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At the centre of media controversy, tabloids continue to be the best-read newspapers in Britain. Competing for the largest group of the British newspaper readers, these papers have been criticized for abandoning their journalistic responsibility, to the detriment of society and the media climate at large. Yet, little research has been conducted on the reception of tabloid journalism. Building on the ongoing debate about popular journalism and “tabloidization”, this article draws on focus groups and interviews with 55 male and female young adult readers of the Sun and the Daily Mirror, the two circulation leaders among the popular tabloids. It provides an analysis of readers' experiences of what is often perceived of as typically “trivial” tabloid journalism, such as human interest, sport and celebrity stories, with the aim of providing a better understanding of the popularity of this kind of newspaper content. In doing so, readers' experiences are related to day-to-day routines and the social structures surrounding these, and the article shows how tabloid newspaper reading links with a wider social context.
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Keywords: celebrity journalism; newspaper reading; tabloid readers; tabloidization; tabloids

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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