Professional values and organizational pressures as explanations of tabloid journalism
Tabloidization of news and its potential threat to democracy is a recurring issue in debates among scholars and journalists. Most research focuses on measuring either content or the effects of tabloid style content and often leaves the antecedents of the content as a ‘black box’. This study compares tabloid journalists to other journalists based on a survey of Danish journalists (N = 1550). It shows that tabloid journalists in many regards hold professional values that differ from the values of other journalists and that they experience different pressures from the organization they work in. In their journalistic style tabloid journalists emphasize personalization and sensationalist news values more and relevance news values less than other journalists. Finally, tabloid style journalism is to some extent driven by profit orientation in journalists as well as in their organizations. However, the study also shows that journalists’ adherence to the role as public mobilizer is positively related to personalization, which implies that tabloidization might carry benefits and not only threats to democracy.
Media, Culture and Society, 2014, Vol 36, Issue 2, p. 200-218