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Restorative narratives describe a new form of journalism that attempts to overcome the detrimental effects of the more prevalent negative and destructive tone of news coverage. This study investigates the potentials and risks of restorative narratives in the coverage of crises with a 2 (restorative/negative) × 2 (COVID-19/climate crisis) experimental online study (n = 829) for emotional, cognitive, evaluative, and behavioral outcomes. For both crises, results demonstrate that restorative narratives evoked more positive emotional reactions to the news, were more likely to be endorsed, and improved quality ratings of the news article compared with negative narratives. We found no effects for elaboration and information-seeking.
Restorative narratives are stories that highlight how people recover from adversity. Researchers have proposed that this storytelling approach may provide a way to share negative news without emotionally overwhelming audiences. Instead, restorative narratives may decrease the need for emotion regulation processes and as a result, increase the willingness to help those in need. In Study 1, a restorative narrative elicited more positive emotions and an increased willingness to volunteer compared to a negative and control version of the same story. In Study 2, the restorative narrative again evoked more positive emotions and higher hypothetical donations to a relevant charity. Study 2 also varied the narrative ending and found that restorative narratives may need to end positively to maintain their effects.
In the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, media reports have caused anxiety and distress in many. In some individuals, feeling distressed by information may lead to avoidance of information, which has been shown to undermine compliance with preventive health behaviors in many health domains (e.g., cancer screenings). We set out to examine whether feeling distressed by information predicts higher avoidance of information about COVID-19 (avoidance hypothesis), and whether this, in turn, predicts worse compliance with measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (compliance hypothesis). Thus, we conducted an online survey with a convenience sample (N = 1,059, 79.4% female) and assessed distress by information, information avoidance, and compliance with preventive measures. Furthermore, we inquired about participants' information seeking behavior and media usage, their trust in information sources, and level of eHealth literacy, as well as generalized anxiety. We conducted multiple linear regression analyses to predict distress by information, information avoidance, and compliance with preventive measures. Overall, distress by information was associated with better compliance. However, distress was also linked with an increased tendency to avoid information (avoidance hypothesis), and this reduced compliance with preventive measures (compliance hypothesis). Thus, distress may generally induce adaptive behavior in support of crisis management, unless individuals respond to it by avoiding information. These findings provide insights into the consequences of distress by information and avoidance of information during a global health crisis. These results underscore that avoiding information is a maladaptive response to distress by information, which may ultimately interfere with effective crisis management. Consequently, we emphasize the need to develop measures to counteract information avoidance.
In context of the current COVID-19 pandemic the consumption of pandemic-related media coverage may be an important factor that is associated with anxiety and psychological distress. Aim of the study was to examine those associations in the general population in Germany. 6233 participants took part in an online-survey (March 27th–April 6th, 2020), which included demographic information and media exploitation in terms of duration, frequency and types of media. Symptoms of depression, unspecific anxiety and COVID-19 related anxiety were ascertained with standardized questionnaires. Frequency, duration and diversity of media exposure were positively associated with more symptoms of depression and unspecific and COVID-19 specific anxiety. We obtained the critical threshold of seven times per day and 2.5 h of media exposure to mark the difference between mild and moderate symptoms of (un)specific anxiety and depression. Particularly the usage of social media was associated with more pronounced psychological strain. Participants with pre-existing fears seem to be particularly vulnerable for mental distress related to more immoderate media consumption. Our findings provide some evidence for problematical associations of COVID-19 related media exposure with psychological strain and could serve as an orientation for recommendations—especially with regard to the thresholds of critical media usage.
Background: This study examines the global media framing of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to understand the dominant frames and how choice of words compares in the media. Periods of health crisis such as the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic add to the enormous burden of the media in keeping people constantly informed. Extant literature suggests that when a message is released through the media, what matters most is not what is said but how it is said. As such, the media could either mitigate or accentuate the crisis depending on the major frames adopted for the coverage. Methods: The study utilises content analysis. Data were sourced from LexisNexis database and two websites that yielded 6145 items used for the analysis. Nine predetermined frames were used for the coding. Results: Human Interest and fear/scaremongering frames dominated the global media coverage of the pandemic. We align our finding with the constructionist frame perspective which assumes that the media as information processor creates 'interpretative packages' in order to both reflect and add to the 'issue culture' because frames that paradigmatically dominate event coverage also dominate audience response. The language of the coverage of COVID-19 combines gloom, hope, precaution and frustration at varied proportions. Conclusion: We conclude that global media coverage of COVID-19 was high, but the framing lacks coherence and sufficient self-efficacy and this can be associated with media's obsession for breaking news. The preponderance of these frames not only shapes public perception and attitudes towards the pandemic but also risks causing more problems for those with existing health conditions due to fear or panic attack.
