Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Merrill Morris - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Kay Beck

Third Advisor

Dr. Greg Lisby


The media have extensive power in that they represent the primary, and often the only, source of information about many important events and topics. Media can define which events are important, as well as how media consumers should understand these events. The current trend towards tabloidization, or sensationalism, in today’s American media, has caused an uproar among media traditionalists, primarily in the fields of news and print media. This study seeks to examine the actual influence of tabloidization in newspaper media. My primary research question is as follows: Do tabloid newspapers in the United States set the agenda for more mainstream newspapers? An ethnographic textual analysis will be done of tabloid and newspaper coverage of a recent nationwide story about an Atlanta-area woman running away from town days before her wedding, the “Runaway Bride” saga, in order to compare how the story was covered in tabloid and mainstream newspapers.


Included in

Communication Commons