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Tabloid journalism

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Tabloid journalism is a style of journalism that emphasizes sensational crime stories, gossip columns about celebrities and sports stars, extreme political views from one perspective, junk food news, and astrology. Although it is associated with tabloid-size newspapers, not all newspapers associated with tabloid journalism are tabloid size, and not all tabloid-size newspapers engage in tabloid journalism; in particular, since about 2000 many broadsheet newspapers converted to the more compact tabloid format. Tabloid journalism often concerns itself with rumors about the private lives of celebrities. In some cases, celebrities have successfully sued for libel, demonstrating that tabloid stories have defamed them.

Notable publications engaging in tabloid journalism include the National Enquirer, National Examiner, 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 United Kingdom.

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>>Male Presenter: So, welcome everyone. Today we are very fortunate to have three big-name Bay Area sports journalists with us. [chuckles] Closest to me, we have King Kaufman, who spent several years at and is currently working on Bleacher Report. Just to his side is Ethan Sherwood Strauss, or [Strauss responds off the microphone] >>Male Presenter: Yes. [chuckles] Yes. He, currently he works on the ESPN TrueHoop blog as well as and you've also done some work for Salon in the past. And then on the end there we have Tim Kawakami, who writes for the San Jose Mercury-News. And this is gonna be, I guess, a bit of a panel discussion here, but we'll hear from each of our speakers for about ten or fifteen minutes and then we'll have some time at the end for some questions. So, Ethan, if you wanna come up to the microphone, please. Thanks. >>Ethan Sherwood Strauss: Hi everybody. And thanks to Tim and King for coming out here. It's just fantastic just to spend some time in this space with two of my favorite sports writers. And thanks so much to Justin for inviting us out. Well, I think the idea is we're talking about sports journalism today from a multitude of perspectives,three. And my particular perspective is more of a small-time, scrapping, trying to knock at the door of the business, and trying to really make it in sports journalism. And I love it. I really do. It's fantastic. I've been a fan of it for years. I've been a fan of sports for years, obviously, and a fan of sports writers. And it's been great so far, despite the frustrations it has. And what are the frustrations? [Ethan Sherwood Strauss laughs] Which is my segue [chuckles] to basically some of the things that are interesting to me so far, now that I've been writing in public and on ESPN. Well, the irony of sports writing to me is that you talk about this thing that everybody loves, or at least, a lot of people love. People love sports, but so much of the feedback you get is negative. It's very emotional. It's very angry. And I think that some of that has to do with just creating things in a public space and the nature of the internet and the way people feel comfortable anonymously sniping. I think, to paraphrase Tina Fey, I think she once said that if you're ever feeling too good about yourself, there's this thing called the internet. And, [laughter] I think that rings true. But I do believe that with sports, fans tend to react more vituperatively and on a more emotional level. And I think it's a unique beast. And why is it a unique beast? Why is this so? I think because sports often are this environment where people are living vicariously through the participants. When fans watch their favorite players on TV, they're really, they've bought stock in their favorite player getting assessed and him winning and our collective praise of that player. So when you slight that player, or that team, or it's a perceived slight, then they take it personally. It's like you insulted them. And it's very interesting to me. Take a Derek Rose fan. He's a really popular player on the Chicago Bulls. He's gonna win MVP. I've gotten angry emails from fans about this particular player and I think it's because they feel sort of one with Derek Rose, even though he's a total stranger. And this, the angry emails were my masculinity gets put into question. It's usually in a way that's either homophobic or sexist and I think it's different from actually the writing at, where King once hired me as an intern. I think many of the comments there more pertains to intellectual vanity. The commenter wants to prove he's smarter than you on a political issue, in the political arena. But this, in this way, may of the fans of sports, they wanna prove that they're tougher than you are. Or that you're a little girl [chuckles]. So, I find that curious. I also think that, much like the Salon commenter, in the sports arena, I'm deriving my masculinity and my identity from proving that I'm smarter than this commenter, or smarter than the conventional wisdom. So basically, the upshot is that we're all crazy, I think, [laughs] is my eloquent way of putting it. So, how did I get into this? Well, much like the angry commenter, it was out of frustration. A while back, I had come back from New York with my tail between my legs, having worked NBA PR. I couldn't find a job and I had a lot of free time. So, I just wanted a respite. I wanted something enjoyable to do. And so I sought out the Golden State Warriors. And as anyone who follows the Golden State Warriors, might be able [chuckles] to jump ahead of me in the conclusion. It was not relaxing. Indeed, it was actually just more frustrating. [laughs] And born from that frustration, I started writing about them online and trying to convert some of that negativity, some of that free time in my own life plus frustration with the team into something positive and creative. And it's worked well. It's gotten the ball rolling. It's gotten me doing stuff that I think is creative and fun, despite the carping I'm doing about commenters. And it's really put me on the path to making my avocation my vocation, which is great. And since, obviously I think you can deduce that I hate proper segues, [chuckles] what is the state of basketball writing today from my perspective? I think to a consumer it's fantastic. And I mean, I mainly consider myself a consumer. With the internet and with the blogs and there are so many perspectives and so many talented people trying to parse this sport in so many different ways. We have more information in general. We have Synergy Sports, which can just give you any basketball play that you could ever desire from any player and categorize that. And you just learn more and more. Not only that, but we have more advanced statistics to inform you as to what the hell's happening in the game. And well, as Rob Mahoney of the New York Times' "Off the Dribble" Blog elucidated we're sort of screwed in that respect because we're never ever going to completely figure basketball out despite our advanced statistics in it. It's just exciting to try. And you just have more information and the journey is more fun than it ever has been before. So, for a consumer, it's great. For a writer, eh. I mean, it has its upsides and downsides. Economically, it's certainly tough out there. It's tough to get paid. Monetizing content is a broader issue and one that, this is just one small facet underneath that umbrella of the problem of monetizing content. So, just