Stories may provide a useful way of communicating about health and promoting engagement for health promotion campaigns. In this study, we examined the effectiveness of a particular type of narrative, restorative narratives (stories that highlight hope and resilience), relative to negative narratives (stories that focus on suffering or challenges). We also tested the effect of labeling the story as fact or fiction. The results suggested that restorative narratives may foster greater prosocial behavior than negative narratives and effectiveness does not differ depending on whether a story is labeled as “factual” or “fictional.” Our findings offer encouraging implications for future promotional efforts by health organizations.
Given the importance of news in preparing children for their role as active citizens in society, insight into how negative news can be delivered to children most optimally is warranted. In this regard, this study examined the usefulness of constructive news reporting (i.e. solution-based news stories including positive emotions). An experiment (N = 281 children, 9–13 years old) was conducted to investigate how constructive, compared to nonconstructive, news reporting affected recall of television news, and whether negative emotions elicited by this news mediated this relation. Analyses of covariance revealed that children in the constructive condition displayed a lower recall of the general information about the event. In contrast, their recall of constructive stories was better compared to the recall of comparable, but nonconstructive, stories by children in the nonconstructive condition. Fear and sadness elicited by the news did not mediate the relation between news reporting style and recall. Instead, constructive reporting directly induced smaller increases in fear and sadness than nonconstructive reporting. To conclude, the negative aspects of the news event were less prominently available in memory of children exposed to constructive news.
This article addresses practices of constructive journalism in the local, postcolonial context of St. Maarten, an autonomous Dutch Caribbean island. Building on extensive fieldwork at print and online news media outlets on the island and 14 in-depth interviews with reporters, editors, and news bloggers, this article shows that constructive journalism practices are widespread in St. Maarten. These are based on ideals of contributing to economic development, engagement and belonging, and social stability. The fieldwork, however, also revealed skepticism toward constructive journalism practices because of local political, economic, and socio-cultural constraints. This skepticism parallels broader critiques on active and involved forms of journalism, throwing up questions about the meaning and feasibility of a ‘constructive’ role of journalists in young, postcolonial democracies. This article argues that local constraints on St. Maarten journalism undermine the normative underpinnings of constructive journalism and calls for more disruptive journalism to serve the local community.
Social media platforms have become the primary conduits to news for many consumers, yet little is known about how the content in social media posts is viewed and evaluated by consumers or how it shapes their decisions about selecting and sharing this information. A within-subjects eye-tracking experiment (N = 60), was conducted to examine the influence of image presence and valence on attention to and engagement with news stories on social media. Participants viewed a series of 29 social media posts of news stories, each of which was either paired with no image, a positively valenced image, or a negatively valenced image. Participants attention to the images was captured via eye tracking, and they answered dependent measures to gauge level of emotion and arousal, and intention to click and share. The results show that posts containing positive images elicited a higher level of visual attention than those with negative or no images, which led to higher intentions to click and share posts with positive images. The results provide a deeper understanding of the importance of images in driving news consumption, and offer practical implications for journalists, news organizations and groups using social media to spread a message.
Following the news is generally understood to be crucial for democracy as it allows citizens to politically participate in an informed manner; yet, one may wonder about the unintended side effects it has for the mental well-being of citizens. With news focusing on the negative and worrisome events in the world, framing that evokes a sense of powerlessness, and lack of entertainment value, this study hypothesizes that news consumption decreases mental well-being via negative hedonic experiences; thereby, we differentiate between hard and soft news. Using a panel survey in combination with latent growth curve modeling (n = 2,767), we demonstrate that the consumption of hard news television programs has a negative effect on the development of mental well-being over time. Soft news consumption, by contrast, has a marginally positive impact on the trend in well-being. This can be explained by the differential topic focus, framing and style of soft news vis-à-vis hard news. Investigating the effects of news consumption on mental well-being provides insight into the impact news exposure has on variables other than the political ones, which definitively are not less societally relevant.
