Precision Journalism And Sensationalism (A Case Study Of Daily Sun And Daily Independent Newspaper)

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The idea of precision journalism grew out of the need for effective gathering, processing and dissemination of information, revealing its exactness and precision. Philip Meyer (2002); establishes that precision journalism covers a new and ongoing trend the use by reporters of social science research techniques to increases the depth and accuracy of major stories. Supporting the view, Adenze (2005); remarks that precision journalism seeks to show measures, so dynamic of using new technology to analyze data and provide more precise information in easier-to-understand forms.

However, Udobong (2002); remarks that the idea of precision journalism and conformed to the issue of precision journalism is often sensationalism. It is a manner of over-hyping events, being deliberately controversial, loud, self-centered or acting to obtain attention. It is also a form of theatre in the mass media.

Supporting the view, Nnama (1988) in Uwakwe (2005) say that sensationalism is commonly used reference to the mass media critics, of media bias and of all political stripes often to propel patronage and preference. In this sense, media outlets often choose to report heavily on stories with shock value or attention grabbing names or events, rather than reporting on more pressing issues to the general public.

Patnes smith (1998:112) says:

In the extreme case, the media would report the news of it makes a good story, without much regard for the factual accuracy or social release. Thus, a press release inducing radiations and false pseudo scientific claims issued by a controversial group is guaranteed a lot of media coverage.

The centenaries added that such stories are often prepared rightfully or mistakenly as partisan or based due to the sensational nature in which they are reported. A media organization may report on a political figure in a based way or present one side of an issue while neglecting another or neutrally. It may simply include sensational aspects such as zealots, doomsayers and or/Junk science.

Adinze (2000); says that complex subjects and affairs are often subject to sensationalism. Exciting and emotionally charged aspects can be drawn out without providing elements such as pertinent background, investigative or contextual information needed for the viewers to form his or her opinion.

Ababa (2005); also adds that the subject mainstream media may choose a comedy site as of news source and then proceed to display its content without any factual checks. Emphasizing on the goals of sensationalism in precision journalism, Wak Dicks (1988:112) says that:

One presumed goals of sensational reporting is increase for sustained readership or viewership which can be sold to advertisers. The result is a lesser focus on proper journalism and a greater focus on the “juicy” aspects of a story that pull in a large share of audience.  

Be it as it may, precision journalism seeks to reveal. The exactness in reporting and significant imperatives involved. However, sensationalism is often blamed for the “entertainment style’ of many of the news programs broadcast over radio and television, yet the news has always been enjoyed for as long as it has been exchanged.

(Stephens, 2006:15) remarks that the rebate of sensationalism used in the mass medium is based on a misunderstanding of its audience especially the television audience. Furthermore, while the newspaper is often seen as a more credible source than television news because of televisions use of footage over spoken information, they are both sensationalized to the same extent.

Marcus (1992); also comments that television news in restricted to showing the sense of crimes rather than the crime itself, whereas newspapers writers can always recall what they did not witness “no act of violence is beyond the reach of the still formidable magic of words”) Stephens 2006:280.

Therefore, in assessing the infiltration of sensationalism in precision journalism in the Daily Sun and Daily Independent newspapers, the extreme of concern is on the level of patronage and preference.


This study on precision journalism and sensationalism examines comparatively two outstanding Nigerian Newspapers in published by the sun publishing limited. The sun publishing limited was incorporated on March 29, 2001 to undertake the business of printing to publishing. The company’s the sun title joined the swelling ranks of the ever-vibrant Nigerian press on Saturday, January 18 2003 as a weekly and June 16, 2003 as a daily paper. It targets the young adults.

The daily sun newspaper is owned by Chief Orji Uzor Kalu. This presupposes that the paper’s choice of news stories and editorials must always be in affirmation and dictated of the owner and chief financier. It is predominantly published to treat the course of the south east people in Nigeria. It’s operational and corporate headquarters is at Lagos.

The daily independent newspaper is also a privately owned newspaper whose choice of news stories and direction of editorials is privately determined. It has its corporate headquarters at Lagos state with the managerial structure seeking to portray a typical newspaper outfit. Therefore, this research studies both the daily sun and daily independent newspapers respectively.


Every aspect of journalism is traditionally billed to be objective, precise and thorough. This presupposes that an ideal journalism is an investigative, interpretative and objective reporting of events for the audience members.

Perhaps, significant disregard to the importance of effective journalism, demand precision journalism under the new precision journalism, a journalist is expected to employ all the basic elements of social science to present news stories such stories must reveal exactness, objectify and clarity.

But over the years, sensationalism has equally been introduced into the drive. This primarily seeks to over-hype the basis of news stories, presenting such with increasing emotional desires. It is therefore uncertain whether the introduction of sensationalism allows for increasing patronage. If it does, what are the kind marks of sensationalism in precision journalism? of what importance is sensational reporting in new precision journalism?


This study seeked to:

  1. Assess the elements of sensationalism in news reporting of daily sun and daily independent newspapers.
  2. Find out the role of sensationalism in new journalism in the two newspapers studied.
  3. Assess the various methods of precision journalism employed by the two newspapers.
  4. Assess the importance of precision in modern journalism.
  5. Assess whether sensational reporting ignites newspaper readership in the two newspapers.


This study raises the following questions.

  1. What are the elements of sensationalism in news reporting of daily sun and daily independent newspapers.
  2. What are the roles of sensationalism in new journalism in the two newspapers?
  3. What are the various methods of precision journalism employed by the two newspapers?
  4. What are the importance of precision in modern journalism?
  5. Does sensational reporting ignite readership in the two newspapers?


This study is expected to be of tremendous usefulness to the practice of journalism. There is no significant relationship between sensationalism and modern precision journalist. This is imperative because it will revel the dynamics of new precision there is no significant relationship between sensationalism and modern precision journalism and sensational journalism.

Moreover, the findings of this study is also expected to introduce new parlance and methods of effective precision journalism. By so doing, journalist, practitioners in the media and students of journalism will gladly appreciate the importance of sensationalism and precision in modern day journalism.

Above all, this study will instigate researches on related discipline by serving as a measure of secondary data collection.


There are many issues in modern day journalism, but this study is limited to only precision journalism and sensationalism. By precision journalism, it looks at the exactness and precision attached to news coverage. Sensationalism on the other hand looks at the over gratification of news stories to achieved the desire results.

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