know that many of the basketball writers and sports writers out there are doing it out of love, probably against their wiser inclinations. And emotionally, many writers have dismissed the effect and impact of the negative feedback that I mentioned earlier. But I just think that it has to have some sort of effect, positive or negative. Positive, all the negative feedback that you might get from writing about sports perhaps it would make you stronger and tougher and more inclined to search within for what you think is honest and true and correct and just develop a thick skin. But you could go the other way. I mean, perhaps that you would just become more inclined to say something conventional and not get drowned in torrents of internet flame and internet rage. And so, I think it could go one of two ways, but it certainly has an impact and that's really interesting to me. It's a new medium. Essentially, the internet has returned us to Elizabethan England where you perform on stage and you get rotted fruit and vegetables thrown at you immediately. So, I just think it's an interesting by-product of the times and I think that it does have an impact on the profession. On the balance, the creative community is great in basketball. I'm assuming it is for baseball. I'm not a big follower of baseball. I know that King and Tim are. And I also want to mention that Tim does a lot of great basketball work. I forgot, too. It's part of why the creative community is so great. Not only do you have young bloggers within the ESPN TrueHoop network, but you have guys in print who are adopting some of the fantastic aspects of social media and Tim has a fantastic blog that has a great command of tone and has a lot of reporting and breaking news combined with the great voice and tone and opinion. So, there's so much out there for the consumer. The community is great. I think a lot of the bloggers, even though writers are by their nature narcissistic and insecure and all that stuff, they work well together and we work against our worser baser instincts and we, it's pretty much good times. So, I'm just gonna quickly go through my frustrations because that's what started me on this path in the first place. What could be better about basketball writing? I think that, I don't think that we police ourselves well. I don't think that we really question writers who use anonymous sources too often, or who use anonymous sources for the wrong reasons so as to insult a guy in a snarky way with no name attached. I think that's unethical and immoral, but yet, I don't see other writers really calling out that kind of behavior. So I think that's one of the reasons why it persists. And I think I'm part of the problem in that respect. I'm hypocritical for even bringing it up because I think a lot of people are in my position of economic insecurity and not wanting to burn bridges and that's why we don't go, "Hey, that's not the way to report this. That's not the way you should do it." So, that's a frustration. I also would say that my second frustration pertains to race in sports. Sports are just fraught with racial issues. I mean basketball. It's a majority black sport with a majority white fan base and majority white coaches and owners and all that stuff. So, obviously there are racial tensions and racial issues, but white sports writers, my ethnic ilk, they just don't want to talk about that for the most part. And there are just two ways it goes. It's either they say race is not an issue on a particular issue because they're angry at an athlete, like Barry Bonds or LeBron James, and race can't be an issue because otherwise their opinion might, they might be in a sticky situation. So, the one way white sports writers go about it is to say for the most part, and I'm generalizing here, there are some who make good comments and observations. But the way they go about it is to just dismiss the issue entirely. Or, if they think that race is an issue, then they just don't wanna talk about it and believe that there are great black journalists and reporters who do talk about these issues. But I think that conversation is worse or the majority of sports writers, and that would be white sports writers, to just ignore all of the sociology of sports and a lot of these tensions. I don't think that makes the conversation better. So, those are my frustrations and I'm ending when I'm talking about that being as starting my whole journey in this process in the first place. So I might as well. And thank you so much for having me and we're gonna be doing questions at the end. And King, are you up right now? Is it, >>King Kaufman: responds off microphone >>Ethan Sherwood Strauss: Oh Tim's gonna go? OK. Cool. >>Tim Kawakami: Thank you. I'm Tim Kawakami with San Jose Mercury-News. I think I'm representing old journalism in this and knowing that probably about two more years left of old journalism. So, if there are any job openings, please let me know. And in fact, that is what I tell people. I have high school kids or college kids asking me, "How do I get a job?" And I tell them, in sports writing in particular, you cannot follow my path. You can't go to journalism school, which I did at Northwestern. You can't get internships, like I did. You can't work your way up through newspapers. I started in Philadelphia and worked my way back here. 'Cause those jobs aren't available. None of those jobs are available. I say, "Go get a job at Google and figure out how to get started writing there." I don't know that they do that at Google, but I don't understand how you would do it and that's what we're all figuring out. I won't go through the whole spiel because I'm certainly, any questions are probably gonna be better than anything I say. But I do find myself, I'm watching Deadwood right now. I don't know if you guys watch that, the HBO show, which I'm loving right now in DVD. It's an unincorporated land where they’re mining for gold in the 1870s. Part of no country. Part of no state. They're all just trying to fend for themselves. And I do find myself thinking like I'm in Deadwood right now. I'm not sure if I'm the bad-assed whorehouse runner or I'm the broke bartender or perhaps I'm one of the whores. I don't know. We're all figuring out. We all have jobs, the ones of us who do. I got a pretty good one and I don't wanna lose it. But I don't know that,we're looking for Montana to annex us, or South Dakota to annex us, or the Navajo Nation to annex us. 