Keywords: news consumption, mental well-being, hedonic experiences, negativity, hard versus soft news
Die Deutsche Version der Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) wurde aus dem weit verbreiteten englischsprachigen Instrument zur Erfassung der emotionalen Befindlichkeit PANAS von Watson, Clark und Tellegen (1988) adaptiert. Der Fragebogen besteht aus 20 Adjektiven, die unterschiedliche Empfindungen und Gefühle beschreiben. Jeweils 10 Adjektive erfassen die Dimensionen Positiver Affekt und Negativer Affekt. Die Skala kann für unterschiedliche Untersuchungsziele eingesetzt werden. Je nach Instruktion können sowohl aktuelle, zeitlich begrenzte Affekte als auch überdauernde, habituelle Affektivitätsmerkmale gemessen werden. Die Items wurden in der zweiten Welle des GESIS Panel (2014) verwendet. Zentrale Kennwerte Titel: Deutsche Version der Positive and Negative Affect Schedule PANAS (GESIS Panel)
The role of the media in the creation of distrust is much debated in political communication. Will negative news, for example, relentless attacks on political authorities, result in political cynicism or in a stimulation effect? By and large the media may stimulate political participation,but it is less clear when negative news will nullify this effect. Negative news may not only have short-term behavioral effects but also effects on underlying attitudes such as trust in politicians, which may produce their “sleeper effect” on political behavior only in the long run. This article addresses two related research questions.Will negative news discourage trust in political leaders? Will trust have a sleeper effect for future party choice and future turnout within the months to come? The 2002 Dutch election campaign,being an unprecedented negative campaign as compared to other Dutch campaigns, provides a good case to investigate these questions. On the basis of a biweekly seven-wave panel survey study and a daily content analysis of television news and newspapers,negative news was found to have a significant effect on trust in party leaders in addition to prior vote preference and education.The distrust in party leaders also had a significant sleeper effect in the long run on turnout and on the actual vote in addition to previous intentions.In general,these findings support the malaise theory. They are helpful to explain why the Christian Democrats could win the elections in defiance of the polls.
This study aims to shed light on the news selection process by examining the news values currently operational in British newspapers. The study takes as its starting point Galtung and Ruge's widely cited taxonomy of news values established in their 1965 study and puts these criteria to the test in an empirical analysis of news published in three national daily UK newspapers. A review of Galtung and Ruge's original study as well as a wider review of related literature is provided. The findings of the news content analysis are used to evaluate critically Galtung and Ruge's original criteria and to propose a contemporary set of news values.
The concept of negativity in political news has not reached the status of a homogenous, overarching theoretical concept. This article proposes conceptual understandings, categorizations and practical operationalizations of negativity in the news that reflect the consensus of existing work paying special attention to recent European research. This work aims to systematize existing concepts and categories in order to increase comparability and cumulativity of empirical evidence. To structure and standardize dimensions of negativity in the news we differentiate firstly between negativity and confrontation, secondly between frame-related negativity and individual actor-related negativity, and thirdly between non-directional and directional dimensions of negativity.
This article provides a common set of indicators and matrice-based classifications of negativity (and its antithesis) in the news to measure and categorize its intensity and multi-dimensionality.
We hypothesize that there is a general bias, based on both innate predispositions and experience, in animals and humans, to give greater weight to negative entities (e.g., events, objects, personal traits). This is manifested in 4 ways: (a) negative potency (negative entities are stronger than the equivalent positive entities), (b) steeper negative gradients (the negativity of negative events grows more rapidly with approach to them in space or time than does the positivity of positive events, (c) negativity dominance (combinations of negative and positive entities yield evaluations that are more negative than the algebraic sum of individual subjective valences would predict), and (d) negative differentiation (negative entities are more varied, yield more complex conceptual representations, and engage a wider response repertoire). We review evidence for this taxonomy, with emphasis on negativity dominance, including literary, historical, religious, and cultural sources, as well as the psychological literatures on learning, attention, impression formation, contagion, moral judgment, development, and memory. We then consider a variety of theoretical accounts for negativity bias. We suggest that I feature of negative events that make them dominant is that negative entities are more contagious than positive entities.
Positive psychology is the study of the conditions and processes that contribute to the flourishing or optimal functioning of people, groups, and institutions. In this brief introduction, the authors give examples of current work in positive psychology and try to explain why the positive psychology movement has grown so quickly in just 5 years. They suggest that it filled a need: It guided researchers to understudied phenomena. The authors close by addressing some criticisms and shortcomings of positive psychology, such as the relative lack of progress in studying positive institutions.
