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36. Generoso Pope, Jr. and The National Enquirer (1988)

36. Generoso Pope, Jr. and The National Enquirer (1988)

Let’s look at a different kind of newspaper, the tabloid.

The Enquirer was founded in 1926 as The New York Enquirer.

In 1952, Generoso Pope Jr transformed The New York Enquirer, a paper focused on politics, sports and the theater into The National Enquirer which showcased murder, gore and all around sadism. There is some controversy over where he received the funds to start the paper, it’s believed that the money may have come from Mafia boss Frank Costello in exchange for Generoso’s promise to publish lottery numbers and to not cover any Mafia activity.

Using this model, he grew the paper’s audience to the millions, but in the 60s he realized that the market he established was beginning to become saturated, so he decided to alter his distribution model by placing the paper on supermarket shelves and covering new topics like entertainment, inspiration and supernatural phenomenon.

Pope is known for personally approving every article that ran in the Enquirer up until his death in 1988. After his death, his company was sold to MacFadden Publishing for $412 Million. MacFadden then purchased the Enquirer’s main competitor, The Star, and formed a new company – American Media Inc.

In recent history the Enquirer has been trying to reestablish its reputation for journalism, occasionally breaking stories before other mainstream sources, however, it makes no qualms about the fact that it often pays for tips, a practice frowned upon by other journalistic bodies.

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