'Cause we're going away. We're not attached to anything that's gonna last very much longer. We don't like to admit it, but it's true. What we do, the journalism that we do, is important and I think people will continue to want to read, whether it's sports or world news or politics, obviously. There are more people reading us and more people wanting to read us than ever before. They're just not paying for it. And we're hoping the iPad application works out for us. I don't know that that's gonna be the savior. We're hoping for a whole lot of things. We don’t know. And we're trying to find out how we're gonna get attached and it's not specific to the newspaper. Each person in the newspaper is trying to figure out how we're gonna attach. And that's where I come in for here, is I'm just grabbing at anything. I would say up to the year 2007, newspaper journalism was pretty much the same for the last 50 years. And then from 2007 to now, it has changed more than it has ever changed from 1940 to 2007. There's blogging. Now, there's Twitter, tweeting, which I'm doing all these things. The appropriate thing for me to say is, conveniently for me, I might have been a decent columnist in my day, I don't know. I'm a much better blogger than I was a columnist. I'm a much better tweeter than I was a blogger. And whatever comes next, I might be better at that, too. I just shapes, it fits my thinking. I like fast things. I like quick comments. I like being embedded in the situation. Go to the Chinese game yesterday and ask about Brandon Bell, the big prospect, if he's gonna make the team. I like getting that out quick. I like spinning it quick. I like knowing the back story and putting that out fast, not wandering in the forest, jumping into something and grabbing onto it, whether it's the Warriors, whether it's the 49ers. When they're hiring their coach, Jim Harbaugh, and he had five other offers, I was tweeting that and it got 2500 new Twitter followers in two days, because I was on top of it, generally was not wrong on it. Generally, people were wanting to know about that. And whatever is next up after Twitter, I'm gonna be on that, too. Whether that keeps me going through my employment history, I don't know. But that's why we're all kinda, I don't know. And I don't know when 19-year olds ask me what are they gonna do, I tell them, "You tell me what we're gonna do, 'cause you're the one who's gonna decide it. ’Cause I don't know what the jobs are gonna be." I'm one of the youngest sports writers, main sports writers, in Bay Area newspaper sports writing. That's pretty bad. 'Cause I ain't young. We're not building up that next generation. The next generation of sports writers is Ethan, or is, maybe not him, though. I'd be disappointed if it was. It's a lot different. Well, Bleacher Report, which is one of my arch enemies, by the way, and I don't think King is specifically representative of that, or maybe he is. But that's part of the fun for it for me, too. Bleacher Report has attacked me and I've attacked them and we've gone back and forth. And again, I don't know if it's been King or not, but it's OK. I don't mind it 'cause if I can't stand it, then I shouldn't do it. And if they can't stand it, they shouldn't do it either. And we're both still standing. And that's OK. There's certain things that have gone on that I don't like between various other things. There's certain things that I've done that other people haven't liked. Other old journalism people haven't liked that. I don't mind it. I think that's part of it. I don't mind Al Davis yelling at me and people like to laugh about that. A back and forth and accountability that isn't just for the sports people, which I do believe they must be accountable. But for me, too. I don't mind it. I don't mind people. You know, I turned on the radio once just going home from watching the Warriors game on TV at my dad's house, turned on KNBR and I heard my name on the post-game show about 17 times. What is going on here? It's because I had a controversial position about David Lee, one of their players. The talk show host was talking about my opinion, how wrong it was and callers were calling up saying how wrong I was. I said, "Is this a show about me or about the Warriors?" I don't mind that. It perhaps means I've been accused of being too much involved. I involve myself too much, but I also think that's part of the new journalism, if I'm gonna be part of it. It's partially participatory, not "I am the story," or "Ethan is the story," or "King is the story," but how that story bounces off of us and how that is reflected by us. And if it stinks, if what I'm doing is wrong, what I love about it is you don't have to read it. In fact, you probably won't read it. You don't have to buy a newspaper. In fact, I guarantee most of you do not buy the San Jose Mercury News. If you read it, you read it for free. It's a push of the button. It's a click. If it's not being delivered to you by what I'm doing, then you're gonna go click to somebody else. And if it's TrueHoop, if it's Bush Report, if it's Google News, I don't know. It won't necessarily be judged by what your father bought and what his father bought and what is delivered on your doorstep. And I like that. I don't mind competing in that marketplace. If it's gonna be Deadwood, then I'm gonna have a couple guns on me and I'm gonna play some poker. And if I survive, I survive. And if I don't, I don't. And I'm kinda combative like that if you might have been able to tell. But I'm certainly, any other questions beyond the Deadwood analogy, I'd be happy to talk about, but I'm gonna pass it on to King here. >>King Kaufman: Hi. I'm King Kaufman. My background is similar to Tim. I went to journalism school and started in newspapers. I worked in the old Hearst San Francisco Examiner, which is not the same paper that you see today as the San Francisco Examiner. It was the afternoon paper. And Tim said something interesting a minute ago. He said that newspapers hadn't changed for about 50 years until 2007. And I left the Examiner. I left newspapers at the beginning of 1996. And the reason I left is 'cause someone offered me a job. But the reason I leaped was because the world was clearly changing around us. And the newspaper I worked for, the entire newspaper industry was not changing with it. And it said. It was a huge industrial failure for newspapers to not react until whenever they did,2007 or 2003 or whenever it was. >>Tim Kawakami: 2003. >>King Kaufman: Yeah, the mic. You have to turn the mic on at the bottom. But he said he couldn't agree with me more. [audience laughs] >>Tim Kawakami: [shouting] I couldn't agree with him more. >>King Kaufman: Yeah. He agrees with me. And newspapers just completely failed to react to the internet except to react with fear and loathing. We ran endless stories in the Examiner about how the internet was nothing but a bunch of pedophiles and to lock it up from your kids. And we did nothing about this. I mean, our audience was voting with their feet as quickly as they could, as quickly as the technology came online, that this is how we want our information. And, at least while I was still there, we were doing nothing about it. I went, eventually, after one or two other jobs, I went to, where I worked for 14 years until this past January. And I did a lot of things there. Most of what, if anybody knows my name, because I wrote a sports column there for seven years. And I recently, two months ago, took a job at Bleacher Report, which Tim mentioned. [microphone feedback] So, sorry. And the person who runs the Bleacher Report Twitter feed, which is not me, likes to go back and forth with Tim. I think that's what he's referring to. [Tim Kawakami responds off the microphone] >>King Kaufman: OK. Bleacher Report has been an education for me after more than 20 years in this business. And I wanna tell you a little bit about why that's been. The epiphany that Bleacher Report has taught me, and working there has been like learning a foreign language. And what really dawned on me is that journalism is practiced as an art form. I don't think the people, I don't think those of us who do it would use those words. We wouldn't say we're artists, but basically the decisions made are mostly aesthetic. We think this is what we should cover because it's our judgment that we should cover these things. The marketplace plays a part. You cover the Giants and not the local Pony League because more people are gonna read about the Giants. But there's certain things. You cover the water board because you have to, because that's your judgment that it's