Sophie Lecheler's research while affiliated with University of Vienna and other places

Publications (66)

Article
Intentional news avoidance describes an intermittent news use practice in which people deliberately turn away from the news. First findings point out that the level of intentional news avoidance has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. Since this might be related to negative consequences both with regard to compliance with measures and for the ec...
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In times of identity politics, journalists use group primes to organize events and reduce their complexity. Because research has mostly investigated the effects of single group primes on opinion formation and news selection, two aspects of group primes in the news have remained understudied: (1) whether they directly affect group identification its...
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Framing research has predominantly revealed detrimental effects of episodic news frames, including individualist blame attributions and political cynicism. However, such frames may also discourage group biases and impede motivated reasoning regarding identity politics. In two experiments ( N = 815; N = 1,019), we test the effect of episodic frames...
Article
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) experiment...
Article
The use of algorithmic tools by journalists for information-gathering has received particular attention in recent years. While it might facilitate the research process, there are also concerns about their impact on journalism. Based on reconstruction interviews with 27 journalists, we first answer the primary question to what extent journalists act...
Article
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also saw an “Infodemic”. The WHO argues that both the amount and the varying degree of trustworthiness of available information about COVID-19 has become difficult to handle. As a result, people might avoid the news altogether. News avoidance refers to turning away from the news – either because of an...
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The discussion on sexual violence gained momentum in October 2017 after the Twitter hashtag (#metoo) spread globally highlighting the widespread reality of this problem. While this resulted in extensive media coverage, and naturally informed audiences about societal issues, it can also be problematic regarding the media’s power to reflect and const...
Article
The online sphere allows people to be personally anonymous while simultaneously being socially identifiable. Twitter users can use a pseudonym but signal allegiance to a political party in their profile (e.g., #MAGA). We explore the interplay of these two dimensions of anonymity on a custom-built social media platform that allowed us to examine the...
Article
Over the past years, innovative technologies (such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR)) have become more common within news organizations. These technologies allow users to immerse themselves in a virtual world. With these types of productions, the journalist tries to engage and involve the user by introducing emo...
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A growing literature on the impact of “fake news“ accusations on legacy news outlets suggests that the use of this term is part of a much larger trend of increased and delegitimizing media criticism by political actors. However, so far, there is very little empirical evidence on how prevailing politicians’ delegitimizing media criticism really is a...
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Western democracies are increasingly defined by identity politics, where politics appeals to both political and other social identities. Consequently, political information processing should depend not just on political identity, but also on other identities, such as gender, race, or sexuality. For any given issue, we argue that the extent to which...
Article
Major news outlets increasingly use immersive techniques in their journalistic productions. The idea is that, through the application of immersive technologies, the news consumer can engage with and be part of the story. However, we do not know, to what extent this promise is actually fulfilled in productions currently accessible to news audiences....
Article
This introduction to the special issue makes the argument that, in order to understand journalistic production and consumption in an increasingly complex digital world, journalism studies must employ research designs that combine methods from different academic perspectives and disciplines. In particular, we propose increased collaboration with sch...
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During recent years, worries about fake news have been a salient aspect of mediated debates. However, the ubiquitous and fuzzy usage of the term in news reporting has led more and more scholars and other public actors to call for its abandonment in public discourse altogether. Given this status as a controversial but arguably effective buzzword in...
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The emotional turn in journalism studies is fueled by new forms of emotion-driven journalistic work, such as immersive journalism and constructive journalism. However, because these innovations are developed to ultimately re-connect journalists with disenfranchised and fragmented audiences, they highlight the need for a more thorough study of audie...
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There is a worry that serious forms of political conflict, in particular, uncivil behavior of politicians, increases political cynicism and demobilizes the public. Despite the close relation of incivility with social and cultural norms of what is an acceptable form of discussion, studies are mostly restricted to one country. To overcome this blind...
Chapter
This chapter has two aims. It discusses how and which online sources journalists use today and how journalists can actually verify information online. We also discuss how the use of online sources affects the prevalence of balanced and objective reporting in mediated discourses. The chapter includes a short case study concentrating on how journalis...
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Based on an extensive literature review, we suggest that ‘fake news’ alludes to two dimensions of political communication: the fake news genre (i.e. the deliberate creation of pseudojournalistic disinformation) and the fake news label (i.e. the instrumentalization of the term to delegitimize news media). While public worries about the use of the la...
Article
With the integration of social media in political communication repertoires, politicians now permanently campaign for support online. By promoting their personal agenda, politicians increasingly profile themselves independent from their associated parties on the web (i.e., self-personalization). By focusing on self-personalization as a multi-layere...
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Anger expression is increasingly prevalent in political news messages. However, the persuasive effects of expressing anger in a political context have received scant attention from researchers. We conducted two experiments to investigate the hypothesis that anger expression is detrimental to persuasion because it runs counter to well‐established so...
