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Anyone checking out the British news-stands must think this is a nation obsessed with celebrity, television, sport and sex--all richly represented in sleazy tabloids and the bright pink print of women's magazines and gossip weekies.

Britain's large tabloid presence represents a hangover from the old class system: a wide suspicion of intellectualism and an unhealthy disregard for serious news, informed debate or educated opinion. Sales of all five "serious" newspapers together amount to less than the 3.1 million circulation of the nation's best-selling paper, The Sun.

A recent study by the communications industry watchdog Ofcom in Britain found that only 45 percent of UK adults trust broadsheet newspaper content. Only 19 percent trust tabloid newspapers; 46 percent actually distrust them. So why buy them?

Tabloids appeal to the gut instinct of the masses, who laugh at the crazy headlines, but happily take in the right-wing celebrity columns from Richard Littlejohn (Daily Mail) and Jeremy Clarkson (The Sun/The times). It's hard to resist stories of Britain being taken over by immigrants, or of politicians' sex scandals. They simply strengthen readers' sense of grievance.


Most cities stick to broadsheet, but New York has a lively tabloid arena. Newsday and the New York Post compete for readers, while the New York Sun goes for trash and splash, along with America’s national tabloid, the absurd but exciting National Enquirer.

Back in the 1960s, writer Norman Mailer and a friend started The Village Voice, a weekly based in New York. Covering arts and culture from a liberal viewpoint, the paper started the “alternative” genre that now includes such publications as Washington, DC’s City Paper and the Chicago Reader.

Started by a couple of college kids in 1988, The Onion is a satirical newspaper available throughout the U.S. It puts the fun back into the news with fake stories such as “Are Politicians Failing Our Lobbyists?” and “San Diego Zoo [and] Prison Merge.” Doctored photos show, for example, polar bears watching prisoners play basketball.

Some of the best journalistic muscle in the U.S. is on display in weekly and monthly magazines. Writing in The New Yorker, reporter Seymour Hersch brought the Abu Ghraib scandal out into the open, and he continues to question the administration on issues such as Iran, while the dailies seem to sleep. The long articles are a challenge, but reward is found in the very funny cartoons printed throughout the magazine.

Time and Newsweek are well-established political magazines, both publishing international editions. Fans complain that these two magazines seem to have become thinner over the years.

2010-03-17 19:14 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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