important. What makes a good story beyond the basics of "it can't be plagiarized" and that sort of thing, what makes a good story is an aesthetic choice. We know it when we see it. We judge what is a good story. It makes us feel a certain way. And then you make some concessions to the marketplace, like "well we have to cover the Giants," or it may not be the most important thing in the world that there's a Megan Fox movie coming out, but we're gonna run three feature stories this week about Megan Fox. That's a marketplace decision. Bleacher Report is the opposite of that. To Bleacher Report, what is a good story is the one that gets the most hits. And at least in the early part of the company, the early history of the company, which has only been live for about three years I think, the quality of it has been secondary. Essentially, it's a product company. It's not an art company. The product is content for sports fans. And it acts the same way it would act if it were making a car or a piece of software:figure out what the demand is and try to supply the demand the customers. And here's what has been really fascinating to me, learning about this, is that a couple of months ago I would've said, "This is a recipe for disaster." If you approach content that way, you'll do nothing but lowest common denominator crap and it'll be horrible. And a lot of what Bleacher Report has done has been lowest common denominator crap and it's been horrible. But what Bleacher Report has learned, and what I've learned, is one of the things the market demands is quality. And Bleacher Report has in the last six months, I'm not exactly sure how long 'cause I've only been there for two months, but it's why I was hired, is in this effort to raise the quality of the writing at Bleacher Report. Why are we doing that? 'Cause the market's demanding it. The Bleacher Report reached a point where it couldn't make that next level of deal, whatever company was saying, "We're not gonna put our logo next to your logo 'cause you guys are publishing crap." And so, OK, that's the market speaking. And the readers complaining on Twitter, complaining everywhere, complaining in our comments. "This is a crap article." "Bleacher Report is terrible." It was not a decision made by the CEO who got tired of his friend's saying at parties, "Boy, Bleacher Report's content is terrible." It was strictly a market-based decision to increase the quality. And I was hired as part of that effort to educate our writers. We have a huge roster of unpaid writers. You have to apply to write, but anybody can apply. And if you're good enough, you start writing about your favorite teams in sports. And the, . what we are hoping is that you will take advantage of our editing resources and our educational resources and our feedback, and you improve as a writer and there's various steps that you can go through to get to the top of the writing pyramid. And at the very top there are some paid positions, but most of the people writing for us are writing for free. And this is what Tim and Ethan were talking about and I'd be happy to talk about it, too. It's hard out here for a sports writer because there's an awful lot of content and there's a lot of people who are willing to create that content without getting paid for it, or without getting paid very much. So, it's awfully hard to justify the idea you're gonna pay somebody to do it when you can get people to do it for free. It's not impossible to justify that and there's good reasons to pay people and there's good reasons to pay some people a lot of money. But it's made it a much tougher market for simple, lemonade stand reasons. But that's been the fascinating thing for me is learning about how the market can demand quality and the market asked us to raise the quality of what we're doing. And we are in the process of trying to do that. And so, that's where our little corner of sports writing today is, is we are a voice for fans. We let fans write about their favorite teams and sports if they're good enough. And some of them are just fans. Some of them are Google workers by day, sports writers by nights. Some of them are people like Ethan, or a lot of them are a lot younger than Ethan, high school and college students, and they're just aspiring sports writers and this is a way for them to get some training and get some feedback and get their work in front of a pretty large audience. And it's just been fascinating to me. So, that's my spiel on Bleacher Report on the state of journalism today. I don't know where we wanna go from here. If anybody has any questions for us, I guess. Do we have any questions from the web? >>Male Presenter: So, we have one question internally. Somebody said, "My son is a freshman in college and is pursuing a sports management journalism major. What recommendations do you have for him as he looks to get into this competitive field?" >>King Kaufman: What's he studying? >>Male Presenter: It was sports management slash journalism. >>Tim Kawakami: I said it before, I tell people, "Go work for Google." I don't know where those jobs are coming from. That's, they're not coming from a newspaper and that's been the training ground for years and years. Whether you start in newspapers, a lot of the Yahoo or the formerly AOL FanHouse or writers came from newspapers. The best ones did, that's for sure. That's not happening now and now writers are coming up from other places that are not newspapers. So, the normal pathway is not there anymore. It's very hard to say what it is, other than I think Ethan is an example I've used and I can use some other people, is you just go find a place to write if you're gonna write and someone discovers you. And Bleacher Report is gonna be one of those places. And whether that morphs into something bigger as a reporter or morphs into something at another website, probably not a newspaper. I think that's how that's happening and I see it, how many different NBA bloggers are out there now that just created something, ThePointForward, various other sites have just kinda morphed out of nothing and I don't know how much money they're making, but they're making some. And they're creating careers out of this. And it's not the path that I know, unfortunately. But I think good writing is sought after. People wanna read it. Good analysis. The only word I have is a lot that is happening for people who aren't out there covering teams every day and asking questions. Ethan's out there. But a lot of people I read aren't. And I worry about that because, we were just talking about this at lunch, the one thing that I think is very important that might be getting lost is if I write something that is tough on somebody, I know I'm gonna get yelled at very soon afterwards by that person. And it has happened a lot. And it affects what I write, but it does not affect how I write, or even vice versa. I'm not even sure if I said that correctly. I don't want the next generation of writers, or the next many generations of writers not having that background where if I write something bad about Al Davis, I'm gonna hear about it from the Raiders the next day. That's OK. Because it's important that I write what I write and knowing that they're gonna react in a certain way. >>King Kaufman: Yeah. I just wanna say I agree with Tim that if you wanna be a writer, you write, that you find a way to write. You find a place to write. And the great thing today is when we were starting out, if you wanted to write and have somebody read it, you had to convince somebody to let them