The media have a vital role in promoting the awareness of citizens by relaying valuable information regarding various events at multiple levels including the community, country, and world at large. The television is a vital means of passing this information through TV news. This paper attempts to address the concern of the quality of news due to the recent increase in sensationalism of news content in news programs.
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TV news provides citizens with unbiased information that helps to shape their thinking, as well as, their comprehension of various events. The two primary classes of TV news are those that focus on issues, and those that prioritize sensationalism and gossip. News items that focus on issues relay information that is relevant to both home and international audiences.
The issues that make up TV content are dependent on the strategies used by the media channel to enhance their commercialization and popularization. Such trends have resulted in the relay of mild forms of issues pertaining to education, environment, trade, crime, calamities and accidents, which are thought to be relevant to a large audience.
The tendency of news items to focus on sensationalism has been changing since the 1990s. Initially, sensationalism and human interest news content involved the coverage of information involving crime, violence, natural disasters, accidents and other issues pertaining to politics. The concept of sensationalism TV news was started with the view to spreading amusing, shocking, and heartwarming content to viewers.
However, the elements of sensationalism began to be employed in hard news. This was further enhanced by the development of new technologies and consumer-driven journalism that permitted the development of flashy and lavish formal production features. These elements were aimed at enhancing the participation of audiences during the viewing process of a variety of content including sex, scandal and celebrity news.
While various sensationalism elements such as flashy subtitles, decorative effects and video maneuvers enhance the entertainment aspect of news and increase the interest of viewers, it may, on the other hand, compromise the objectivity of the reporting. It is necessary for TV news to retain its credibility as a source of information, public debate and scrutiny of various concerns. Media stations should take a take a pragmatic approach in formulating the news agenda so that it takes into consideration multiple content including political events, sports events, crime reports, and accidents among others.
The primary coverage for TV news involves violent events such as riots, civil unrest, accidents, disasters and terrorism. This category is followed by a need for information pertaining to constitutional politics, which involves state visits and political meetings. Other categories of interest to the public include crime and corruption, health and environment, culture, entertainment and sports, and economics and trade.
People expose themselves to various kinds of media content in order to satisfy multiple social and psychological needs. The primary need for news content is surveillance. This implies that a majority of people are motivated to tune into TV news in order to acquire information regarding various events in the world.
As such, TV news should prioritize the delivery of such information in order to meet the primary market requirement. Other motivations include emotional release from certain events, and social function through interpersonal chat of occurrences. This implies that issue based standard news are more gratifying to viewers compared to sensationalism of gossip or entertainment news since the former is more believable than tabloid news, which focuses on viewer enjoyment.