Dispatches from la Crónica roja: Why sensationalism and crime still matter in the new Latin America media ecology

Marcela F. Pizarro, Jairo Lugo-Ocando

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Widely maligned by critics, the crime-focus newspapers known as ‘Crónica roja’ - or Red Chronicle - in Latin America adopted a sensationalism style that emulated the yellow journalism of the United States. They tended to appeal to the popular, portraying itself to be ‘the voice of the people’. They feature articles characterised by their gruesome display of morbid images and the use of local jargon in the language, particularly in the headlines. The genre as such became a key selling point for many newspapers and magazines, attracting millions of readers around the region, and despite retreating in most part of the region over the years, they nevertheless continues to attract millions in certain countries still today. In this chapter we explore both the history and the present of this journalism genre within the political and sociological dimensions that have historically defined journalism practice in the region. We argue that despite their many critics and the evident exploitation of people’s suffering, they presents something uniquely popular in that they link community and news outlets in ways that other genres do not. As such, we argue, the genre needs to be understood not only as a commercial and material enterprise, but also as a popular culture phenomenon that provides the inclusion of subaltern voices in the public sphere in ways that is problematic, yes, but that nevertheless offer space to subjects and actors than are more often than not excluded from the mainstream discourses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGlobal Tabloid
Subtitle of host publicationCulture and Technology
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781000373028
ISBN (Print)9780367336257
StatePublished - Apr 19 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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