Friday, 8 February 2013

Summary - Why Does Sensationalism Sell?

Summary - Why Does Sensationalism Sell?

Title: Why Does Sensationalism Sell?
Author: Eric R. Olson, Life's Little Mysteries Contributor.
Publisher: Life's Little Mysteries, TechMediaNetwork.
Date published: 25 October 2012, 06:12 PM ET.
URL: [Accessed 16:33 22/01/13].

Themes: Sensationalism, yellow journalism, red tops.

Summary of online article:

The short post questions why we have a natural attraction towards sensational stories. It goes onto cite numerous findings, including Shankar Vedantam, Hank Davis and an unnamed Dutch study. It concludes that journalists must fabricate their stories with a balance between our lust for sensation, but also our limit of disgust. 

Key points:

  • It's possible that our innate hunger for "sensational stories" is an "...evolution-driven..." desire, as found by blogger for The Washington Post, Shankar Vedantam.

Key quotes:

  • "...regardless of the time period, stories about death, injury, robberies and murder dominated the front-page headlines."
  • "...the degree to which we like stories drops off when they are too emotionally charged."
  • "The challenge for journalists... is to find a 'sweet spot'... it arouses people's emotions but not... overwhelms the audience and they no longer wish to keep reading or viewing."

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