebrity news. It is a form of infotainment. Tabloid television, like tabloid newspapers, is a product of a purely commercial media market. Because its content tends to stem from a need to gain ratings, tabloid television thrives in commercial environments where there are no oversight bodies (such as the BBC Trust and OFCOM in the UK) to set cultural standards. An example of this commercial impetus is the Fox Network in the United States. In establishing a fourth commercial broadcast network in the United States, the first new network in many decades, Rupert Murdoch's strategy was to take the media product down market in order to gain a commercial foothold in the face of heavily financed established media.

The United States is not the only television market with this category of broadcasting - Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and France, to name a few, all have tabloid programming that reflects this same down-market, sensationalist style of journalism and entertainment.

Examples of tabloid television

The basic tabloid television format developed on nationally syndicated programs such as "Hard Copy", "Inside Edition", and "A Current Affair", which all incorporate flashy graphics with sensational stories. Tabloid talk shows were extremely popular during the end of the 20th century.

Some stations, like CBS owned and operated KYW-TV, air primarily weather and crime stories. Other stations, such as the CBS network flagship station WCBS-TV, put their own special programming ahead of hard news, as, for example, when exclusive "Shame on You" and "Eat At Your Own Risk" segments are selected over major stories to top the newscast. One egregious example of this trend occurred on May 24, 2005, the day the United States House of Representatives took a major vote regarding the funding of stem cell research. WCBS led its 11 p.m. newscast with a story and exclusive video of actor Burt Reynolds slapping a CBS producer. Rivals WNBC and WABC led with the stem cell funding vote.

WSVN in Miami, Florida was one of the first stations to popularize tabloid television in the local news arena.Fact|date=June 2007 Today, the format is prevalent among FOX affiliates such as WNYW-TV and WTTG-TV.Fact|date=June 2007 FOX's parent company, News Corporation, owns "The New York Post", a notorious daily tabloid newspaper.Fact|date=June 2007

TVI in Portugal is also a well known example of tabloid television; its newscasts regularly open with frivolous stories and self promotion, and its talk shows account for more than 12 hours a day. TVI only broadcasts two television genres other than information: telenovelas and corny, sexist humour.

A commonly cited example of tabloid television run amok is a series of reports in 2001 collectively dubbed the Summer of the Shark, focusing on a supposed epidemic of shark attacks after one highly-publicized attack on an 8-year-old boy. In reality, there were a below-average number of shark attacks that year.

Parodies of news and entertainment

Drop the Dead Donkey (Channel 4, UK)

Frontline (ABC, Australia)

Further reading

*Potter, Deborah (October/November 2003). [ A Story for All Seasons] . "American Journalism Review." Found at (July 16, 2005).

External links

* [ Museum of Broadcast Communications]
* [ Tabloid television presenters and producers]

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