Business and Taste.
In the second decade of the twentieth century, newspaper and magazine publishing decisively left behind the era of personal journalism and became big business. The 1910s witnessed the birth of the tabloid newspaper and the confessional magazine, two hallmarks of twentieth-century popular culture. These formats targeted the growing constituency of urban working people and reflected a basic change in social codes and attitudes. The era of the consumer was dawning: in order to lure the largest possible number of readers and advertisers, publishers developed editorial formulas to shock and titillate. While pandering to questionable tastes was nothing new, the widespread acceptance of such material as normal and suitable by great numbers of people was. Popular tastes were changing. Respectability was no longer the most crucial measure of culture. Instead, people asked: Is it new? Is it exciting? Does it sell?...
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