Past – The Tabloid Revolution:
In England in the early 1700′s, newspapers began to be taxed by their number of pages. To cut taxes, publishers printed big pages and few of them, helping to create the broadsheet that is now considered standard. However, in the recent years the broadsheet format is becoming more scarce and the tabloid format is taking over.
The word “Tabloid” was first coined by a pharmaceutical company selling a drug in a compressed tablet. The connotation of tabloid was soon applied to other small items and to the “compressed” journalism that condensed stories into a simplified, easily absorbed format. In the 20th century, people became more pressed for time and they demanded “tabloid journalism” because of the simplicity of its design and content. With the emergence of subways and commuters, tabloids became a staple of the culture. In the aftermath of the industrial revolution words were evermore cheaper to print. Articles decreased in size. Graphics were also much less expensive and graphic design became an integral part of an editor’s job. The big titles and graphics allowed for a more intuitive form of reading, perhaps more informative on an emotional level instead of a cognitive level.
Present – The Online Revolution:
The online revolution brought about new capabilities such as global distribution and real-time interaction. However these capabilities also paved the way for new market demands. The public demanded its information in real-time. It was now rather easy to find information with the help of search engines.
News organizations, struggling to keep up with demand, all but abandoned any form of graphic design/editing and were sufficed to supply an increasing abundance of articles and information. The “printed word” was now virtual and was therefore cheaper than ever to create. However, they had also lost the intuitive and emotional dimension that tabloids conveyed with eye-catching graphics and big titles.
Future – Quantity rather than quality?
It is our contention that quality media design (QMD) should integrate the very best of all worlds: A text that is fully thought through and reflects a deep understanding; Graphic design that elicits an intuitive and emotional response and deepens the understanding beyond the written text, and online real-time global exposure that allows the reader a new form of interaction with the media.
Fortunately new technologies are becoming available. Blogs allow for intimate communication based on reader interactions, social networking allows us to maintain and expand a subscriber base; newsletters and E-zines allow for a more graphically enhanced approach and dynamic websites allow us to be up-to-date.
But all these are just tools to create, with a target audience, a profound interaction that is both beneficial and informative to both sides.