work for you. And there are only so many of those spots available. And now, everybody's a newspaper. Everybody's a publisher and you start writing your own blog, or you start writing for some place like Bleacher Report or ESPY Nation or any one of a number of places that are hosting writers and you get your work out there. And if you're good and if you're passionate about it, you'll be doing it a lot and you'll start to build an audience. And you have to go out and work it. You have to make those connections. You have to try to get access so that you can do, it's not just writing, as Tim points out. There's also the reporting edge of it and that's harder to get into because there can't be that open market for access because you just can't fit. The world can fit 50000 NBA bloggers, but you can’t put 50000 people in the Celtics locker room. So, that's a harder part of it. But you start writing and that's the way to get somewhere. Find a place where you can get people reading you. And you can create that place on or any other place. >>Male Presenter: I think Tim and King covered that question quite well. Is there a question in the back? >>MALE AUDIENCE MEMBER #1: I'm not sure this is even relevant to today, but we don't have a whole lot of other people waiting, so I'll try this. [chuckles] I went to Sundance and saw 13 movies and my favorite was Big Fan. Did any of you guys see that? >>Ethan Sherwood Strauss: Yes, yes I did. >>MALE AUDIENCE MEMBER #1: So, it's about the relationship of the fan to his favorite player. The guy actually gets beaten up by his favorite player. [chuckles] >>Ethan Sherwood Strauss: Quantrell Bishop, I believe. >>MALE AUDIENCE MEMBER #1: Yeah. So through a lot of this event, I just wanted to bring that up and see what you thought of that movie. >>Ethan Sherwood Strauss: I thought it was a very good movie and it made me feel actually a little sad and pathetic as a sports fan and a sports writer. And how you know it's good. If a movie makes you feel a little, if it makes you feel anything, [chuckles] especially shame, then it's probably doing something right. And I think I sort of touched on that when I spoke earlier about how it is a little ridiculous to watch sports and to be a fan these complete strangers. And I think, at least for men, and I'm speaking from that perspective, a lot of times it's as though we're trying to siphon masculinity from these warriors. [chuckles] And we're trying to feel more manly vicariously through them. And I think that was something that movie lampooned. And it's certainly something I do on a certain level and it's certainly something that's a little bit ridiculous. So, that would be my response to your question. >>Male Presenter: Any other? OK. MALE AUDIENCE MEMBER #2: Just wanted to follow up on one point that you guys both made, Tim and King, on access. And the question I really have is do you think that quality has been forever compromised with a decline in access. I know when I was, maybe ten years ago, I don't even like baseball, but I used to love reading Peter Gammons 'cause I knew that he talked to everybody. He knew exactly what was going on. He had the inside scoop. And if he said the Giants were gonna be good, then the Giants were gonna be good. No offense to Ethan, but if somebody else said the Giants were gonna be good but he didn't have that sort of inside knowledge, I'm gonna have less interest in reading. Given like all the other channels now that teams have, the players have their own Twitter feeds and blogs and teams, I think, are much more savvy about the way they put the information out, letting in behind the scenes, do you think that we'll ever have that again where you have that truly unique access and voice that professional writers used to have, given their relationship with the teams they cover? >>King Kaufman: I think you have more access today than you had 15 years ago reading Peter Gammons. And I don't think you even realize how much you know today that you wouldn't have known 15 years ago. Like you say, the teams put out more information. The players have, I mean, any source, any story has access to you directly. You hear and see more than ever would have been heard or seen when everything that you had to know had to come through Peter Gammons and however many other beat-writers your local team had. There will always be some access. There's always gonna be somebody who's got that access, whether it's the Peter Gammons' type, or they'll start letting the top bloggers in. They're never gonna close the clubhouse. I don't think that, even if Tim is right and newspapers are going away, some thing or somebody will take their place. So, I think the access is getting better all the time. Although, countervailing that is that like you say, teams are getting savvier all the time. And they are smarter about what they, how they train people and what they are willing to say. And they know they are being watched 24/7, but they are being watched 24/7. >>Tim Kawakami: I just wanted to make a point that I love, 'cause I do talk about this, it does, credibility isn't something you can just go out and grab. And Gammons, probably more so five, ten years ago than now, but people like Gammons have earned it because not they're the one that you see. They're the one you trust. And my old retort was "it's gonna come out in the wash." There's a thousand people maybe writing now. The five best ones are the ones who are gonna last because they're the ones people want to read and they care about reading. And whether their newspaper goes down, or ESPN doesn't hire them, but however, if they're good, they're good and people are going to trust them and gonna believe in what they write and will want to read what they write the next day. That always is my definition. Something big happens, who do I wanna read? I wanna read this person, period. And what you speak to, is that sort of sensibility. I think it will come out in the wash. I think people do vote with their fingers now and the audience is gonna be there. But the strainer is gonna be more immense now because it's instead of a hundred people to choose from, like King said, it's a thousand, it's 15 thousand, it's the Twitter feed, it's, it's Fox Network. Katie Rosenthal writes for Fox: very authoritative. All the writers for very authoritative. In San Francisco, we may have a few of our own. I'm not gonna name them because if I leak people out, I wouldn't want to do that. But it's gonna take that sense of "I need to read somebody accountable and I don't necessarily need to read the five people the team wants me to read." The Warriors maybe do this. Maybe other teams don't do it as much as the Warriors do. But that is always gonna be worth something. Websites are paying for people who have this kind of ability, nationally more so than locally. Unfortunately for many of us, the money is in the national news. But it's still gonna be there because people still wanna read it. 