Sensationalism in Philippine Media

Since the it was introduced in the Philippines, media has been a big part in the Philippine History. It’s contribution to the EDSA People Power is one of the examples of how much media had a great impact on Filipino History.

Our lives and perspectives are greatly affected by media. Sensationalism in Philippine Media – how does it affect Filipinos of today?

In our BC10 class, we discussed Sensationalism, News, and how sensationalism can be found in news.

Sensationalism is a type of editorial bias in mass media in which events and topics in news stories and pieces are over-hyped to increase viewership or readership numbers. Sensationalism may include reporting about generally insignificant matters and events that don’t influence overall society and biased presentations of newsworthy topics in a trivial or tabloid manner. – Wikipedia

Sensationalism is a way of getting high ratings – they focus on events that are exciting or shocking at the expense of accuracy in order to provoke public interest. The main goal is to grab attention – not relay information. They focus more on making profit than stating the truth – making a good story without much regard for factual accuracy.

That’s the problem of Philippine Media Today – Sensationalism. I believe that the people deserve to know the truth laid at the table and it’s up to them to make further judgement. Media should not dictate what the viewers should feel while watching the different news programs. They shouldn’t be the one dictating which side the viewers should be defending. Media should only be presenting all the possible sides of the story in black and white.

How do these programs exhibit sensationalism? Some tactics include being deliberately obtuse, appealing to emotions, being controversial, intentionally omitting facts and information, being loud, self-centered and acting to obtain attention. There is so much sensationalism in the disguise of truth and their definition of public service which could be regarded as self-serving.

“Unfortunately, in our country, sometimes sensationalism is a lot better than spreading the truth. Sometimes, the truth seems to have been a forgotten concept by some of our media practitioners,” – President Benigno Aquino

Sometimes, people rather listen to a bunch of white lies rather than hear the hurtful truth – but it’s better to be informed about the challenges we should face today so we can do something about it than keep ignoring the fact that it’s there until it’s too late.


Pamela Lorraine Ramos

2012 – 00720


8 thoughts on “Sensationalism in Philippine Media

  1. Great article, it is really sad that sensationalism is widely practiced by the media in our country. I think one example would be the different showbiz news which sometimes overpowers those which should be of more interest. The different scandals about Kris Aquino is one of the examples of how hyped up an issue could be. I hope that if the Freedom of Information Bill gets passed, sensationalism would also tone down in our country, the best news stories are those great importance in itself and reported without bias and with all facts presented to the eyes of the public. Perhaps that sensationalism is something hard to avoid because of the importance of ratings to the different media giants, what each and everyone could then do, in my opinion, is to look and be critical in every news story and article presented in front of us, that we look in different perspectives and angles of every story. Thank You for the post, it truly opens the minds to what is present to one of the powerful tools in our society.

    • I think one of the root causes of sensationalism in news today is the fact that the dominant news sources (ie. Bandila, GMA News, etc.) are from TV networks that are also involved in the entertainment industry. For example, it makes sense for an ABS-CBN news program to feature news about Kris Aquino or some other actor/actress instead of more relevant but less interesting news. This would serve the double purpose of satisfying people’s curiosity about the lives of celebrities as well as gain publicity and exposure for the actors and actresses themselves. I get it. It’s business for these TV stations. There is nothing inherently immoral about it per se, but the sensationalism it gives birth to presents real danger in terms of making our society ignorant or misinformed about greater issues at hand.

      I don’t think, however, that these TV stations should be blamed or bashed for operating the way they do. The public should be aware that news programs in stations involved in the entertainment industry also have other agenda than just informing the public news. Here is where personal responsibility on the part of the audience comes in. No one is forcing them to watch sensationalist media if they’re looking for updates on current events. There are also other sources of news – if not as popular with the masses – out there like ANC, that are less prone to exaggeration.

  2. I remember during an electives talk I went to recently, a broadcast communication major described some of the electives economics majors can take at the College of Mass Communications. What really caught my attention is that she did admit that media today is commercialized and the basis for what gets on air is not the relevance of the news but what generates income. In line with this, CMC offers a course on how one can sift through the information presented by the media and tell which is a fact and which is sensationalism. I think that this course would be a very interesting but, more importantly, very useful to take up. The media is after all the main source of information about what is happening around us. This course would be very helpful if we want to be truly informed as citizens. This kind of skill would also be very useful in our paths to becoming economists since economic analysis deals a lot and is based mostly on the behavior of people.

  3. Nice topic 🙂 it was worth reading.
    “The main goal is to grab attention – not relay information. They focus more on making profit than stating the truth – making a good story without much regard for factual accuracy.”
    This statement caught my attention the most. I remember my professor in one my econ classes mentioning something about the unreliability of such writers. And I bet it is all because of this sensationalism thing. Though I understand their feelings and the nature of their work, it appears to be such a waste to me because mass media is really a very good way to relay truthful information. And it would be better if it would really be used for such purposes.

  4. This is true, and it is a very big problem, especially for relatively small countries like the Philippines, where competition between news sources is fierce and much louder. There really is a lot of things to filter when watching the news; extraeneous one-time events that do not really indicate any trend are one example.

  5. I liked the way you presented the topic. It is indeed true that Philippine media is not that reliable now because of sensationalism. I hope this issue would be addressed for the people to be well-informed regarding different issues.

  6. The media caters to the wants of the people. Unfortunately, what the people want are things that would entertain them and would not need intellectual analysis. I agree with you that sensationalism is not what the Filipinos need but the whole truth about what is happening in our country.

  7. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely neatly written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information.
    Thank you for the post. I’ll certainly return.

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