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Author: Amee Wittbrodt
  • Understand, analyze, evaluate, and use different types of print, digital, and multimodal media.
  • Critically analyze information found in electronic, print, and mass media and use a variety of these sources.
  • Gain an understanding of how media tabloids work.
  • Identify fact and opinion statements that relate to tabloids.
  • Identify the difference between libel and slander.
  • Define media ethics and recognize examples of ethical and unethical journalism.


This packet presents information about tabloid journalism and media ethics.

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Background Information


Discussion Questions

Fact or Opinion?  Decide if the following statements are facts you read in the above article or opinions.

Fact= something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven

Opinion= what someone thinks about that subject, can not be proven as true because another person could disagree

  1. Sometimes tabloids make up their stories out of thin air.
  2. "Top of the Head Stories" include just enough truth to make the stories seem believeable.
  3. All tabloids in the US are owned by American Media, Inc.
  4. No one should read tabloids because they aren't real media.
  5. "Then the raging beast howled with fury. It sounded like a demon from hell itself!"
  6. Tabloid informants are paid various amounts for their information, depending on the quality of the news and which celebrity it involves. Information about a minor TV actor might be worth a few hundred dollars, while a major scoop about Madonna or Britney Spears could be worth thousands.
  7. The paparazzi should mind their own business and leave celebrities alone.
  8. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have all successfully sued tabloids.
  9. There is no law against making up fake stories as long as no one in the stories has been libeled.
  10. Tabloids are an interesting form of media and should continue to be published.
  11. How do tabloid writers manipulate the truth by including "experts" in their articles? Explain.
  12. What is the difference between libel and slander?  What has to be proven for a statement to be considered libelous?
  13. After reading the article above, why is it important to question media?  Why shouldn't you believe everything you see and hear?  Explain.

Media Ethics

This is a video to begin a dialogue with students about ethics in media.

Background Information

Ethics- A set of moral principles. The discipline dealing with what is good and bad.


Journalism Code of Ethics

  1. Seek truth and report it. Journalists should be honest, fair, and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
  2. Minimize harm. Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
  3. Act independently. Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.
  4. Be accountable. Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and to each other.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the importance of ethics in media?
  2. Why is it important for journalists to be ethical? Explain.
  3. Consider the tabloids. Do magazines like The Star and The National Enquirer follow codes for ethical behavior? Are they being unethical? Who are they hurting?
  4. What is an example of ethical journalism? Explain.
  5. What is an example of unethical journalism? Explain.