Simpson Case Reflects Tabloid-News Trend Critics Say Lure of Big Profits Is Degrading US Journalism

By David Rohde, | The Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 1994 | Go to article overview

Simpson Case Reflects Tabloid-News Trend Critics Say Lure of Big Profits Is Degrading US Journalism


David Rohde,, The Christian Science Monitor


SEVENTEEN million Americans watched an hour-long ABC News special on O.J. Simpson four days after his infamous slow-speed car chase. The program was the week's top-rated show and generated an estimated $7 million in advertising revenue for the network.

A week after the chase, Time and Newsweek magazines reported near-record sales of issues with Mr. Simpson on the cover. Within two weeks of the chase, more than 1 million copies of three different $4.95 quickie-books on the Simpson case were shipped to bookstores.

For the American media, the stakes - and potential profits - have rarely been higher. But critics warn that the potential to make such large profits is lowering the quality of much American journalism and blurring the line between entertainment and news.

Intense competition, corporate takeovers, and the success of profitable television newsmagazines have led network news divisions to lower their standards, critics warn, and many newspapers and publishers are slowly following suit.

"Journalism has a public-service role, and a public responsibility, to not lose its mind to attract advertising and to use restraint and caution {instead}," says James Squires, former editor of the Chicago Tribune and a critic of corporate takeovers of newspapers.

"Now there is a devotion, and responsibility, to making as much money as you can," Mr. Squires says. "The news reflects the subject matter of prime-time entertainment - sex, violence, the aberrant, and the absurd."

Boston University Mass Communications Professor Toby Berkovitz says that newspapers are producing just as much "entertainment" as television news.

"What do you do about the Living section of the Boston Globe or the Styles section of the New York Times?" Professor Berkovitz asks. "Do you say this is news or entertainment?"

Both critics say that print and broadcast media coverage of the Simpson case and other recent stories reflects an intense pressure for profits and the influence of syndicated TV newsmagazines.

The first syndicated TV news magazine, Fox Television's "A Current Affair," aired in 1987. The weekday half-hour program generally attracts 5 million viewers each night and earns an estimated $700,000 in advertising revenues per episode.

The show's success and profitability soon led other entertainment companies to launch three similar shows - "Hard Copy," "Inside Edition," and, most recently, "American Journal."

A steadily rising number of network news magazines now dominate the prime-time schedule, because they can be even more profitable, Berkovitz says. A one-hour network news magazine costs roughly $500,000 to produce, but with good ratings it can earn $2 million in advertising revenue.

Berkovitz says intense competition among network news magazines and the syndicated TV newsmagazines' willingness to air "tabloid-style" stories has led the networks and local television stations to lower their standards. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Simpson Case Reflects Tabloid-News Trend Critics Say Lure of Big Profits Is Degrading US Journalism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.