Telling a story in an overblown, exaggerated way to make it seem more exciting is sensationalism. Trustworthy newspapers avoid sensationalism, instead sticking to the facts.

If you write a story for the school paper with the headline "Aliens Suspected in Graffiti Incident," your editor will probably accuse you of sensationalism. Sacrificing accuracy for drama may get you readers, but your sensationalism means they can't trust the stories you write. In philosophy, on the other hand, this word is used for the belief that true knowledge is based solely on what you perceive through your senses.

Definitions of sensationalism
  1. noun
    the journalistic use of subject matter that appeals to vulgar tastes
    “the tabloids relied on sensationalism to maintain their circulation”
    synonyms: luridness
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    type of:
    the style in which newspapers are written
  2. noun
    subject matter that is calculated to excite and please vulgar tastes
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    type of:
    content, message, subject matter, substance
    what a communication that is about something is about
  3. noun
    (philosophy) the ethical doctrine that feeling is the only criterion for what is good
    synonyms: sensualism
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    type of:
    philosophical doctrine, philosophical theory
    a doctrine accepted by adherents to a philosophy
  4. noun
    (philosophy) the doctrine that knowledge derives from experience
    synonyms: empiricism, empiricist philosophy
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    British empiricism
    the predominant philosophical tradition in Great Britain since the 17th century
    an empirical doctrine that advocates experimental principles
    logical positivism, positivism
    the form of empiricism that bases all knowledge on perceptual experience (not on intuition or revelation)
    Auguste Comte's positivistic philosophy that metaphysics and theology should be replaced by a hierarchy of sciences from mathematics at the base to sociology at the top
    type of:
    philosophical doctrine, philosophical theory
    a doctrine accepted by adherents to a philosophy
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