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Tabloid Journalism Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What qualifies as tabloid journalism and where did it come from? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to outline key facts and a compare and contrast activity to highlight critical points.


1.5 to 2 hours

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify tabloid journalism
  • summarize the history and characteristics of tabloid journalism
  • define 'yellow journalism'

Curriculum Standards


Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).


Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.



  • Begin by reading the headlines aloud to the class.
    • What do these headlines have in common?
    • Does anything stand out about them?
    • What adjectives might you use to describe these headlines?
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson now, one per student.
  • Instruct the class to read the introduction and 'Tabloid Journalism' section of the text lesson.
    • Did anyone identify the headlines we read aloud as examples of tabloid journalism?
    • How might tabloid journalism have come into being?
  • Tell the class to read the 'Origins' and 'The First Tabloids' sections of the text lesson now.
    • Why might the term 'yellow journalism' be used to describe tabloids?
    • Who can name some modern examples of tabloid journalism?
  • Ask the class to read the rest of the text lesson now.
  • Pass out the worksheet and have students work independently to complete it.

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