We pay for your spooky stories (scaring your readers)

Sloane, Wendy (2020) We pay for your spooky stories (scaring your readers). British journalism review, 31 (1). pp. 63-68. ISSN 0956-4748


Here in the UK there’s a vibrant market of spooky/haunted/psychic stories -- and it's not only speciality consumer magazines that print them. Some mainstream UK newspapers have dedicated sections that regularly give lip service, if not full-on credence, to other-worldly happenings.

The Independent, Daily Mirror and the Daily Express have a regular Ghosts page, while the Sun has a Ghosts and the Supernatural section. Most of the tabloids are happy to run a ghost story, preferably one that features spooky sightings in a well-known pub, hotel or area of local interest - hopefully with a healthy dollop of sex thrown in (“Horny evil spirit ‘used man as sex slave every night for two years’”, was a Mirror headline last year).

Many say this is not real journalism but fake news. Others say that spooky stories have as much news value as, say, the Sun’s spate of articles about Katie Price’s “mucky mansion”: the red-top has run 217 stories on the topic - or stories referring to it - since February, 2018, according to its online search engine.

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