Cultural sources of tabloidization of the media
In the author’s opinion, tabloidization is not an invention of mass culture. Fascination with bloody and sensational stories is a rudimentary need of excitement, which was fulfilled by the available means existing in a given culture. Such stories have always been around in folklore and they were frequently used by medieval chroniclers. Apocrypha were also an answer to the need of curiosity. Incredible and tragic stories dominated social conversation, old-Polish short-story writing and predicatory exempla. An inn was the place where for centuries the “need of sensational” was fulfilled by travelling beggars’ doggerel full of exciting news. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, travelling beggars used leaflets with printed texts, which became the origins of the press. Those irregular prints related important and sensational events: those from the royal court and the neighbourhood, crimes, rapes or strange phenomena in the sky. The stories migrated from oral to printed form and the other way round. Folklore research explains this mechanism and reasons for the popularity of sensational stories, which became the source of tabloidization of contemporary media. The phenomenon objectively exists in contemporary culture an requires an objective description and not a deprecatory assessment. The need for tabloidization — understood as the phenomenon of equalization or the principle of common denominator — is currently evoked by both economic conditions and expectations of the receivers.