Friday, November 2, 2007

Is smaller better? Tabloid vs Broadsheet

As the wave of converting broadsheet newspaper into tabloid newspaper is getting in trend now, which one will readers preferred more? How do publisher respond to it?

The answer is of course that this varies from newspaper to newspaper as broadsheet are associated with serious news coverage while tabloid with more trivial content. Some readers would expect a detailed and clear news story with good document design to serve their reading interest while detailed and lengthy news stories are mostly found in broadsheet newspaper.

However, readers nowadays would prefer tabloid newspaper, especially youngster and working class readers. It is because tabloid newspaper is half the size of broadsheet newspaper and it is easier to carry. Other than that, the design of tabloid newspaper is more interesting as compared to broadsheet newspaper, in contained more visual images and readers will get engaged with the design. According to Reep (2006), readers do not only read the printed words on the page, they also read the visual presentation of the text.
The News Straits Times used to be in broadsheet but now it is in tabloid style. When it comes to design, it is easier to design for a tabloid than for a broadsheet newspaper as the there is less items in a page and therefore it is effortless to design.

However, composition is still an essential aspect to be considered because it relates the representational and interactive meanings of the images to each other through three interrelated systems which are information value, salience and framing (Kress, 2006). No matter tabloid or broadsheet, composition of layout needs to be considered as readers interpret meaning through the three interrelated systems.

Other than that, tabloid newspaper is more to a multimodality text. According to Walsh (2006), multimodal texts are those texts that have more than one ‘mode’, so that meaning is communicated through a synchronization of modes. They may be incorporate spoken or written language, still or moving images. Tabloid will be more preferable because it consist of more picture as compared to broadsheet newspaper because reader make meaning from a written text, but the responses are evoked by the effect of visual codes such as colour, framing, line angle, perspective and vectors, in other word ‘visual grammar’(Kress & van Leeuwen,1996)

Example of multimodality text

References List:

Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T 2006, Reading Images: The Grammar of visual design, 2nd edn, Routledge, London, chapter 6: ‘The meaning of composition’

Is Smaller Better? Tabloid vs Newspaper, El Sol de Texas, viewed 30 October 2007,<>

Reep, D, 2006, ‘Document Design’, Technical Writing, chapter 6, pp. 133-172.

Walsh, M 2006, “Textual shift”: examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts’, Australian journal of language and literacy, Vol.29, No.1,pp. 24-37

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