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Tabloid Valley:
Supermarket News and American Culture

Paula E. Morton

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The truth behind supermarket tabloids

"At last, the story behind the journalistic movement that gave us Bat Boy and Elvis Lives!, and changed American politics forever. Your wait in the supermarket line will never be the same."--Mark Lane, author of Sandspurs: Notes from a Coastal Columnist

"Anyone who wants to understand American popular culture of the last fifty years would do well to read Tabloid Valley."--James Bowman, author of Media Madness: The Corruption of Our Political Culture

With sensational headlines and scandalous photos, supermarket tabloids dish out the dirt on everyone and everything from space aliens and Bat Boy to Elvis and Britney. Although they were once the pariah of traditional journalism, tabloids have gained credibility in recent years and today their lurid style--and sometimes their reportage--is even imitated by mainstream news outlets.

In Tabloid Valley, Paula Morton explores the cultural impact of the sensationalist press over the years, focusing on Generoso Pope Jr.'s decision in 1971 to move the editorial offices of the National Enquirer from New Jersey to Florida. This bold step initiated a mass exodus of similar publications to the Sunshine State where six of the largest circulation weeklies--the Star, the Globe, the Weekly World News, the Sun, the National Examiner, and the Enquirer--were eventually consolidated under a single owner, American Media, Inc. Florida's favorable business climate and a booming southern frontier created the perfect environment for the tabloids and their writers to flourish.

Morton goes behind the scenes to examine every facet of modern yellow journalism: what headlines sell and why, how the journalists gather the news, the recent and ongoing downturn in circulation, what the tabloids are doing to maintain their foothold, and, most important, what the tabloid news says about American culture.

Freelance journalist Paula E. Morton lives in St. Augustine, Florida.

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"A reputable and hilarious history of those who practice the American art of sensationalism."
--The Farm Report

"Relive the zany days of sensational tabloid journalism." "It is instructive and great fun to read about the roller-coaster tabloid empire."
--Boca Raton News

"This delightful, nostalgic look at a peculiar era in journalism demonstrates its lasting influence on mainstream news (greater than many would like to admit)."
--Publishers Weekly - Web Exclusive Reviews

"Useful information for those interested in American media history."
--Library Journal

"This delightful, nostalgic look at a peculiar era in journalism demonstrates its lasting influence on mainstream news (greater than many would like to admit); front-page reproductions of the Enquirer and its contemporaries round out the tour."
--Publishers Weekly

"Briskly traces the history of the genre and provides many reproductions of famous and notorious pages."
--Columbia Journalism Review

"Morton provides a relevant historical account of tabloid publications through 2007 and opens a discussion for further explorations about the decision-making process of tabloid editors and the influence of tabloid publications on contemporary mainstream and online media."
--H-Net Reviews

"Anyone who wants to understand American public culture of the last fifty years would certainly be recommended to read Tabloid Valley, particularly if you are prone to checking out the headlines in the supermarket line."
--Sacramento Book Review

"Reading this book is as much fun as learning the latest scoop on Britney and Brangelina."
--Florida Monthly

"Any one with an enquiring mind and a desire to learn the tabloid formula for success in the news biz will want to absorb everything about "Tabloid Valley.""
--American Journalism

"entertaining and readable"
--Jacqueline Thomas, American Studies Journal

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