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Tabloid journalism is a popular style of largely sensationalist journalism, that take its name from the format: a small-sized newspaper (half broadsheet). But not all newspapers associated with tabloid journalism are tabloid size, and not all tabloid-size newspapers engage in tabloid journalism; in particular, since around the year 2000 many broadsheet newspapers converted to the more compact tabloid format. In some cases, celebrities have successfully sued for libel, demonstrating that tabloid stories have defamed them.
Publications engaging in tabloid journalism are known as rag newspapers. Notable tabloid publications include the National Enquirer and Globe in North America; and the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Record, Sunday Mail, The Sun, and the former News of the World in the UK.
Tabloid journalism has changed over the last decade to more online platforms that seek to target and engage youth consumers with celebrity news and entertainment.
In the United States and Canada, "supermarket tabloids" are large, national versions of these tabloids, usually published weekly. They are named for their prominent placement along the supermarkets checkout lines.
In the 1960s, the National Enquirer began selling magazines in supermarkets as an alternative to newsstands, to help with their rapport with them and continue their franchise within them, they had offered to buy back unsold issues so newer more up to date ones could be displayed.
These tabloids--such as The Globe and the National Enquirer--often use aggressive and usually mean-spirited tactics to sell their issues. Unlike regular tabloid-format newspapers, supermarket tabloids are distributed through the magazine distribution channel, similarly to other weekly magazines and mass-market paperback books. Leading examples include the National Enquirer, Star, Weekly World News (later reinvented as a parody of the style), and the Sun. Most major supermarket tabloids in the U.S. are published by American Media, Inc., including the National Enquirer, Star, The Globe, and National Examiner.
A major event in the history of U.S. supermarket tabloids was the successful libel lawsuit by Carol Burnett against the National Enquirer (Carol Burnett v. National Enquirer, Inc.), arising out of a false 1976 report in the National Enquirer, implying she was drunk and boisterous in a public encounter with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Though its impact is widely debated, it is generally seen as a significant turning point in the relations between celebrities and tabloid journalism, increasing the willingness of celebrities to sue for libel in the U.S., and somewhat dampening the recklessness of U.S. tabloids. Other celebrities have attempted to sue tabloid magazines for libel and slander including Richard Simmons in 2017 and Phil McGraw in 2016.
Tabloids may pay for stories. Besides scoops meant to be headline stories, this can be used to censor stories damaging to the paper's allies. Known as "catch and kill", tabloid newspapers may pay someone for the exclusive rights to a story, then choose not to run it. Publisher American Media has been accused of burying stories embarrassing to Arnold Schwarzenegger,Donald Trump, and Harvey Weinstein.
In the last decade, a lot of tabloid journalism and news production has changed mediums to online formats due to the transition to digital media. This change is to keep up with the era of digital media and allow for increased accessibility of readers. With a steady decline in paid newspapers, the gap has been filled by expected free daily articles, mostly in the tabloid format. Tabloid readers are often youth and studies show that consumers of tabloids are on average less educated. A problem with tabloid journalism is that often it can be inaccurate news and the misrepresentation of individuals and situations.