tabloid reporting

Most people have read at least the covers of the newspaper tabloids racked near the checkout counters of grocery stores. You know the ones we mean — they look like newspapers, but carry fantastic and nutty stories about Bigfoot and imaginative scientific discoveries. Maybe you’ve chuckled at the ridiculous headlines that often appear:  “Mother Gives Birth to Gorilla Baby!” “Elvis Makes Regular Visits to Orlando Retirement Community!” “Grandfather of Twelve Admits He Is an Alien!”

Your assignment this week is to write a “news” story on one of the hypothetical tabloid headlines listed below (or an idea of your own). You are obviously free to make up the “facts" and make it as ridiculous as you like.

Tip One

This is not a journalism class, but here’s a tip you should know before writing a newspaper article. Most news articles (even tabloids) include the most important facts in summary form in the first paragraph. They provide the essential information early in the article, so that readers who are merely skimming can get the basics from a paragraph or two. Try to imitate this style as you write.

Tip Two

Even though we refer to this as a news “story,” this assignment is not to write a narrative. This is to be a news article, which means the primary purpose is to provide information, not to entertain with an interesting tale. As we said in Tip One, start with the most important facts, not necessarily the first thing that happened. One difference between a news article and a short story is that a story is organized chronologically (by time), and an article by order of importance. If you’re not sure what we mean, pick up any newspaper (not necessarily a tabloid), and read several front page items. Pay attention to how the information is organized.

If you are not familiar with how to write a news article, or with tabloids in general, there is a link to an example at the end of this lesson.

Suggested Length: 2-5 pages

Choose from one of the following, or come up with your own.

  • Aliens Abduct High School Student!

  • High School Student Devoured by Giant Hamster!

  • High School Student Writes Great American Novel…On Smart Phone!

  • High School Student Performs Successful Brain Transplant on Brother/Sister!

  • High School Student Trains Poodle to Take Algebra Exam!

  • High School Student Saves the Planet from Collision with Meteor!

  • Amazing High School Student Keeps Room Neat for Six Months!

Follow the formatting guidelines.

Click to view sample tabloid article.