The American Newsstand

The American Newsstand - Temple Of The Tabloid until the Internet.

Jazz-Age Journalism – The Care And Feeding Of A Tabloid – 1965 – Past Daily Reference Room

The American Newsstand
The American Newsstand – Temple Of The Tabloid until the Internet came along.
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Although this program, originally aired in 1965, discusses the era of the Tabloid as something that grew and prospered as a result of the 1920s, some evidence indicates the need to sensationalize the news goes back much further and may just be part of our National DNA.

Aside from being a fear-based society, America has been a virtual bubbling cauldron of sensationalism; maybe not as overt and graphic as some of our European neighbors, but Americans do love a good dish of dirt – always have.

In this program, part of the series News In America which first aired on July 14, 1965, the emphasis is on the growth of tabloid journalism in the 1920s; the sensational headline, the lurid side-ways glance, the leering innuendo – all those elements that made our appetites for news almost insatiable. The program largely attributes this nationwide obsession with the end of World War 1, the enforcement of Prohibition, the dreaded Spanish Flu pandemic, the sudden wealth and the stock market which translated into a sub-culture of idle rich and a boredom brought on by too much time, too much money and not enough to do.

But even after the events of October 1929, the stock market crash and our slide into the Great Depression, Americans still craved their dose of sensationalism. And as the years went on, the tabloids grew a bit seedier, the lurid details a bit more graphic. And, even though this program reflects on the tabloid journalism as it stood in 1965, fifty-five years later it’s still going strong and is now even more prevalent than when it was relegated to the corner newsstand. Tabloid journalism, in all its forms has, in most ways, usurped the power of mainstream press; blurring those lines between sensation and fact, turning it all into one big guessing game.

But where tabloid Journalism stood in 1965 is what we’re talking about here – and history is an ongoing thing. For a reminder of where we were, here is that episode of News In America; The People’s Right To Know from July 14, 1965.

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