Sensationalism and How it Works

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If you look at a heading of a newspaper either published online or in traditional paper-format, you might realize that most of them are riddled with sensationalism. Does it help to have an idea of the actual news? Or is the headline does not imply about the actual news which is written in the news body? Yes, the headings are often doubtful and sometimes implies the complete opposite of the actual news! We all have gone through such experiences where sensationalism influenced our sense perceptions. This article is all about sensationalism we all experience intentionally or unintentionally.
Sensationalism might be something you are not interested about but it is something you should be aware of as a newspaper reader.
What is sensationalism?
Sensationalism is one of the main theories of modern journalism. Journalists write newspaper headings and content to raise the curiosity of the readers so they can simply keep the audience reading their whole content, top to bottom, and bottom to up!
Different sources provide different definitions for the term ‘sensationalism’, but they all are based on the central meaning that sensualism-based content first raises curiosity and allow the reader to keep going through the content till the end.
Pierre Gassendi, a French neo-Epicurean, and the Englishmen Thomas Hobbes and John Locke have greatly focused on sensationalism and its effects during the 17th century. Among them, Locke mentioned that “all our faculties come from the senses or . . . more precisely, from sensations”; that “our sensations are not the very qualities of objects [but] only modifications of our soul”; and that attention is only the sensation’s occupancy of the mind, memory the retention of sensation, and comparison twofold attention.
Locke defines sensationalism as above, the Cambridge dictionary defines sensationalism as “the act by newspapers, television, etc. of presenting information in a way that is shocking or exciting:”
Merriam-webster says sensationalism means that “empiricism that limits experience as a source of knowledge to sensation or sense perceptions”

How does it work?
It was first practiced in journalism but now you can see the use of sensationalism in other online media providing content such as in blog posts, articles, and websites, etc. For example, when the header is “The dog was behaving unusual towards the babysitter and the owners were surprised to find the truth”, the reader automatically clicks on it because the header makes them curious about what has happened. But, do not expect it will directly take you to the actual incident, instead, it will give some background information. The actual news is at the end of the content, most of the time!

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