'Cause you wanna read it because many people are like you. It's taken more time than I would like it to have. I wish there was a more marketplace in the Bay Area. This is a big place. We don't have that. ESPN has gone to LA, New York, Chicago, Dallas, with varying levels of success. I still think it's gonna be needed. I just don't, and again what I don't know and the frustrating matter for me is that I don't know who's gonna pay us for it. Comcast is now hiring writers and with some amount of credibility and some with great credibility. I'm still a little leery of that because in the Giants zone, 40% of them they have contracts with all the teams. I had my own blow-up with them over the Warriors. Again, I have marginal faith in something like that. It's still possible. And they still need people to trust what they're writing isn't coming strictly from an athlete or a team. And I do think they are out there and they will continue to be out there. >>Ethan Sherwood Strauss: I think the money-making, or at least the wealthier sports publications, respect and just crave writers with access, maybe even to a fault in some instances. Although, I should take that back. Not to a fault, but they crave people with access. That's why Brian Windhorst, he covered the Cavs. He knows everything about LeBron James. He's been following him since, I believe, middle school. And he was the Cleveland Plain Dealer writer. Well, when ESPN set up a blog to cover the Miami Heat, they brought Brian Windhorst along. Why did they bring him along? I mean, he's a Cavs writer. Well, they brought him along because he has access to everybody in LeBron's camps. So, I think that companies do value that and I also think from the team side, they'll try to restrict access and they'll try to sanitize it for the sake of their PR, but I think they know that even bad publicity is publicity. And if you grant access to writers and you just have more people out there talking about your team, even if it's negative, there's a value in that. So I think that it will always be around. And I guess what I also want to say is that there are more ways to contribute value than just having access. You can be a great writer. You can have an artistic way of conveying your thoughts. You can be very smart about statistical modeling and be able to know something about the outcomes and how good a team is that perhaps the guy who's embedded in the clubhouse doesn't. So, there are various ways to provide value. And the best way to get noticed is to be good. >>Male Presenter: Any other questions? >>MALE AUDIENCE MEMBER #3: So first of all, thank you so much for being here and I'm gonna ask a question which nobody really knows the answer to, but I wanted to get your three perspectives on it anyways. Which is, the million dollar question, up until 2007 the newspaper industry has been very similar for the last 50 years and it's been going through a lot of extreme changes. From all three of you, how do you predict over the next 20 years, 30 years, that journalists will be paid? And what types of new revenue models might we find if any? Or, will it be closer to there's so many people creating content that 80, 90% of them are doing it for not enough to get paid a full living's worth? And then there's the 10, 20% that have that access, that have the job at ESPN. Or could it be that, sorry, could it be that maybe a newspaper like the SF Chronicle isn't as much of a way that people make money but there's personal blogs where the overhead is a lot lower, but it's enough to cover a single person's living? Just wanted to get everybody's thoughts on that. >>Ethan Sherwood Strauss: OK. I guess I'll go first. I can tell you how I personally handle that problem of not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from, or not knowing if it will be sustainable in the future. And for now, that's just not having kids. [laughter] Or planning to have kids anytime soon, mixed with some naiveté and the hopeful belief that since I love this and since it's a passion of mine and perhaps in my grandiosity I feel like I have something to offer that eventually I'll be able to make money on it somehow become a star in the field. So, I handle it with narcissism, naiveté, hopefulness. And I don't know what's coming around the corner, but I know in the current state I feel good about what I'm doing. And I'm just hoping and praying and I'm sure Tim and King have some good answers. >>Tim Kawakami: I can say that I don't think newspapers are gonna survive. They're not. But I more talking in specific a newspaper that's printed on newsprint and delivered to homes and has advertisements for cars and classified ads for apartments. That's what's gone. Going to go. It's not gone yet. It's still paying me, thank God. I think we've seen that the titles mean something. We haven't seen these newspapers fold, or many of them, a few of them, despite the prospect of, very little prospect in the future of making the kind of money that these companies want. My dearest hope [chuckles] is that the titles mean enough that when the transition happens, and I mention the iPad app. There's various ideas floating around about iTunes like payment, micropayment structures. I don't know if I believe that's actually gonna work or not, but at least there's ideas out there that we should have been thinking about as gains. We should have been thinking about it since 1995, but we didn't. The title itself, that what, again, without planning it, the reason why I blog, the reason why I tweet, the reason why I do those, or I'm on the radio and they don't pay you when you're a guest on the radio, unfortunately, is that if and when there's a time when they streamline newspaper or whatever is next, and I'm just gonna say it's newspapers. Say there's a San Jose Mercury-News idea, maybe not printed up, or maybe it's a weekly, or maybe it's something other, or some other form, the actual reporting and the website will have enough behind it where that will be enough. The San Jose Mercury-News is an ideal. It still means something to people. If the San Jose Mercury-News says something--. If I put--. I'm not the first. If I blog something and reporters across the nation quoted the San Jose Mercury-News, it really wasn't the San Jose Mercury-News. It was my blog that says San Jose Mercury-News host. They don't edit it. And they don't write the headlines. They don't monitor the reporting. They trust me with it. And if I was, again, would go into the marketplace here, if I was bad at it I assume that people wouldn't read it to the level that they do. The same goes with my Twitter feed. They don't touch my Twitter feed, it's; I push a button. It goes up. That idea that the Mercury-News, even if people aren't reading the newspaper, which they aren't very much anymore, [audience member sneezes] means something. It carries me. The next thing, when there's an idea that we can monetize this that it will mean something in whatever it is. But it hasn't folded. The LA Daily News loses money, owned by my company, loses God knows how much money every day. San Francisco Chronicle loses God knows how much money every day. We don't. We don't make enough. And they have not folded. There's a reason for this. In my optimistic world, it's because they still, the title, still means something that if the title goes away, I don't know what replaces it that is anything even close to it. So, when we figure out a way, an economic model, and again, I don't like, and those people are very much still the ones who ignored the changes in the late '90s are still very much the same people trying to figure out what the moves are now. I would have much more faith in any cross-section of people who I saw walking around this campus today than the people running. And I hope the people running this paper are not looking at this right now, [chuckles lightly] but when there's something, and the marketplace will find it, I think, I think the titles will still be there. I still might not be there myself, but I think the titles still mean something just because the Chronicle should have closed three years ago if you