Factors affecting viewers' perceptions of sensationalism in television news: A survey study in Taiwan

Tai Li Wang*, A. Akiba Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using national survey data, this study examines factors that affect Taiwanese television viewers' perceptions of sensationalism in TV news. Findings indicate that TV formal features, channel selection, motivations for watching TV news, and viewers' demographics are significant factors that influence viewers' perceptions of sensationalism. Compared to other news topics, "gossip" was identified as the most sensational news topic. Concerning TV news formal features, the more audio, visual, and editing production features in the programs, the more sensational the news was perceived to be. In addition, cable news viewers perceive news content as more sensational than viewers of terrestrial television. Finally, information-oriented, older, and more highly educated viewers tend to perceive television news as more sensational. This paper further discusses the more universal implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-157
Number of pages33
JournalIssues and Studies
Volume45
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009

Keywords

  • Audience research
  • Sensationalism
  • Tabloid news
  • Television news

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