Sensationalism in Journalism! Read all about it!

Express-HITSensationalist headlines sell. Sensationalism is hype. It’s putting up news topics that assault the senses and not the intellect. The news media is rife with sensationalism, but is that a bad thing?

Sensationalism isn’t a new thing either. Back in Ancient Roman times sensationalism was found in the Acta Diurna, which was the earliest newspaper, broadcasting court news, announcements of marriages, births and deaths.

Attracting readers to relevant news while also getting them to stay is a difficult task.  Smaller publications are usually the first to succumb to sensationalism, and with the advent of citizen journalism and web journalism which can get the news out quicker, big news outlets are occasionally faced with this decision as well, its definitely the nature of the business.

It has shown time and time again that sensationalism has caused problems within media, it’s exploded recently with Terrorism and fear-mongering in American television news channels, and as such big issues are extremely controversial. This sort of news reporting aims to manipulate the audience, get the average citizen keeping an eye on your media channel to get up-to-date with the current events even though it may not influence their day-to-day life at all. This fear-inducing utilization of sensationalism has also recently given rise with the spread of the Ebola outbreak in western Africa. Although the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said that Ebola “does not pose a significant risk to the United States”.

But with sensationalism enveloping the media, is real, factual information being left out? With news available at the click of a button, news being broadcasted across the world through social media platforms, it’s hard to say that sensationalism is ruining the news. Audiences which want factual, credible news can move away from legacy media outlets and look through online news sites such as wikinews, The Independent and Alternet.


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