As an English teacher I always made sure to have a class set of National Enquirers in my closet at school. I would bring them out once a semester for students to analyze the difference between tabloids and mainline journalism. It was easy for them to notice obvious characteristics: lots of colourful provocative images, large titles, questionable sources, loose practice of journalistic structure, a preoccupation with hear say, gossip, and sensationalism.
Now the print media has moved online. Do the same observations hold?
Consider some tabloids and their treatment of the unfolding stories of Tiger Woods' exploits off the golf course:
- National Enquirer
- The New York Daily News
- News of the World
Of course the mainline media cannot resist a good story. See the differences in solid journalism?
- The Globe and Mail
- The New York Times
For students the comparison exercise between sensationalism and good journalism should now extend online. Media literacy is as important as ever.