Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 31, 2013

Language intensity as a sensationalistic news feature: The influence of style on sensationalism perceptions and effects

Christian Burgers and Anneke de Graaf


This article extends the definition of sensationalism to print media by arguing that language intensifiers may be an aspect of sensationalism. In addition, this paper investigates if an indirect effect can be established by which sensationalistic message features influence news reception through the perception of sensationalism. Two between-subjects experiments show that sensationalistic message features like intensifiers increase perceived language intensity (PLI). In experiment 1, intensifiers had a negative effect on news article appreciation, which was not influenced by PLI. Experiment 2 revealed positive indirect effects of intensifiers through PLI on newsworthiness and news article appreciation.

Published Online: 2013-5-31
Published in Print: 2013-5-29

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