look at the money of it. It hasn't and I don't think it will. >>King Kaufman: Yeah, I agree. I think that there's tremendous demand. That's not going away. We still have the same demand. I mean, the same societal needs for watchdogs on our institutions and we need to know what's going on in our town with our government and with corporations and we wanna know who won the ball game. And even in sports, I think the demand is ever-growing. And even with, at Bleacher Report with this big tent , come write for us. We have a hard time. We're publishing five, six, seven hundred articles a day and we're having trouble feeding the demand. If we could figure out a way to publish a thousand articles a day, people would read them. The hard part is finding enough people to write them. The fact that writers have gotten paid for writing for newspapers for the last hundred and whatever years, 200 years, is an historical accident. I mean, people really weren't paying for the writing. Nobody was really buying the paper to read about the water board. What we were really selling was a big, giant hunk of paper that had advertising in it. And that's what was subsidizing all this coverage. And that product, that big hunk of paper, has gone away. That doesn't exist anymore. And so, what's left is the part that didn't have as much value as that big piece of paper with all the advertisements in it. And so, we need to figure out some other way to run the business, some other way to subsidize all the writing and reporting. And we haven't found it yet. That's the big project of journalism of the next however many years, is figuring out what that is. It's probably not gonna be one magic bullet thing like, "Oh, here's a substitute for the big hunk of paper." There's lots of different ways that are being tried. There's Spot Us, which is voluntary giving, voluntary payment to, it's a website where you pay to fund certain stories. You're a freelancer, you put up a story idea. "I wanna do this story and if I can raise this much money, I'll do it." And people donate. And if you get to that point, then you do the story. There's non-profits that take donations. There's businesses that are doing other things. There's, which is, that's the company covering itself and putting it at arm's length sometimes and saying, "OK, we don't approve this story, but our writers have some independence." And we all, as intelligent consumers, know, "Well, OK.'s not working. I'm gonna go for the breaking story about the steroids scandal." But for the 90% of the rest of it, I can get it there. And so it's this, it's gonna be this big patchwork of who knows what and nobody knows what it all is, but I'm with Tim in being optimistic about this because there is this huge demand for it. And where there is this kind of demand, our society always figures out a way to fill it. And 200 years ago, compared to us, they were uneducated, ignorant, racist, sexist pig farmers and they figured out a way to cover their society. >>Tim Kawakami: We need to return to that, frankly. I need that back. [laughter] >>King Kaufman: I think we can do it, too. It's just taking time. >>MALE AUDIENCE MEMBER #4: You sort of touched on this, but I was wondering how important it'll be for an aspiring writer to live in a major market. So as before, the idea was to work for the New York Times or the LA Times, 'cause these are large market newspapers with large market sports teams. You could cover the Yankees, Lakers or something. And that could still be important because these teams still play in those areas, but if you're an aspiring sports writer or any other kind of writer, you wanna be affiliated with a major title. I know Ethan, you're affiliated with a national, ESPN is a national title and no one considers it like the Bristol, Connecticut newspaper or whatever. But if you wanted to be, take the next step and become a major national writer, would you have to be based in Los Angeles, or New York, or Chicago? Or, could you still be, let's say, come from Minneapolis or something? Would you have to be located in one of those major markets? >>Tim Kawakami: I'll just come in quickly. It might not be an exact example, but maybe the best, maybe my favorite and maybe the best sports writer in America right now is Joe Posnanski out of Kansas City. >>King Kaufman: I was gonna say the exact same thing. >>Tim Kawakami: Yeah. Kansas City Star columnist was writing miraculous stuff out of there. I couldn't believe how good it was out of that paper. And Jason Whitlock was there also at the same time. And I can't say anymore. He's went to If you have a big vision, if you have a big talent, he would be big, I think, in any town. But because of now of the internet is just a press of the button, and he's the same to me as what The Chronicle is, he's probably even easier for me to read. And at SI now, but he was even easier because San Francisco Chronicle's got a pay wall that I don't subscribe to. If you are, again, it's my free market vision, is that yeah, it's because he writes about big things in a big way, in a way that is compelling to me. Joe Posnanski's in Kansas City. He couldn't be bigger. If he goes to New York, he wouldn't be any bigger than he is right now because he's ridiculously good in Kansas City, because he's found what to write. He writes about big things and he just so happens to be based out of Kansas City. >>King Kaufman: And I think it's a really interesting question because I think 20 years ago, Joe would've had to go to New York to get that job at Sports Illustrated, which is his dream job. I think he probably would've had to move to New York and now he's writing for the Kansas City Star and then he started his own blog, also. And SI came after him and they're happy to have him living and working in Kansas City writing for this national magazine. And I think that's much easier to do today. I mean, he travels all over. He goes to wherever the events are, but that's easier to do now than it probably was 20 or 30 years ago. >>Ethan Sherwood Strauss: Yeah, I think that's a great question. And it's a complicated one to unwrap. It sort of depends on what your approach is. I think Posnanski, he only wants to be known as a writer. I heard on a recent interview on Jonah Keri's podcast he was saying that he doesn't like doing the radio stuff and I think doesn't like doing the TV stuff. But if you do want to expand your brand and be one of those TV or radio guys, it might work out better to be in one of those bigger markets. Jason Whitlock's the counter example. I think he moved to LA in part because there are more TV opportunities there and Fox can help him extend his brand. But as an aspiring sports writer, as a younger guy, I mean you can't even be that choosy. You just have to work where people will hear you. And I know Royce Young does great work covering the Oklahoma City Thunders. He lives in Oklahoma City. He just started blogging about them and his work was good enough to give him recognition and it helps that they're a good team that people pay attention to. But I think that if you're starting out? If you're starting out, market is almost ancillary to what you're trying to accomplish. I think for athletes, big market is more important. Is there another question? >>Male Presenter: Yeah. I think the hour's up, so I just wanna thank King and Ethan and Tim for coming to talk to us. >>King Kaufman: Thank you for having us. [applause]


Supermarket tabloids

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 checkout lines of supermarkets.

