Tabloids: A Representation of what we consider News
Why is it that every time we see that someone is keeping a journal we have that gut urge to sneak into their bag and read all of their innermost thoughts? We all experience it. Although most want to deny it, there is no escaping that part of us that wants to know all we can about other people. Luckily, there is a medium that lets us do just that. Tabloids make the lives of others, especially celebrities, an open book for all to read and scrutinize. Not only do tabloids offer the lives of others on a silver platter, but they also let readers get sensational satisfaction, meaning they have the ability to be actively involved in articles with all their senses. Emotional stories, graphic images, terrifying fantastic epics, the lives of others, are all presented to readers in one convenient medium; the tabloid.
The tabloid is not a new medium whatsoever, in fact the model for the modern tabloid dates all the way back to folklore. Before the printing press was introduced into society, oral storytelling was the only way society satisfied their craving for scandal and thrilling stories. People spoke about their neighbor’s business and far-fetched happenings, and the only way to pass those stories on was to tell the story. Just like a game of telephone that we have all played in grade school, stories ended up changing and being misconstrued to later form urban legends that we still hear about today.
It wasn’t until Johann Gutenberg introduced the printing press in the 1450’s that the ancestors of tabloids truly emerged in a form that specifically helped to shape the modern tabloid we see today. America and Europe experienced a monumental transformation because of the printing press. Ballads, a piece of writing that usually was constructed in a poem or song-like prose, were the earliest form of tabloids recorded in history. Ballads would be put together in an interesting and easy to read style which was easy for the public to understand. The newly semiliterate public was looking for something easy and entertaining to read. Ballads would explore mysterious happenings, tragedy, miracles, and epic stories that would engage the public.
Because the demand for such stories like these was so high, those who published ballads would often take stories that interested people the most, and reshape them. They would recycle the stories by changing dates, characters, or locations. The stories being told in ballads would often times be stories told in the past, just changed in order to make them seem more up to date. Urban legends would be reiterated in numerous different versions. Without the sufficient evidence to prove the validity of the stories, ballads would often support its stories by claiming the story was formulated from eye witnesses or credible sources that got their information from word of mouth.
Along with ballads, religious publications that emerged with the...