The biggest truism about the use of sensationalism in news stories seems to be that it is a guarantee for success in terms of selling the stories to the public, write Paul Hendriks Vettehen, and Mariska Kleemans, both of Radboud University Nijmegen. The article aims to test this “sensationalism truism” by exploring the impact of sensationalist content and packaging features on news viewing behavior.
The study is based on an experiment in which participants watched 16 audiovisual news stories that were presented on a website. The focus is on the time that people spend watching sensationalist news as opposed to more neutral news.
The results reveal that the truism about sensationalism as a guarantee for success appears to be largely true: sensationalism has the power to boost viewing time, but it has its limits.
The article “Proving the Obvious? What Sensationalism Contributes to the Time Spent on News Video” was published by Electronic News and it is available here.
Picture: celebrity scandal series, scott richard by torbakhopper, licence: CC BY-ND 2.0