In the 1960s, the National Enquirer began selling magazines in supermarkets as an alternative to newsstands. To sweeten the deal with supermarkets, they offered to buy back unsold issues.[1]

Supermarket tabloids are particularly notorious for the over-the-top sensationalizing of stories, the facts of which can often be called into question.[2] 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 (itself 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.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] Other celebrities have attempted to sue tabloid magazines for libel and slander including Richard Simmons in 2017[10] and Phil McGraw in 2016.[9] Both McGraw and Simmons sued The National Enquirer, but only McGraw was successful, winning $250 million.[9]

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.[11] Publisher American Media has been accused of burying stories embarrassing to Arnold Schwarzenegger,[12] Donald Trump,[13] and Harvey Weinstein.[14]

Red tops

Tabloid newspapers in the United Kingdom, collectively called "the tabloid press", tend to be simply and sensationally written and to give more prominence than broadsheets to celebrities, sports, crime stories, and even hoaxes. They also take political positions on news stories: ridiculing politicians, demanding resignations, and predicting election results.[15]

The term "red tops" refers to British tabloids with red mastheads (American English term is nameplate), such as The Sun, the Daily Star, the Daily Mirror, and the Daily Record.[16]

Given the associations with the word tabloid in Britain, it is often not applied to newspapers such as The Times or The Independent that have adopted the physical format of a tabloid, having previously been broadsheets.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "supermarket tabloid". Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  3. ^ Scott, Vernon, "Carol Burnett launches trial balloon,", March 22, 1981, United Press International (UPI), retrieved January 1, 2017.
  4. ^ Lindsey, Robert, "Carol Burnett given 1.6 million in suit against National Enquirer,", March 27, 1981, The New York Times, retrieved January 1, 2017.
  5. ^ "How the Supermarket Tabloids Stay Out of Court," January 4, 1991, The New York Times, retrieved January 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Langberg, Barry (libel attorney for Carol Burnett and others), opinion essay: "Tabloids' Lies Abuse the First Amendment," August 12, 1991, ,"], The Los Angeles Times, retrieved January 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Beam, Alex, "Tabloid Law," Part 1 of two parts, August, 1999, The Atlantic Monthly, retrieved January 1, 2017.
  8. ^ Beam, Alex, "Tabloid Law," Part 2 of two parts, August, 1999, The Atlantic Monthly, retrieved January 1, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Andrews, Travis M., "Dr_ Phil and wife Robin sue the National Enquirer for $250 million, citing defamation," July 14, 2016, The Washington Post, retrieved January 1, 2017.
  10. ^ "Richard Simmons v the National Enquirer". Scribd. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  11. ^ Sullivan, Margaret (November 5, 2016). "'Catch and kill' at National Enquirer gives media one last black eye before election". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  12. ^ Nicholas, Peter; Hall, Carla (August 12, 2005). "Tabloid's Deal With Woman Shielded Schwarzenegger". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Palazzolo, Joe; Rothfield, Michael; Alpert, Lukas (November 4, 2016). "National Enquirer Shielded Donald Trump From Playboy Model's Affair Allegation". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  14. ^ Twohey, Megan; Kantor, Jodi; Dominus, Susan; Rutenberg, Jim; Eder, Steve (December 6, 2017). "Weinstein's Complicity Machine". The New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  15. ^ "Tabloids". AskDefine. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  16. ^ Stephen Brook (6 December 2007). "Red-tops on the rise, survey shows". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2012.


  • Martin Conboy (2006). Tabloid Britain: Constructing a Community Through Language. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-35553-7.
  • Kevin Glynn (2000). Tabloid Culture: Trash Taste, Popular Power, and the Transformation of American Television. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-2550-0.
  • Paula E. Morton (2009). Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture. University Press of Florida. ISBN 978-0-8130-3364-8.
  • Colin Sparks; John Tulloch (2000). Tabloid Tales: Global Debates over Media Standards. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8476-9572-0.
  • Herman Wasserman (2010). Tabloid Journalism in South Africa: True Story!. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-22211-4.
  • Barbie Zelizer, ed. (2009). The Changing Faces of Journalism: Tabloidization, Technology and Truthiness. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-77824-4.
This page was last edited on 7 November 2018, at 21:13
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