The greater power of bad events over good ones is found in everyday events, major life events (e.g., trauma), close relationship outcomes, social network patterns, interpersonal interactions, and learning processes. Bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback have more impact than good ones, and bad information is processed more thoroughly than good. The self is more motivated to avoid bad self-definitions than to pursue good ones. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones. Various explanations such as diagnosticity and salience help explain some findings, but the greater power of bad events is still found when such variables are controlled. Hardly any exceptions (indicating greater power of good) can be found. Taken together, these findings suggest that bad is stronger than good, as a general principle across a broad range of psychological phenomena.
Hitherto no study has investigated the impact of constructive television journalism on affections and cognition of adult viewers. Having conducted a quasi-experimental online survey in cooperation with West German Broadcasting Corporation (WDR), this paper attempts to close this gap. To measure the impact a sample of 480 people were exposed to three differently emotionalizing news topics. For each of them, three item variations were created. They consist of an individual solution, a meta-solution, and no solution. The study shows that constructive TV-pieces have a positive emotional effect on viewers. This finding is particularly pronounced for news items with an individual solution. The comparison of the results for item variations with a meta-solution or no solution did not yield conclusive evidence. Negative emotions are reduced in news items that contain individual or meta-solutions. This effect is weaker for the latter when compared to news items without solutions.
In a fragmented digital media environment where news is increasingly encountered passively in social media feeds and via automated mobile alerts, active avoidance of news, rather than deliberate consumption, takes on outsized importance in shaping what it means to be an informed citizen. This article systematically evaluates the factors that predict news avoidance behaviors, considering both individual- and country-level explanations. Using a large-scale quantitative, comparative approach, we examine more than 67,000 survey respondents across 35 countries worldwide and find consistent evidence for how factors including demographics, political attitudes, and news genre preferences shape avoidance consistently across information environments. But we also show how country-level contextual factors, what we call “cultures of news consumption,” influence behaviors beyond that which is explained by respondent-level differences. Specifically, levels of press freedom and political freedom and stability are shown to negatively predict rates of news avoidance. These findings suggest that many people’s news use practices depend not only on personal characteristics and preferences but quite sensibly on the news available to them, which they may have good reason to view as deficient or untrustworthy, as well as culturally specific norms around its value and utility.
This work of rhetorical analysis interrogates the understanding of journalism as a deliberative instrument in democracy. With 42 in-depth interviews and hundreds of pages of text from websites, social media, and trade press articles, we find a major shift occurring in the United States between more traditional reporters and a growing class often calling themselves “engagement specialists.” These engagement-oriented journalists assert a responsibility to relationally engage with citizens in person and online, making space for them in the news production process. These emerging routines of trust-building are informing a new rhetoric around what it means to “do journalism.”
News media seem to have insufficient knowledge on how to reach Millennials. An important question is how professional journalism can prevent the disillusion that a growing number of Millennials experience when consuming news. Constructive journalism is often propagated as a way to improve the well-being and engagement of readers. To test this, the current study investigated the effects of constructive news on emotions and online engagement. In an experiment, 20–40-year-old participants ( n = 341) read a story containing constructive elements or not. Findings showed constructive news elicited lower levels of negative and higher levels of positive and inspirational emotional responses. Furthermore, reading constructive news partly affected readers’ actual online behaviour: Millennials who read the constructive news ‘liked’ this news more often. These results suggest that constructive journalism might be a viable strategy to attract younger news users, especially when the news topic is relevant to their lives.
We propose to expand the boundaries of the news process by introducing, defining and subsequently coining the interdisciplinary concept of constructive journalism as an emerging form of journalism that involves applying positive psychology techniques to news processes and production in an effort to create productive and engaging coverage, while holding true to journalism’s core functions. First, we review the critical issues in journalism that highlight the need for this approach. Next, we coin constructive journalism and situate the concept in the field. Finally, we outline techniques by which constructive journalism can be practiced, including the psychological frameworks supporting these applications. Overall, this essay suggests a needed direction for journalism by means of constructive reporting which aims to positively impact journalism’s diminished reputation and weary news audiences.
Restorative narrative, a recently termed contextual news form, reports on the responses of communities and individuals in the wake of traumatic events or systemic dysfunction. Through textual analysis of restorative narrative reporting and in-depth interviews with the corresponding journalists, this research seeks to understand how restorative narrative fits into the landscape of modern journalistic reporting.
