Tabloid Journalism in South Africa

Tabloid Journalism in South Africa

True Story!
Herman Wasserman
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/31/2010
Format: Paperback 3 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22211-4
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A Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 2011

Less than a decade after the advent of democracy in South Africa, tabloid newspapers have taken the country by storm. One of these papers—the Daily Sun—is now the largest in the country, but it has generated controversy for its perceived lack of respect for privacy, brazen sexual content, and unrestrained truth-stretching. Herman Wasserman examines the success of tabloid journalism in South Africa at a time when global print media are in decline. He considers the social significance of the tabloids and how they play a role in integrating readers and their daily struggles with the political and social sphere of the new democracy. Wasserman shows how these papers have found an important niche in popular and civic culture largely ignored by the mainstream media and formal political channels.

Author Bio

Herman Wasserman is Professor in Journalism and Media/Cultural Studies at Rhodes University in South Africa. He is co-editor of At the End of the Rainbow: Power, Politics, and Identity in the Post-Apartheid South African Media and editor of Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies.


“Convincing, bold, and provocative. The rise of mass circulating tabloids and their popularity with the poor and working class black majority are indicative of a post-apartheid South Africa determined to renegotiate an ethics of inclusion and a common humanity in journalism.”
 — Francis B. Nyamnjoh, University of Cape Town

“A much needed media history and political and social assessment of a genre that is currently very much the subject of conjecture.”
 — Sean Jacobs, The New School

“Hugely important for students, journalists, scholars, policy-makers, and practitioners. A much needed book that will contribute, both empirically and theoretically, to ongoing debates about popular culture, media globalization, and changing news discourses.”
 — Winston Mano, University of Westminster

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Table of Contents


1. Shock! Horror! Scandal! The Tabloid Controversy and Journalism Studies in Post-Apartheid South Africa
2. Attack of the Killer Newspapers! Tabloids Arrive in South Africa
3. Black and White and Read All Over: Tabloids and the Glocalization of Popular Media
4. Not Really Newspapers: Tabloids and the South African Journalistic Paradigm
5. The Revolution Will Be Printed: Tabloids, Citizenship, and Democratic Politics in Post-Apartheid South Africa
6. Truth or Trash? Understanding Tabloid Journalism and Lived Experience
7. Often They Cry with the People: The Professional Identities of Tabloid Journalists
8. Conclusion: Telling Stories