Despite being one of the oldest communication media that can be thought of the newspaper is still at the top of the list concerning the most popular sources of news and information. It has prevailed for centuries, withstanding waves of new technologies mostly by meeting the specific needs of its target audience. The tabloid press is not different and taking into account the popularity of this type of newspaper especially in the United Kingdom it can be seen as a prominent example of evolution through diversification which granted the newspaper its position. The popularity of this kind of press can be explained by exploring the particular way the tabloid reports the news. As any other press genre the tabloids concentrate on specific aspects distinguishing them from other newspapers. In this case the notable features are: the simple everyday language, concentration on the most emotive parts of the story and drawing attention of the reader. This three features mentioned above are widely considered the most recognizable and apparent for the genre and are largely responsible for its form.
The simple every day language and its small format are probably the most noticeable characteristics of a tabloid. The name in itself according to any available dictionary means “compressed” and it is derived from tablets marketed as “tabloid” pills which replaced medicine that was usually taken in powder form. The language used in the articles as well as the length of the articles well reflects its name. As they are smaller in length than in usual newspapers and mainly consist of short strait to the point sentences not rarely involving elements of slang, everyday expressions and nicknames.
Due to the size and the simple form of the newspaper the articles in it can be read at the pub, on a train or any other time when we don’t have much time or we can’t devote our entire attention. There is also the fact that a “broadsheet” newspaper would require much more space as it is twice as big. Each one of us can easily imagine how one can poke someone’s eye out or strangle him or her self with his own arms trying to read a medium size book in a crowded bus not to mention a full-sized newspaper.
The smaller size and simple form beside the obvious advantages as well have their shortcomings. Seen in the constant struggle between size and information. The tabloid press because of its compact format is generally forced to focus around the main usually emotive and shocking elements of a news story excluding other less important ones. The use of economical, informal language as well deepens this problem as it tends to be highly emotional and bound with a noticeable attitude compared with formal language used in broadsheets which is more neutral and none-subjective. This obviously not only leads to a reduction in the news content provided for the reader but adds a danger that the story might seem sensationalistic, biased or even directly supporting one of the presented parties.
Another feature that even further reduces the space of the articles is connected with the big headlines and pictures presented in the paper. One can ask why a paper with so little space regarding articles has that many pictures not rarely being more than a quarter of the entire page. The answer is quite simple. That is to draw our attention. Tabloids as mentioned before are newspapers generally read on means of transport, waiting rooms etc. Their are quick to read and cheaper than a full-sized newspaper meaning that they are functional only for a short time and are less profitable.
Therefore they have to be as much attractive to a customer as it’s humanly possible to lure him or her into purchasing an another issue. And the fact is that most eye-catching are colourful pages with big pictures and big catchy headlines which focus our attention almost immediately. The same explanation can be used to describe the topics of articles in this journalistic genre that concentrate on common subjects of interest like celebrities, crime stories, sports etc. and discard those of peripheral interest like economic analyses.
In conclusion the tabloid press reports the news focusing on the popular topics that are designed to immediately attract our attention with the help of big catchy headlines and colourful pages. Described using short straight to the point sentences and everyday language which is easy to read and entertaining but can also be interpreted as bias and emotional. The format of the paper on one hand leads to a reduction of the news content in the article by concentrating on the main part of the story on the other it produces a quick and pleasant read that is easy to carry. All in all it has to be admitted that the tabloid press is precisely what it was supposed to be from the start of its existence, a way to fill those few minutes at the bus stop or give us an excuse to sit alone at a pub.