Tabloid Journalism

Tabloid Journalism

The proliferation of tabloid television means that you have to be very careful. Newspapers and broadcast shows are not all alike, and the level of commitment to journalistic standards ranges from wholehearted to nonexistent. Some periodicals are highly praised for their objective and fair reporting, whereas others are famous for headline stories based on hearsay.

The same situation exists in television . Some shows are known as «tabloid television» and «trash TV» because they concentrate on the sensational and have used the facade of traditional journalism on what is pure entertainment. This has been called «journaltainment».

In the race for ratings, some shows have started to offer more sensationalism and the manipulation of events for greater effect.

Such lapses of journalistic standards are a major concern for the media because the antics of an isolated few affect the credibility of all journalists.

Your challenge is to make sure you don’t paint all media with the same brush. You should continue to give service to responsible journalists and provide information. However, if a reporter has a reputation for sensationalism, you are probably better off if you simply refuse to be interviewed or provide information.

If you do decide to work with a tabloid television reporter, there are some points that can help you keep control of the situation:

Never do an adversarial interview alone. One option is to have a lawyer sit in on the interview.

Research the interviewer’s record before facing the camera. Know his or her method of questioning.

If cornered, counterattack. Take the offensive and accuse the reporter of unprofessional conduct, incompetence, or a lack of understanding of the subject.


accuse smb. of smth.
обвинять к.-л. в ч.-л.
недоброжелательный, враждебный
commitment to smth. преданность, верность, обязательство
corner smb. «загнать в угол», «припереть к стене»
lack of smth. отсутствие ч.-л.
make accusations
выдвигать обвинение
antics проделки, шутовство, кривляние
race for ratings погоня за рейтингом
низкопробный, бульварный
tabloid press бульварная пресса
take the offensive перейти в наступление
trash (material, writing) чтиво, макулатура, дешевка
trip up запутывать


1) Find the English equivalents in the text:

  1. основываться на слухах
  2. предоставлять информацию
  3. держать ситуацию под контролем
  4. некомпетентность
  5. заручиться обязательствами
  6. сосредоточиваться к ч.-л.
  7. колебаться (варьироваться)
  8. подрывать доверие к ч.-л.
  9. оказаться перед камерой
  10. непрофессиональное поведение.

2)    Find in the text the words which describe or mean the following:

  1. a newspaper that has a lot of photographs, stories about famous people, gossip etc, and not much serious news
  2. a level or a scale that shows how good, important, popular etc. someone or so¬mething is
  3. something that you have heard about from other people, but do not know to be truea way of reporting events or stories that makes them as strange, exciting, or shocking as possible

3)    Translate the following words and word-combinations into Russian. Use them

  1. in sentences of your own:
  2. to accuse smb. of smth.
  3. to make an accusation
  4. to bring an accusation against smb.
  5. the accused
  6. accusing
  7. commitment
  8. commitment to a cause
  9. to make a commitment
  10. to commit oneself

4)    Match the words, translate them and use in sentences of your own:

provide stories
unprofessional standards
headline concern
major conduct
jounalistics information

5)    Translate the following sentences into Russian

  1. Hearsay is not allowed as evidence in court.
  2. Reporters used extreme and adversarial methods to get their information.
  3. Her latest affair was splashed across the cover of the supermarket tabloids.
  4. The new comedy had the highest television rating this season.
  5. Many people get tripped up over the new tax laws.

6) Match the words which are close in their meaning

to refuse decline
sensational influence
wholehearted to decline
lapse exaggerated
affect sincere

7) Match the words which are opposite in their meaning

sensational efficiency
incompetence obscure
wholehearted minor
famous run-of-the-mill
major disinterested

8)    Complete the sentences using the following words and word-combinations

to trip up
to respond

  1. Surprise documents can be used_________________subjects and make them look foolish.
  2. Get a commitment that you will be able_________________to accusations made by others as part of the story.
  3. In the race for_________________, some shows have started to offer more______________and the manipulation of_________________for greater_________________ .

9)    Insert prepositions where necessary

of; from; to; for

  1. … accuse the reporter____ unprofessional conduct, incompetence, or a lack____ understanding____the subject.
  2. …. the level_____commitment____journalistics standards ranges____wholehearted____nonexistent.
  3. Such lapses____journalistic standards are a major concern ____the media, because the antics____an isolated few affect____the creditibility____all journalists.

10)    Write down 5 questions to the text using the active vocabulary of the lesson.

11)    Can you explain the following:

  1. Your challenge is to make sure you don’t paint all media with the same brush.
  2. Such lapses of journalistic standards are a major concern for the media because the antics of an isolated few affect the credibility of all journalists.

12)    Agree or disagree with the tips concerning handling tabloid reporters.Do you think it will really help you keep control of the situation?

Start your sentence with:

  1. It’s no use. No, it’s no good doing it. What’s the use of…
  2. It is worth while…
  3. Well, I could do that, I suppose…
  4. Yes, I think it’s advisable to do that…

13)    Give the main idea of the text. Write down one phrase.

14)    Develop the following:

There are several areas of friction among journalists and public relations people, including name-calling, excessive hype and promotion, advertising pressures, sloppy reporting, and tabloid journalism.