An increasing number of news organizations are reporting stories about responses to persistent societal problems, a reporting form known as solutions journalism. While this type of reporting practice is typically text-based, visual reporting can also be solutions journalism. Photojournalism theory and practice pose particular insights for advancing academic understanding of solutions journalism. This study uses an experiment to examine effects of exposure to problem-oriented versus solution-oriented photojournalism for three different story topics. The study examines important variables such as narrative engagement, interest, self-efficacy, and behavioral intentions. Study data suggest that narrative engagement can play an important role in involving audiences in visual solutions reporting, with data showing that solutions visual reporting is more engaging on average. Further, when audiences are more engaged in the visual solutions reporting, participants report more positive outcomes for interest, self-efficacy, and behavior intentions. Study findings have implications for both journalism theory and for the practice of visual solutions journalism.
The fact that the news has a negativity bias is relatively undisputed. But is this a matter for concern? In this study, two experiments explored the impact of different types of constructive news stories on readers’ affect, motivation, and behavioural intentions. Study 1 examined news stories with either a solution frame or catastrophic frame, and Study 2 examined stories that evoked either positive or negative emotions. Findings revealed that catastrophically-framed stories and news stories that evoked negative emotions reduced intentions to take positive action to address issues, and resulted in negative affect. In contrast, solution-framed stories and news stories that evoked positive emotions resulted in more positive affect and higher intentions to take positive action and were still perceived as legitimate journalism. Respondents expressed a greater preference for solution-framed news. The conclusion is that more constructive journalism would better serve society.
This article begins by describing the recently created classifications of elements of constructive journalism and present examples of the media profession applying these elements. Constructive journalism draws on behavioural sciences, specifically positive psychology. From this, it is assumed that including constructive elements such as solution orientation, future orientation, depolarising techniques and seeking co-creation with the public contribute to the well-being of individuals as well as society. Following a public-oriented perspective, audience research is performed to understand how people value the incorporation of constructive elements in the news. Using an online survey, data were gathered from 3263 people in the Netherlands, aged 20–65. Results show an overall positive valuation, with some constructive elements appreciated more than others. Age, educational background and news interest seem to play a role in the nature of this valuation. Constructive journalism is steadily finding its way into journalism practice. There are also indications that people value news that incorporates constructive elements. It is important to further develop and define the concept in the coming years.
Constructive journalism as a (news) philosophy and practice is gaining ground around the globe as both new journalistic ventures and legacy news media variously experiment with so-called ‘constructive’ approaches, and specialized (nonprofit) organizations and training programs have been established. While scholarly interest in the subject has steadily grown accordingly, constructive journalism as a research field in its own right is arguably still in need of further development. Therefore, we set out to explore, advance, and shape a research agenda, and to build a theoretical and empirical foundation for constructive journalism, providing a 360° view by bringing together an international body of scholarship approaching the topic and the issues raised through different disciplinary, conceptual, and methodological lenses. As such, we aim, first, to contribute to the conceptual development of constructive journalism by refining its roots in positive psychology and carefully delineating its position along related and divergent types of journalism, identifying its core values and principles, the lineages and digressions. Second, we seek to advance theory building in this nascent research domain based on empirical data and insights variously derived from quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches exploring, describing, and testing through large-scale or in-depth analyses, how constructive journalism can be interpreted and put in practice, how it materializes and with what effect. In doing so, we adopt an overall stance of ‘critical appreciation’ toward the subject, engaging in foundational thinking while not shying away from an assessment of the potential and effective critique or controversy stirred by this proliferating ‘alternative’ branch of journalism.
Constructive journalism has become a popular term in recent years, and has been the basis of a number of seminars, conferences, courses at journalism schools, fellowship programs, and research projects. This article traces the origins of constructive journalism by describing and discussing the proponents, precedents, and principles of the movement. The article shows that constructive journalism is no new term and that its inherent principles share similarities with other well-known movements in the history of journalism. These include action journalism that was popular on both sides of the Atlantic at the turn of last century and public journalism that flourished at the turn of this century. Common for most of these movement are, however, their lack of conceptual clarity. The differences and similarities between constructive journalism, past movements, and more classical conceptions of journalism are analyzed through the framework of the Journalistic Compass that delineates four classical roles within journalism. The article concludes by describing the opportunities–and difficulties – that this recent movement faces as still more persons and organizations lay claim to practicing constructive journalism and it discusses how the proponents might learn from former movements that have gained popularity for a period but whose importance has since diminished.
