Sensationalism is often seen in our news stories today. Sensationalism is using shocking or exciting words to sensationalize or express a news story or exaggerate it in some form. We often, without realizing it, use sensationalism to create excitement in our conversation with others. Often, this isn’t intentional, but when we share our story, we are excited. This comes across as sensationalism. I have a member of my family that often uses sensationalism to carry his stories for interest. The news uses sensationalism to make stories more exciting, but it often causes more panic and fear and anger than necessary.
Why do we and the news use sensationalism to tell stories? We wish to capture the interest of others. I have noticed this being a problem with the existing Covid-19 Virus. Do we have a serious problem on our hands? Yes, this situation is very serious and due to our lack of knowledge about the virus, this causes us to be even more fearful. Knowledge is power. We can only gain knowledge about something new like the Covid-19 by watching enough time to pass and a full season of it to play out enough to gain the knowledge necessary we need to access its danger. The numbers of current deaths in the USA alone, are over 100,000 people. Older victims, and now even children as viruses tend to mutate like this one has causing a positive test for Covid-19 in these children, but different symptoms. This is what makes viruses in general a little more scary so we don’t need to sensationalize a story in the news to make it more dramatic than it is in this case.
Let us take a look at the definition of sensationalism in our Webster Dictionary and the Daly Wisdom Words Definition.
Webster definition of sensationalism-Especially in journalism the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest and excitement. 2. another term for phenomenon.
Daily Wisdom Words explanation-News, potentially exaggerating facts that often become blown out of proportion in order for this news to be exciting.
We use sensationalism with others when telling a story to make it more exciting, but also to stress danger to young children in parenting. In this case, sensationalism is often necessary as children don’t understand the consequences of their actions and potential danger involved.
I wanted to write about this today because of two different news stories exacerbating fear when these stories are shared. One has to do with the murder of a black man by a police officer who held his knee on the neck of a suspect for over eight minutes as the man cried that he could no longer breathe. He died that day, as three police officers stood by allowing it to happen just watching. The facts alone make this case enough just to share it as it is. By sensationalizing this story, massive riots all around the United States continue to take place night after night as the news shows the horrendous cell phone recording of this murder over and over again? This story is serious enough without playing on anger and sadness and the unfairness of it all.
This is the same for the Covid-19 story. It is so serious, that simply reporting the facts would be enough for all of us. However, rather than take it seriously, sometimes sensationalism backfires in the news and causes people to reject the story itself. This is why we see bars full of people without wearing masks and taking social distancing precautions seriously. They figure why fight what is hopeless? The fact is, we will eventually within the next two years have a vaccine for this, and all of the precautions we take now, can determine how many cases continue to spread from state to state.
Please consider what I am sharing in the meaning of sensationalism. At what point do we instill fear into others to create rebellion? I want to know what you think. Do you feel the news exaggerates these stories too much, therefore potentially causing people to rebel due to lack of any solution? Below this article is a place to leave comments called “Join the discussion”. I would love to hear your opinion.
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Thanks, and have a blessed day. Samantha Leboeuf