Sensationalism is so rampant in today’s media that the word can’t even be used to draw attention anymore to this problem. There is just so little left to which it cannot be applied. When it’s all the same, you don’t need a word anymore.
Is sensationalism a problem in itself though? As a means to heighten content to make it more attractive and beautiful, there are so many places that it can be and is used effectively. So many forms of art benefit from its power in reaching people and making an impact and in these cases, it is an integral part of the art. The problem arises when the content that is being sensationalised is reality itself.
Yes, there are times when our attention needs to be grabbed. Needs to be directed towards things that matter but aren’t being looked into. Maybe we find them boring or maybe there were other things that were competing for attention and this was the only way to be heard but where do we draw the line? Left unchecked, sensationalism becomes a tool for manipulation, of the content and its consumers, us. Today, it’s been left unchecked for far too long.
It’s easy to blame the media for failing us and succumbing to greed but that’s all that it is. Easy, not right. Not the truth. The truth is that we too are to blame in this deterioration of content across channels and therefore, we too must act if we are to put an end to this.
Why are we to blame? Because we showed the media that we not only found this kind of content acceptable but that we were fine with consuming it over the kind of respectable journalism that we today seek so desperately. All creators must understand and cater to their audience and when the audience’s requirements change then so too must they. Change or be made obsolete. So it is that sensationalism has seeped into everything to varying degrees, for this is the only way to be seen in this sea of sensationalism. Everybody trying to outdo everybody else and escalating the madness higher and higher.
I’m sure that this change must have been resisted in the beginning. Those who knew better than to heighten matter and sensationalise the truth for views and cash must’ve scoffed at those who stooped so low. And then stared with shock at seeing them rewarded for their blasphemy against the sanctity of journalism. These righteous people must’ve fought this but their struggle was in vain for we chose what was easier to read and get worked up over, we chose biased opinions over the work involved in reading facts and using them as the base to form our own opinions.
Sensationalist content by its very nature is tempting. Easy to consume and easy to share and this vicious cycle is what has lead us to where we are today. Yes, the media is to blame and must change if it means to regain its respectability but if we mean to fight this then we cannot expect change to happen solely at the other end. Not when we are the ones who facilitated this, complicit by our complacency. It is time we acknowledged our responsibility in this matter and let our actions reflect our thoughts.
We must stop both, reckless consumption and thoughtless recommendation. Take both matters seriously and make sensible choices. Exercise scepticism and hold yourself and all that you consume to higher standards. Accept responsibility for all that you share and watch as you grow more aware of the importance of picking your sources. If we change then media inevitably must. Act now and help restore sanity.