The highest percentage of manipulative headlines was registered in Zaporizhzhia (12%) and Vinnytsia (10%), the lowest – in Mariupol (2%) and Lutsk (1.6%).
These are the results of research by NGO “Institute of Mass Information”, which was conducted in 10 regions of Ukraine in July of this year.*
According to the data of IMI research, in the monitoring period in total there were 256 violations in news headlines. Most often, the violations were related to exaggerations and unwarranted sensationalism in the titles of information materials, inaccurate generalizations that were blurring the context of the news, factually unconfirmed data that were not confirmed in the body of the text of the news, presence of inadmissibly emotional words and expressions in the headlines, as well as headlines that did not contain any specific and relevant information about the reported event. Manipulative headlines were mostly used in political, economic, social news, and in crime reports, as well as in materials that likely were commissioned.
In average, it turned out that each 20th news in the regional mass media (5% in total) include manipulations in the headlines, namely, the headlines were inconsistent with the text.
“To my opinion, one of the key reasons of підвищення емоційного градусу in the headlines of the news is desire to increase the number of web-site visits, which usually results in more income from advertisement. Yet here, like in all things, moderation is required, as considerable distortion of information in the headlines can cause decline of trust of the audience”, – IMI expert Olena Holub commented.
*The research was conducted by NGO “Institute of Mass Information” within the framework of the project «Development of responsible online media», supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Czech Republic in July of 2018.
As a part of the research, 5000 pieces of news were processed, from 50 regional online media outlets in 10 cities of Ukraine (Vinnytsia, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Kropyvnytskyi, Lutsk, Mariupol, Odesa, Poltava, Uzhhorod, Kharkiv). The monitoring covered only news from the newsfeed of online media outlets: articles, journalist investigations, analytics, announcements, blogs, editorials, columns, etc. were NOT analyzed.