By Li Qiang | 2012-5-31 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
IN a recent China Youth Daily poll of 11,394 people in 31 provinces and municipalities, 78.4 percent of the respondents said sensational headlines are a common news feature.
Many online news stories carry eye-catching headlines written by so-called "title clans." These headlines, couched in garish words intended to draw clicks, are often a far cry from what the articles are about.
For instance, an expert was quoted as saying "gutter oil cannot make its way back to the table" in a controversial news story headline, while he actually admitted that it can,except that the amount is less than 3 million tons a year.
Take another example. Peking University President Zhou Qifeng once appeared in a headline that read "American education is a complete mess." The truth is that he merely identified a few problems with the US system after giving it due credit.
When events are taken out of their context, a plain news item can be highly misleading.
In an age of information explosion, it's natural for media to try to get attention.
But even though they are under the sway of clicks, media professionals should not pander to bias that is often amplified by such stereotypical labels as "children of rich people," "offspring of officials" and "BMWs."
These words might generate more page views, but they confuse the public, bring trouble to interviewees. Worse, they hurt media credibility.
The media's priority is to abide by its ethics, not to attract eyeballs.