Summary of role and responsibility of tabloid journalism
Tabloids exist to present stories to the general public in a simplistic fashion that is not overly analytical or explanatory. In order to do this it employs several different methods.
Tabloids, in general, are sensationalist in nature using a lot of emotive language trying to invoke a response from the reader. This is usually in response to the opinion of the target audience, trying to reflect the views of the reader. Most of the stories covered are populist, trying to appeal to their specified demographic in terms of the articles featured.
A tabloid publication will use simplified plain speaking vocabulary in order to make the stories accessible. This again is to emulate the lexicon of the general public and not alienate any of its audience by using too intellectual language.
A tabloid is usually related to gossip and celebrity culture news, with a heavy lean on visual aspects to draw attention. Many tabloids employ a lot of colour and eye catching images to draw a reader in.
Tabloids cover stories in a much less analytical way than that of broadsheets or compacts. The stories usually involve pointing out what is having and giving some explanation without any analysis.
Comparison of tabloid and broadsheet coverage of the same story
|Leads with figures||Longer opening line, still leads with figures; factual with no emotive language|
|“to take on IS terrorists”||Big money figures are in the top line unlike in the mirror where it is halfway down the article|
|Flamboyant with their point making||Prioritising raw information which comes in larger chunk. Audience have longer attention span|
|Emphasis on active fighting – “fears grow”||True paragraphs|
|Added own spin but backed it up with direct quote||Uses full quotes to back up information|
|Very active vocabulary “fear” “fastest” “take on”||Links to previous stories much earlier in the article, much more aware of the other all narrative and knows its audience being well read|
|Very short paragraph||More expansive with its information/more thorough|
|Very emotive language||Provides specifics (BAE aircraft, classes of aircrafts)|
|“Fastest ever” x2 in first 200 words||Sentences come in paragraphs. 2 sentences per paragraph|
|“Paras”- assuming knowledge of audience due to either their use of the word or simply because it is in the readers natural lexicon||Very thorough explanations of information, backing up with a minimum of 2 subsequent points/facts|
|“Smashing” “blowing up” – very provocative language||Narrative travels from soldiers to relating it to other stories and creating a discussion.|
|“IEDs” – assuming knowledge again||Doesn’t explain the meaning of quotes and lets readers decide for themselves|
|Uses previous stories in explanation citing French troops repelling “al Qaeda mobs storming Bamako in Mali in 2013” as well as link to vote on Syria bombing to give context to events and how it forms a narrative with these other stories as well as being a part of a future narrative; building awareness of the overall issue||Oscillates between broadening the context to then analyse a particular point|
|Backing up assertions with credible sources||Emphasis on explanation and analysis rather than to simply inform|
|Lead with a big statement but later on in the article clarify||Deeper level of information without any provocative language or judgment|
|Language which labels people, unafraid to judge “pacifist Jeremy Corbyn”||Has a higher level of respect for its audience in its omission of bias towards the story to allow audience to create their own opinion.|
|Repetition of important statements to form an agenda|
|Ends on an anti-Cameron note|
The Mirror Style Tabloid Article
Jeremy Corbyn has been “attacked mercilessly” in the recent months for not supporting Trident.
He has stated many times that he vows not to back down on his views on scraping the nuclear deterrent.
During his explosive speech back in September Corbyn said “I don’t believe that £100bn spent on a new generation of nuclear weapons taking up to a quarter of our defence budget is the right way forward.”
Mr Corbyn has been defiant against the rebels in his party who blocked a bid about renewing the Trident nuclear weapons program.
Trident currently costs the UK around 6% of its annual defence budget, which has been confirmed by the Ministry of Defence.
The government have stated that a replacement would cost between £15bn-£20bn.
Greenpeace, an environmental campaign group claims this will cost at least £34bn.
In a survey carried out by The Mirror Online in September a monumental 75% of people said Britain should scrap the nuclear deterrent.
Maria Eagle, the shadow defence secretary, is currently leading a review on a method of “strong, modern effective protection for the people of Britain”, Corbyn has said.
Mrs Eagle has been known to speak out against Mr Corbyn in the past most recently, saying his comment regarding not pressing the nuclear button if he is elected PM as unhelpful.
Comparison of different tabloids
The two major tabloid publications are The Sun and The Daily Mirror.
The Sun has a slightly right political orientation but does tend to change based around general public opinion. Comparatively The Mirror is a left wing publication who side themselves with Labour in terms of values and views.
The Sun is very sensationalist in nature with very emotive headlines (often vilifying a specific group such as terrorists). There is a heavy lean towards sport and more working class interest stories, with a clear male demographic. The front page of a typical Sun publication shows often some form of sexual oriented imagery based around a particularly popular celebrity.
The Daily Mirror is fairly similar in the respect that it is also lends itself to the use of over the top language and working class specific stories. It does tend to avoid harder news and focus more on celebrity culture but does tend to cover political based stories with a heavy slant towards Labour views. Again, as with the sun bases itself around using a lot of imagery in order to draw the attention of its audience.