In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Tabloidization

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • Political Coverage
  • Soft News and Hard News

Communication Tabloidization
Jenn Burleson Mackay
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 November 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0191


As the news market has become increasingly competitive, the mainstream news media have changed dramatically. The concept of tabloidization suggests that stories about politics and civic issues have been replaced by content that is intended to be entertaining. These stories might emphasize sensationalized or lewd details and celebrities rather than information that is designed to keep the public informed of government policies and societal issues. This type of news is similar to what one might expect to see in a tabloid publication at the checkout counter at a grocery store. The term tabloidization suggests that the mainstream media are borrowing the techniques used by the tabloid press to grab the attention of the audience. Much of the literature related to tabloidization suggests that the process has had a negative effect on the audience and journalistic values by dumbing down the news. There are those who argue that the process can have positive effects on consumers by making them attend more closely to the news. Scholars typically suggest the tabloidization has occurred as a response to competition.


Scholars often publish tabloidization research in journals that have a global journalism emphasis. Journalism Studies is the home for much content-analysis-based research in this area. Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, a journal associated with the International Communication Association, also houses this research. Tabloidization research also can be found in broader-reaching communication-based journals such as the European Journal of Communication and the European Institute for Communication and Culture’s Javnost—The Public.

  • European Journal of Communication. 1986–.

    This bimonthly publication covers a broad range of topics related to communication. The research emphasis focuses on the work of European scholars or research that is relevant to Europeans. This is a place to look for research that compares tabloidization across multiple countries.

  • Javnost—The Public. 1994–.

    The journal is associated with the European Institute for Communication and Culture and publishes four times a year. The journal dedicated one issue to the concept of tabloidization. The issue used multiple methods, including essays and content analysis.

  • Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism. 2000–.

    This journal publishes one issue, during eight months of the year. It is affiliated with the Journalism Studies Division of the International Communication Association. Studies here often use an essay style and push for theory development. The content analysis method is also used.

  • Journalism Studies. 2000–.

    The publication publishes six times a year and covers a broad range of issues related to journalism, from history to ethics and media ownership. Many of the studies in this journal utilize content analysis methodology.

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