Table of Contents
1. Defining the research topic
2. Previous research on tabloids
3. Research methodology
3.1. Research questions
3.2. Research instrument
3.4. Ethical issues
4. Describing and analyzing the data
4.1. Collecting data
4.2. Analyzing and decoding the data
5.1. Limitations of the study and implications for further research
The popular tabloid is instantly recognizable among the papers piling up at the news agent’s. Colorful and compact, it stands out from the mass of black-and-white print through its bold, screaming headlines, its picture-dominated front page and the generous use of color. Originally, the word tabloid referred to the size and format. Tabloid papers were smaller and handier than normal newspapers, known as broadsheets. But today, for most people, the word tabloid has nothing to do with shape and size. What makes a tabloid a tabloid is content, and above all, style. Contentious features of the tabloids include the typically sensationalist and personalized news style, and blurring of boundaries between private and public, politics and entertainment, but also their populist and partisan political interventions, their celebrity-orientated and sexualized news agenda and the use of aggressive journalistic methods such as paparazzi coverage. In my paper I am interested in studying a particular British tabloid, The Sun. According to Sofia Johansson, in “Reading Tabloids- Tabloid Newspapers and Their Readers” (2007:8), 15 million people everyday read The Sun newspaper in Britain. However, despite the controversy and wide reach of tabloids, research into their role among audiences is scarce. Why are they popular? How do they attract people in reading them? This is the question I attempt to find an answer to or for which I make assumptions. As I mentioned at the beginning, most people are drawn by the screaming headlines, the picture dominated front page and the generous use of color. But nobody seems to take into account the main aspect, that of language, which at times is sarcastic, offensive, aiming to reveal or scandalize the lives of public figures by means of questions, statements, ironies and other linguistic instruments. In this paper, I intend to take a closer look at this aspect and for this purpose, I will select four online issues of The Sun and perform a content analysis on the language used in the stories and news presented in each of the four issues, in order to underline the importance that language plays in the popularity that these tabloids have gained nowadays in society. 1. Defining the research topic
All the issues, questions and controversy mentioned above led me to concentrate on the tabloid rather than the quality press. Particularly on the top stories, the all so obvious headlines and most importantly, the overall linguistic instruments by means of which these are “realized”.
It is typical for tabloids to use all the possible ‘tools’ to attract the reader even if it could mean distorting the facts. In this sense, it is important not only ‘what’ but also ‘how’ the fact is reported. With such language means I want to deal in this particular research. 2. Previous research on tabloids
A tabloid is a newspaper, in small format, which gives the news in condensed form with the use of illustrations and sensational exaggerated material. A lot of criticism has been brought to this type of newspaper, from scholars and researchers, but also from ordinary people with a certain level of education. Journalist and media critic Roy Greenslade (2004) exemplifies this criticism in an inaugural lecture entitled” Prejudice, Distortion and the Cult of Celebrity”, stating the following: They [the tabloids] are illiberal, reactionary, negative, pessimistic and infected with sentimentality which appeals to readers’ emotions rather than their intellect. They play to the...
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Berelson, B. ( 1954). Content Analysis, in Gardner Lindzey(ed.), Handbook of Sociology Psychology, Addison-Wesley, Cambridge, Mass.
Fowler, R. (1991). Language in the News: discourse and ideology in the press , Routledge.
Friedrich, Otto."A Vivacious Blonde Was Fatally Shot Today or How to Read a Tabloid." Language Awareness. Ed. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. NY: St. Martin 's.
Greenslade, Roy (2004) ‘Prejudice, Distortion and the Cult of Celebrity: Is the Press Going to Hell in a Handcart?’, inaugural lecture presented at City University, London .
Sofia Johansson, (2007) -Reading Tabloids- Tabloid Newspapers and Their Readers.
Yule, G. (2006). The study of language. Cambridge University Press
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