The various practices of constructive journalism have the common objective to achieve certain effects on the audience: on the micro-level, the users’ information and emotion, on the meso-level the loyalty towards a media company, and on the macro-level the progress of society. Taking a holistic definition of constructive journalism as a basis, the two experiments discussed in this article examined the audience responses to German-language news and features presented to readers and radio listeners in both constructive and non-constructive versions. The results are multifaceted. On the micro-level, constructive forms can counteract a negative view of the world because the audience recognises a solution-orientation and underlying spirit of hope. The increased willingness to share constructive stories indicates, on the macro-level, that constructive reporting can raise the perception of possible solutions and role models and hence encourage engagement and emulation. But the hopeful prospects should not be used to simply garnish a difficult problem at any price and maintaining a distance from positive examples is advisable—otherwise, the constructive story runs the risk of being perceived as a commercial or political influence.
The media contribute to compassion fatigue—or public apathy toward human tragedy—in part by failing to present solutions to the social problems ubiquitous in today’s conflict-based news coverage. Some journalists have attempted to address this issue through a style of news labeled solutions journalism. This experiment tests the effects of this increasingly popular approach. Results revealed that discussing an effective solution to a social problem in a news story caused readers to feel less negative and to report more favorable attitudes toward the news article and toward solutions to the problem than when no solution or an ineffective solution was mentioned. Reading about an effective solution did not, however, impact on readers’ behavioral intentions or actual behaviors. This suggests that solution-based journalism might mitigate some harmful effects of negative, conflict-based news, but might not inspire action.
For a well-functioning democracy, it is crucial that children consume news. However, news can elicit overly negative emotions and discourage engagement in children. The question, therefore, is how news can be adapted to children's sensitivities and needs but can still inform them. This study investigated whether constructive reporting (solution-based narratives including positive emotions) in news about negative events improved emotional responses and encouraged engagement (intention and inspiration to engage). In an experiment, 8–13-year-olds (N = 332) read a story containing either constructive elements or not. Constructive news elicited lower levels of negative emotional responses and provided more inspiration for engagement than nonconstructive news. These promising findings open doors for follow-up investigations regarding constructive news reporting, also among adult audiences.
Despite the well-established power of the media to shape public perceptions of social problems, compassion fatigue is believed to remain prevalent. So what does it take for someone to be compelled to act after reading a story or seeing an image of a prominent issue? This study, a 3-by-2 between subjects experiment, examined the effects of two journalistic techniques — shocking audiences into action with offensive stories or inspiring them to act with solution-based stories-in the context of sex trafficking. Results revealed that neither shock nor solutions stories led to increased empathy for trafficked individuals, greater understanding of the issue, increased desire to share the story or increased desire to act, but that readers of solutions stories felt more positive and were more likely to read similar stories about the issue. This suggests that solution-focused news stories might be at least somewhat more engaging than shocking and offensive stories.
The 21st century has seen the continued dominance of Western media, and the emergence and steady rise of non-Western media in the international arena. In 2014, Ebola received widespread international media coverage, which provided an opportunity to study how Western and non-Western media narrated Ebola and Africa. Constructive journalism was employed to determine whether new journalistic approaches have emerged to cover crisis issues in Africa. The tone and salient themes of the stories were examined. China Daily featured more stories with new approaches related to constructive journalism than the BBC did. The study argues that the use of constructive journalism themes offers alternatives to traditional negative stereotypes through a holistic coverage of issues from the perspective of people in affected areas. Significantly, the practice of constructive journalism contributes to effective health communication, which is vital in the overall strategy to identify, contain and cure diseases such as Ebola. This article advances constructive journalism as an empowering approach, in narrating Ebola-related and African stories, for its focus on possible solutions.
Political news coverage has – allegedly – undergone profound changes in the past decades. A professionalization of both politics and journalism, increasing market pressures and technological developments (Negrine & Lilleker, 2002) have led to a new quality in the link between political actors and institutions and the mass media, but are also claimed to have greatly affected the way politics is covered in the media. Such changes include overall decreasing amounts of political news coverage, an increasing focus on political strategy and the horse-race in politics, increasing negativity towards political actors and politics in general, conflict as a central theme of the news and an increasing focus on political leaders and personalities (Blumler & Gurevitch, 1995).
People increasingly visit online news sites not directly, but by following links on social network sites. Drawing on news value theory and integrating theories about online identities and self-representation, we develop a concept of shareworthiness, with which we seek to understand how the number of shares an article receives on such sites can be predicted. Findings suggest that traditional criteria of newsworthiness indeed play a role in predicting the number of shares, and that further development of a theory of shareworthiness based on the foundations of newsworthiness can offer fruitful insights in news dissemination processes.
