Comparison between Tabloids and Quality Papers

A Research Based on two Articles about a Schoolhouse Shooting in "The Sun" and "The Guardian"

Term Paper 2006 22 Pages

English Language and Literature Studies - Comparative Literature


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1. Introduction

In the United Kingdom there are mainly two types of newspapers, namely the Quality Papers and the Tabloids. The question is in how far these two types of newspapers differ from each other, if they differ at all, and what the differences are, if any. How are Tabloids and Quality Papers defined and do they only differ in appearance or in content, too? To answer all these questions it is important to first give a definition of both newspapers and then to compare a typical Tabloid with a typical Quality Paper to make these distinctions obvious. To come to a clear conclusion it is important to focus on main aspects such as layout, language and reliability or seriousness.

2. Newspapers in Great Britain

In Great Britain there are two very famous types of newspapers, namely Quality Papers and Tabloids. Although both types are very popular, there are many differences between them. Some differences are, for example, layout, language and reliability. Before comparing two articles and pointing out the differences it is important to have a closer look at the definitions of both types of newspapers.

2.1 Quality Papers

Quality Papers are also called Broad Sheets because of their size, which is rather wide and bigger than the size of a Tabloid. Quality Papers that appear daily in the United Kingdom are, for example, Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Financial Times, The Independent and The Guardian. There are also some Quality Papers that are only published on Sundays such as The Observer, The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph. Some remarkable aspects of these newspapers are the following:

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Language is academic and eloquent, no colloquial language, slang or swear words

Sentences are rather long, with many subordinate clauses Layout is decent with only a few colours on the front page Rather neutral and formal

Articles include sources, quotations and facts (no speculations) Articles dominated by written parts, not by pictures and headlines Vocabulary is more extended

Quality Papers often write about topics such as politics, finances, economy, national and international affairs, sports and news 1 .

2.2 Tabloids

Tabloids are also known as Yellow Press, Gutter Press and Sensationalist Press because of their topics which are mostly less “serious” 2 , for example, “celebrities, sports, sensationalist crime stories and even hoaxes” 3 . The format of a tabloid “is roughly 23 ½ by 14 ¾ inches (597 mm x 375 mm) per spread” 4 . Daily Tabloids are, for instance, The Sun, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Express, The Daily Star, The Daily Mail and The Daily Sport. Tabloids that only appear on Sundays are, for example, The Sunday Express, The News of the World, The Sunday Mirror, The Sunday Sport and The Sunday People.

Other newspapers that are not typically Tabloids but have changed to the tabloid format or ‘compact’ format are Quality Papers such as The Independent, The Times and The Scotsman 5 . Also The Guardian has changed its format to the Berliner format which is something between the size of a broadsheet and a tabloid 6 . The reason for that is that people can read it more easily, for example, on the train.

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1 See Appendix 8.1

2 See Appendix 8.2

3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabloid (September 2006)

4 ibid

5 ibid

6 ibid

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3.2 Articles: “Gunman kills four in Amish School” and “Gunman with a grudge against Amish shoots dead four girls”

On Tuesday, October 3 rd 2005, the international edition of The Guardian includes an article about a schoolhouse shooting in an Amish community in Pennsylvania. The front page includes an introduction with the headline Gunman kills four in Amish school whereas the main article with the headline Gunman with a grudge against Amish shoots dead four girls can be found on page three.

These two articles are typical articles for The Guardian and include many aspects of Quality Papers concerning layout, language and reliability.

3.2.1 Layout

The front page of The Guardian is dominated by a big article on a political topic (“Britain tells US: we don’t want our Guantànamo nine back”) and a picture which shows the American Flag behind a barbed wire fence. Below this article there are four small articles about national, financial and sports topics. The fourth article is about a man who killed some girls at an Amish school. The article includes a written part as well as a coloured picture of some Amish people. This article is the introductory part to the main story which can be found on page three. On top of the page there are three pictures with the headlines belonging to them. The front page is coloured with just a few colours such as blue in different shades. The page is rather decent with neutral headlines, pictures and colours.


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Title: Comparison between Tabloids and Quality Papers