Article
This special issue takes up the issue of online journalistic news sourcing techniques, which are defined as the use of the internet for gathering information for news stories. Online platforms, such as websites, Wikipedia, search engines, and social media can be consulted by journalists to gather or check information from both elite and non-elite a...
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A large number of studies focus on the effects of news consumption on learning. However, we know surprisingly little about how the process of news consumption itself influences learning across different platforms. This experimental study (N = 149) uses eye tracking to examine to what extent news modality (i.e., whether news is presented in a printe...
Article
Political knowledge and political interest are generally positively influenced by news media exposure. Yet, at the same time, knowledge and interest are among the most important predictors of news media exposure in the first place. We conduct a field experiment (N=393) as a test of this dual function of knowledge and interest in a realistic news me...
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Conflict-framing literature has suffered from a lack of consistent conceptualization and consequently the aim of this paper is to unravel the dimensionality of conflict frames. We conducted a content analysis (N = 1536) to develop a typology of conflict news coverage. Using factor analysis, different aspects of conflict news are distinguished with...
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In recent years, the use of visualizations or infographics in the news has become increasingly popular. We know, however, surprisingly little about how news consumers use and appreciate news visualizations. We apply a mixed-method approach to answer these two questions. First, we conduct an eye-tracking study that measures use, by means of direct a...
Article
In the past years the Netherlands have witnessed turbulent debates on immigration and integration, characterized by high levels of negativity and containing a variety of different viewpoints, i.e., frames, of the issue. We use a 4 x 2 between subjects experiment to investigate, which responses four salient immigration frames elicit among Dutch citi...
Article
This article investigates the impact of the deliberative quality of online news items on argument repertoire. Participants in an online experiment (N = 557) read a news item that covers a local debate on underground CO2 storage. Two dimensions of deliberative quality are manipulated: justification, or the extent to which arguments in the news item...
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This study examines how news consumers evaluate the use of digital sources in the journalistic news production process. It also assesses to what extent credibility judgments depend on whether consumers learn that journalists have visibly verified the information they have obtained from a certain source. Using a scenario study, we found that scenari...
Article
Prior research has found that exposure to news frames can cause emotional responses to political issues. Yet, little is known about how different combinations of news frames and issues relate to discrete emotions and whether these emotions, in turn, affect issue perceptions. The present study investigates these questions by testing whether (a) the...
Chapter
Political issues can be viewed from different perspectives and they can be defined differently in the news media by emphasizing some aspects and leaving others aside. This is at the core of news framing theory. Framing originates within sociology and psychology and has become one of the most used theories in political communication research.
Article
This review article provides a critical discussion of empirical studies that deal with the use of online news sources in journalism. We evaluate how online sources have changed the journalist–source relationship regarding selection of sources as well as verification strategies. We also discuss how the use of online sources changes audience percepti...
Article
A considerable amount of research is devoted to the presence and effects of conflict frames in the news. However, it is unknown if journalists actively manufacture and inflate conflict in their coverage of politics, or if they merely respond to contentious politics as it happens. This study focuses on the extent to which journalists take an interve...
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Emotions play an important role in explaining why news framing has effects on opinions about immigration. Yet, our knowledge regarding which emotions are relevant for different types of news frames is limited. This survey experiment (N = 715) determines to what extent positive and negative emotions mediate framing effects about immigration, and whe...
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This study tests how repeated exposure to the same news frame influences political opinions over time. In a survey experiment (N = 296), we repeatedly exposed participants to the same news frame (at the start of the study, after one day, one week, and two weeks) and measured effects on opinions (at the start, after two weeks, and after six weeks)....
Article
Previous research has established that rival issue frames that target competing values can lead public opinion in different directions. This article examines rival frames that target the same values but for competing political ends. We report on an experiment (N = 503) that examines the framing of a controversy over extreme anti-immigrant speech. B...
Article
A growing number of experimental studies investigate the duration of news framing effects. This article presents a systematic review of the theoretical premises, experimental designs, and individual-level moderators in these studies. Our results suggest that most studies report effects that persist beyond initial exposure and that may be influentia...
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The underlying psychological processes that enable framing effects are often described as cognitive. Yet, recent studies suggest that framing effects may also be mediated by emotional response. The role of specific emotions in mediating the framing effect process, however, has yet to be fully empirically investigated. In an experimental survey desi...
Article
Based on a “classic” framing experiment (N = 1,324), this study empirically mimics the dynamic nature of framing effects over time. We integrate (a) multiple frame exposures as well as (b) various tests for duration of framing effects into our study design. Our results show that exposure to repetitive frames does not systematically strengthen effec...
Article
The social relevance of framing effects hinges upon their ability to persist. This article develops a theoretical account of the conditions under which framing effects should vanish quickly, fade slowly, or cause permanent changes. It argues that the cognitive processes involved in mediating frame effect need to leave durable traces in a person's k...
Article
This study contributes to the debate on the European Union (EU) ‘communication deficit’ by assessing EU-media relations. Previous literature has examined the way EU institutions interface with journalists, but tells us little about potential differences between these institutions’ communication performance. Moreover, research tends to address the m...
