What is sensationalism and why is it considered bad?
In simple terms, sensationalism can be defined as presenting information or news in such a way that it gathers the interest of the audience. Celebrities being photographed in magazines to increase sales regardless of it having any content relating to them can be an example of sensationalism.
In today’s world, where it can be crucial to get the facts right, sensationalism gives reporters and journalists a pathway to not only add false information but also exaggerate that information. They might think of it as an easy escape.
How did sensationalism come around to be?
It can be observed that sensationalism has been around for quite some time now, some claiming it be present at the time of cavemen. But the paradigm has definitely changed. At that time the most interesting information to be passed around could’ve been ways to hunt or start a fire but now it has become a serious issue that may have its pros and cons.
As time began to progress, people wanted something more exciting to read or watch, which is human nature obviously but sensationalism gives the audience just a little more than what they might be looking for.
How do people fall prey to sensationalism?
The Golden Age of Journalism, which is considered to be roughly a period from 1930s-1980s really paved the way for authentic news coverage which focused on real issues and current affairs. Although the representation of those content may be simple and direct, people knew what they read. They knew what the news was for and it somehow fulfilled its duty.
The next generation is always looking for something one step ahead. May that be in terms of technology, media or, simple everyday things. It won’t be wrong to say that social media has greatly taken over thousands of tasks that once required a separate operating base.
News coverage is one of them. It hardly takes about 10 seconds for new information to pop up on these platforms and the easy access makes it more desirable. In a world like this, making some sacrifices and taking some risks in order to make ends meet would cross any person’s mind.
Does sensationalism target a specific audience?
Maybe so, it has been observed that people who may have less information about what real and what’s not, may fall victim to sensationalism. Sometimes all a person wants after a long day of work is something soothing or exciting to read. While some may not be able to tell the authenticity of the content, it still gives some pleasure to read the desired content.
Most often, people would pick up a magazine or newspaper because their favorite personality is on the cover or they would read something just because there is a one-liner about a juicy topic. It’s very normal for people to fall for such tactics and maybe some of it is not considered to be all bad.
Has sensationalism changed drastically over the years?
Sensationalism has been modified over the years. Nowadays people want to exaggerate even the simplest of information just for a few more ratings. It is becoming hard to decipher what is truth or bias and if the issue being presented even an issue at all.
Although one event is deemed newsworthy, the media have taken it upon themselves to turn an ordinary story about an important event into something that is covered for months. When the facts of a story are exaggerated in order to dissolve the line between true or false, the public can find it hard to understand the reality of the situation.
Is it damaging the media industry?
Too much of anything is not good. While sensationalism does add a taste of interest amongst the readers, it can harness the reputation of the media industry. People may lose interest soon when they figure out that they are being betrayed in several ways. While the public may not be able to tell the difference between an accurate and a sensationalized story, if the public finds out that the claims weren’t completely true, it can cause the industry a lot of damage.
Is sensationalism in news all that bad?
Maybe to some, and maybe some people might find it intriguing. While trying to sell content is not an easy job, sensationalism is doing its part by making it easy, at least to some extent. It has indeed played a fine role in grasping the attention of the audience but at the same time, it might be misleading to provide information that may not be all truth and facts.
Sensationalist news impacts our lives every day without us realizing it. It is no doubt dominating how we cover and present news. Most of the time we don’t even remember what caught our attention in the first place, that’s how strongly sensationalism works.
To say whether or not sensationalism is all bad is a personal choice. Seeing how it is still greatly in use might suggest that people find ways to add sensationalized content in news coverage but how we are truly influenced by it is something that we can only tell ourselves.
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