Digital impacts on the tabloid sphere: Blurring and diffusion of a popular form and its power

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


    This chapter asks ‘what to make of tabloids in a digital age?’ With the emergence of blogs and websites which traffic in content about public figures, we have witnessed how digital media have embraced the tabloid legacy by taking up the narratives of sex, crime, and scandal which once distinguished tabloids from their peers. On the surface, such sites reflect the familiar mix of ‘soft’ news and more prurient content which tabloids made familiar. Scratch a layer deeper, though, and we see this is not just a borrowing of a subject matter, but a more complex diffusion of the cultural form of tabloids and their cultural significance. This chapter examines these shifts with case studies of websites in the US, UK, and Netherlands, which lay claim to “the century-old tabloid cynicism about human nature, reinforced by instant data about what people actually wanted to read” (Denton, 2016). It argues such sites reflect, “the latest permutation of the language of the people in periodical form” (Conboy, 2006, p. 1), a characteristic once ascribed to tabloids. Taking the confluence of tabloid cultures and digital media opportunities as a blurring of the line which once surrounded tabloids as a distinct form, it argues this may also reflect a diffusion of tabloids’ specific media power in a digital age.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGlobal Tabloid
    Subtitle of host publicationCulture and Technology
    EditorsMartin Conboy, Scott A Eldridge II
    Place of PublicationLondon
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9780429320880
    ISBN (Print)9780367336264, 9780367336257
    Publication statusPublished - 19-Apr-2021

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