After much criticism that the media publish too much negative news, some media outlets have dedicated themselves to publishing only happy, upbeat stories. The current experiment examined the positive news industry by testing the effects of three types of story valence—positive, negative, and silver lining—on readers’ affect, story enjoyment, perceived well-being, and sharing intentions. Results suggest that valence plays a significant role in readers’ affect, in that positive news makes readers feel good. Additionally, findings suggest that the silver-lining story—one that highlights a positive outcome of a negative event—may present a practical way for media outlets to maintain the time-honored surveillance function of negative news yet also reap the affective benefits of positive news.
This contribution offers a review, comprehensive to date, of a 15-year research program on the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Although centered on evidence that has emerged from Fredrickson's Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory (PEP Lab), it features key findings from other laboratories as well. It begins with a description of 10 representative positive emotions, alongside approaches for assessing them, both directly with the modified Differential Emotions Scale and indirectly through physiological and implicit measures. Next, it offers the seeds of the broaden-and-build theory, including work on the undo effect of positive emotions. It then reviews the state of the evidence for the twin hypotheses that stem from the broaden-and-build theory, the broaden hypothesis and the build hypothesis, including a focus on upward spiral dynamics. It touches next on new frontiers for the theory, including deeper investigations into the biological resources that positive emotions build as well as clinical and organizational applications. Finally, this contribution closes with a brief presentation of two offshoots from the broaden-and-build theory, namely, the upward spiral model of lifestyle change and work on love as positivity resonance between and among people. Both are targets of increasing work in the PEP Lab.
The news has changed greatly during the past two decades. In response to the intensely competitive media environment created by cable news and entertainment, news outlets have softened their coverage. Their news has also become increasingly critical in tone. Soft news and critical journalism have not stopped the decline in news audiences. Cable television and, more recently, the Internet have cut deeply into the readership of newspapers and news magazines and into the viewing audiences for network and local newscasts. This attrition might have been even greater if the news had not been recast into a softer and more critical form. One thing is certain: news consumption has fallen dramatically during the past decade.
This study examined how intrinsic as well as perceived message features affect the extent to which online health news stories prompt audience selections and social retransmissions, and how news-sharing channels (e-mail vs. social media) shape what goes viral. The study analyzed actual behavioral data on audience viewing and sharing of New York Times health news articles, and associated article content and context data. News articles with high informational utility and positive sentiment invited more frequent selections and retransmissions. Articles were also more frequently selected when they presented controversial, emotionally evocative, and familiar content. Informational utility and novelty had stronger positive associations with e-mail-specific virality, whereas emotional evocativeness, content familiarity, and exemplification played a larger role in triggering social media-based retransmissions.
Commentators regularly lament the proliferation of both negative and/or strategic (“horse race”) coverage in political news content. The most frequent account for this trend focuses on news norms and/or the priorities of news journalists. Here, we build on recent work arguing for the importance of demand-side, rather than supply-side, explanations of news content. In short, news may be negative and/or strategy-focused because that is the kind of news that people are interested in. We use a lab study to capture participants’ news-selection biases, alongside a survey capturing their stated news preferences. Politically interested participants are more likely to select negative stories. Interest is associated with a greater preference for strategic frames as well. And results suggest that behavioral results do not conform to attitudinal ones. That is, regardless of what participants say, they exhibit a preference for negative news content.
This review of the literature on disaster media coverage describes the events, samples, and forms of media coverage (television, newspapers, radio, internet) studied and examines the association between media consumption and psychological outcomes. A total of 36 studies representing both man-made and natural events met criteria for review in this analysis. Most studies examined disaster television viewing in the context of terrorism and explored a range of outcomes including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caseness and posttraumatic stress (PTS), depression, anxiety, stress reactions, and substance use. There is good evidence establishing a relationship between disaster television viewing and various psychological outcomes, especially PTSD caseness and PTS, but studies are too few to draw definitive conclusions about the other forms of media coverage that have been examined. As media technology continues to advance, future research is needed to investigate these additional media forms especially newer forms such as social media.
Support is surfacing in the popular media, and in some cases the scholarly press, for allegations that the media's perspective is tinted by partisanship and negativity. Despite great attention to these matters, analyses subjecting these claims to objective testing, using meaningful baselines with which to compare coverage, have been lacking. By studying coverage of unemployment, an issue for which outcomes are known and quantified, this research offers comparisons of coverage when presidents of both parties have produced the same results and when the unemployment rate has fallen or risen by a comparable margin. The results, utilizing a fair baseline from which to evaluate media coverage, provide no evidence of any meaningful partisan bias while offering strong evidence that the media cover bad outcomes far more than good.
