Tabloids exploit society for profit

Tabloids abuse society’s need for fast information on other’s private lives


Tyler White

The news that matters most, always* accurate.

Nicolas Dautremont, Staff Writer

Tabloids, magazines which exaggerate stories to their breaking point, have only one objective in mind. Not the truth, not the news, not reality but profit and sales. Journalism in its essence is thrown away with no regard for the consequences.

Most of what we read from tabloids are lies or are loosely based on real facts which they twist to sensationalize to sell their magazines. Tabloids are infamous for breaking a variety of ethical boundaries. In 2011, it “emerged that phone hacking was prolific at the News of the World and had targeted celebrities, politicians and soccer players.” The British newspaper was caught in an assortment of allegations of unethical conduct including tapping phones (Los Angeles Times).

The magazine invaded the personal lives of anyone they thought would make their next story a best-seller, and during the whole debacle they never thought of the boundaries they were obviously crossing. The reason why tabloids feel the need to break the rules of ethical journalism is due to sales and competition, with the rise in popularity of online newspapers.

But there is always two sides to a coin and a recent New York Times article phrased why tabloids have their own use in society. While tabloids are sometimes “highly illegal” they also help “define the boundaries of acceptable investigative behavior” so journalism will know how far is too far when crossing the line of private and public life (New York Times).

Society in general has always had a negative connotation to tabloids because of their outlandish and ridiculous stories which are sometimes laughable due to their exaggerated nature. One online newspaper purposefully creates exaggerated fictional stories in a satirical sense to mock other organized papers because of the silliness of the stories.

The Onion and one of its more recent articles displays a satirical parody which compares to headlines created by tabloids. Most tabloids know what the reader is looking for–something which is eye grabbing and exciting. I recently experienced an encounter with such a tabloid. It had written in big bold colorful letters “Obama will run for presidency in 2016?” in a local shopping center.

When I read such a ridiculous and almost humorous headline I realized how they obtain readers. With such outlandish and impossible stories, one feels compelled to see what ridiculous idea will come next.

But when I think about the people behind the stories, and how they are journalists themselves trying to make their way through life, I see how my perception of tabloids may be too harsh. In a 2012 article by a UK journalist, I re-evaluated my thoughts on tabloids because the writers themselves “are just as hardworking and respectable as broadsheet journalists” due to their dedication to their jobs, even though some of the population doesn’t view it in such a light (

I now view tabloid journalism as a sort of necessary evil which may never leave society, whether it be in ink or online.