Tabloid

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The term tabloid is used to describe newspapers with comparatively small pages, although there is no standard for the precise dimensions of a tabloid. It is also used, sometimes pejoratively, to describe a newspaper that provides a treatment of the news that is simplistic or sensationalist, often with a focus on personalities and gossip, and much less detailed coverage of topics such as politics and economics than is offered by newspapers regarded as more serious.

The tabloid physical format, however, is not limited to such newspapers. In the United Kingdom, for example, it is used by nearly all local newspapers. In the United States, it is commonly the format employed by alternative newspapers. As the term tabloid has become synonymous with down-market newspapers in some areas, some small-format papers which claim a higher standard of journalism refer to themselves as compact newspapers instead.

The tabloid newspaper format is particularly popular in the United Kingdom, where its page dimensions are roughly 430 × 280 mm (16.9 in × 11.0 in).

Larger newspapers, traditionally associated with higher-quality journalism, are often called broadsheets, and this designation often remains in common usage even if the newspaper moves to printing on smaller pages, as many have in recent years. Thus the terms tabloid and broadsheet are, in non-technical usage, today more descriptive of a newspaper's market position than its physical size.

The Berliner format used by many prominent European newspapers is sized between the tabloid and the broadsheet. In a newspaper context, the term Berliner is generally used only to describe size, not to refer to other qualities of the publication.

Contents

History

The word "Tabloid" comes from the name given by the London based pharmaceutical company Burroughs Wellcome & Co. to the compressed tablets they marketed as "Tabloid" pills in the late 1880s [1]. Prior to compressed tablets, medicine was usually taken in bulkier powder form. While Burroughs Wellcome & Co. were not the first to derive the technology to make compressed tablets, they were the most successful at marketing them, hence the popularity of the term 'tabloid' in popular culture. The connotation of tabloid was soon applied to other small items and to the "compressed" journalism that condensed stories into a simplified, easily-absorbed format. The label of "tabloid journalism" (1901) preceded the smaller sheet newspapers that contained it (1918).

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