The cognitive mediation model of learning from the news proposes that motivations for news use influence the processing to which the news information is put, and that this processing is the proximal determinant of learning. The role of motivations in learning from the news, then, is indirect through information processing. Secondary analysis of data indicate substantial support for the model. The relationship between motivations and knowledge was reduced by the introduction of the mediating cognitive variables, news attention, and news elaboration. Both attention and elaboration were significantly related to knowledge, even after controlling all other variables in the model.
The cognitive mediation model predicts that the impact of a learning gratification for news media use on knowledge of news content is mediated by information processing variables. Specifically, surveillance gratifications seeking should encourage two forms of information processing: news attention and elaboration. These forms of information processing should covary and have a direct and positive impact on learning of news content. The impact of surveillance gratifications seeking on knowledge—expected at the zero-order level—should be approximately zero when these information processing variables are controlled. A secondary analysis of two sample surveys (N = 512 and N = 567) plus analysis of original data specifically designed to test the model (N = 299) provide nearly complete support for hypotheses derived from the model in the context of political learning from the news. Suggestions for expansion of the model are provided.
An effect observable across many different domains is that negative instances tend to be more influential than comparably positive ones. This phenomenon has been termed the negativity bias. In the current work, it was investigated whether this effect pertains to judgments of truth. That is, it was hypothesized that information valence and perceived validity should be associated such that more negative information is deemed more true. This claim was derived from the findings that negative instances tend to demand more attentional resources and that more elaborate processing can render messages more persuasive. In three experiments, manipulating information valence through framing – and assessing judgments of truth – the hypothesized negativity bias was corroborated. Potential explanations and implications for further research are discussed.
This study extends the research on information processing in performance appraisal judgments. A critical aspect of this research is the relation between memory and judgment processes. Performance appraisal researchers have traditionally assumed that performance judgments are based on memory for specific behaviors; implicit in this assumption is the idea that as memory for specific behaviors improves, judgmental accuracy should also improve. The authors elaborate the circumstances under which performance ratings are more or less likely to be based on previously formed judgments as opposed to memory for specific information. Results indicate that the causal relation between memory and judgment is driven by contextual factors at the time ratings are required as well as at the time information is encoded. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
L'A. montre que chaque individu tient a etre tenu informe des differents evenements qui surviennent au cours de l'existence et cela qu'il soit concerne ou non par l'information. Il estime que la connaissance permet de reduire, de repondre a certains dangers, a certaines peurs. Il s'efforce de comprendre l'importance de l'information dans le cadre de la vie humaine. Il estime que le besoin d'information s'est manifeste des la Prehistoire. Il presente une analyse de type evolutionniste de ce type de besoin qui fait intervenir a la fois une dimension biologique et culturelle
Scholars have begun to explore the role of modes of information processing and related audience characteristics in reactions to risky situations and risk information.((11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 20))"Information processing" concerns how people attend to and consider available information: systematic processors analyze messages and situations carefully, while heuristic processors skim and use cues (e.g., opinions of trusted reference groups) for quick judgments. This article uses scenarios about a semi-hypothetical industrial facility, in particular risk comparisons being considered by its manager for inclusion in a talk to the community, to explore the impact of information processing. Information insufficiency, self-assessed capacity to understand information, and information-seeking propensities are tested for potential effects on information processing about industrial risks by people living near industry. As well as testing established models, this article explores the additional explanatory value of involvement, relevance, and ability (Earle et al., 1990) and objective knowledge. Both existing model variables and new ones have significant effects on information seeking and information processing in this case, and partly confirm earlier results. Trumbo((17,18)) found that heuristic processors saw lower risk and systematic processors higher risk from suspected cancer clusters. In this study, reporting knowledge about local industrial risks as insufficient for one's purposes and self-reported avoidance of such information both raised ratings of the facility's risk and lowered ratings of its acceptability. Neither type of information processing significantly affected risk or acceptability judgments, but both increased risk ratings and heuristic processing had more effect than systematic processing. Positive ratings of risk comparisons' clarity and meaningfulness decreased risk and increased acceptability ratings, dominated other information variables in predictive power, and exceeded risk, benefit, and trust in contribution to acceptability judgments. Despite differences across studies in designs and variables, and the embryonic development of appropriate (self-reported) measures for use in field surveys, these results confirm the potential value of further research in how information seeking and processing affect risk beliefs and reactions to risk communications.