Article
There is no satisfactory account of the psychological processes that mediate a news framing effect. Based on an experimental study (N = 1,537), this article presents a mediation analysis of a news framing effect on opinion, testing for two important mediation processes: belief importance and belief content change. Results show that framing is media...
Article
A growing number of studies test the effects of news framing on citizens' understanding of politics. By employing experimental designs, these studies report significant effects for a multitude of issues and frames. However, what happens to the framing effect after initial exposure? Based on a "classic" framing experiment (n = 625), this article tra...
Article
Journalists working in Brussels are commonly perceived as different from traditional foreign correspondents. However, their isolation from their home offices also renders them distinct from domestic political journalists. Consequently, studies of Brussels correspondents have come up with their own viable types of “political journalism in Brussels.”...
Article
One of the most important activities of the European Union (EU) has been widening the Union, that is, enlargement. Tapping to what extent and why EU citizens support future enlargement rounds has become a popular endeavour among researchers and EU officials. During recent years, a number of studies have indicated that public support for EU integrat...
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A growing amount of research is devoted to the question of which individual and contextual variables enhance, limit, or obliterate news framing effects. However, the fundamental question whether framing effects vary depending on the issue at stake has not been addressed. Based on two experimental studies (total N = 1,821), this article investigates...
Article
In light of the 2004 and 2007 enlargement of the European Union with 12 new member states we need to reconsider what we know about the Brussels press corps. Brussels journalists play a pivotal role in the European integration process. They act as agents of Europeanization, wedged between complex European issues and national public spheres, privileg...
Article
Previous research has established that framing issues with respect to alternative, competing values can significantly affect public opinion. In the present research, we investigate rival frames that draw upon the same values to advocate opposing policy positions. We also investigate whether frames can emphasize or deemphasize emotional responses to...
Article
This dissertation supplies a number of research findings that add to a theory of news framing effects, and also to the understanding of the role media effects play in political communication. We show that researchers must think more about what actually constitutes a “framing effect”, and that a dissociation of framing from other media effects conce...

Citations

... In a case of a major breaking news story, they will often ask for additional information from users before using their content as a source in news story . Recent suggests that journalists' verification practices on social media are limited to finding reliable sources for verifying information (de Haan et al. 2022;Van Leuven et al. 2018). ...
... For example, in understanding what might cause Twitter to ramp up their efforts to combat hateful speech, it is important to model macro level factors like the high-level financial motivations of platforms (Van Dijck 2013). However, it is at the same time important to model factors at the micro-level; something as minute as how profiles are displayed can change social interactions (Jaidka et al. 2021) in ways that impact willingness to spew hateful content (Munger 2017). ...
... Turning to the third actor group, we observe that political actors (i.e., candidates or parties) have been increasingly influential in the dissemination of political information, especially during election times (Dimitrova and Matthes 2018). While various recent studies investigate content created and shared by political actors on social media platforms themselves (Egelhofer et al. 2021;Ernst et al. 2017;Heidenreich et al. 2022;Magin et al. 2017), we still know relatively little about general patterns regarding content from external pages that are shared by political actors on social media, especially when it comes to news content. ...
... Such appeals can affect the selection of news (Appiah et al., 2013) and affect motivated reasoning (Bolsen et al., 2014;Boyer et al., 2022). They influence minorities' views of themselves (Ramasubramanian et al., 2017) and of the majority (Saleem and Ramasubramanian, 2019;Schmuck et al., 2017), or strengthen anti-immigrant attitudes (Brader et al., 2008;Matthes and Schmuck, 2017;Seate and Mastro, 2016). ...
... Entre 2015 a 2016, foram publicados relatórios analíticos e de previsão para o futuro da produção imersiva no Jornalismo (Aronson-Raht et al., 2015;Doyle, Gelman & Gill, 2016;Sirkkunen et al., 2016;Watson, 2017). Entre 2016 a 2019, importantes pesquisas foram publicados sobre o objeto de estudo com abordagens distintas: i) estudos teóricos sobre os diferentes elementos (imersividade, empatia, experiência, interação, tecnologia, etc) do IJ (Sirkkunen et al. 2016;Sánchez Laws, 2017;Hardee & McMahan, 2017;Costa, 2017;Longhi & Caetano, 2019;Toursel & Useille, 2019;Jones, 2017;Paíno & Rodríguez, 2019a); ii) análises robustas sobre conteúdos jornalístico imersivos e informativos gerados pelos meios de comunicação afim de levantar classificações de gêneros jornalísticos imersivos (Benítez & Herrera, 2017;Colussi & Reis, 2020;Paíno & Rodríguez, 2019b;iii) ética no Jornalismo Imersivo (Pérez-Seijo & López-García, 2019; Sánchez Laws & Utne, 2019); iv) e consumo de Jornalismo Imersivo (Wang, Gu & Suh, 2018;Steinfeld, 2019;Kang et al. 2019;De Bruin et al., 2020;Rocha, 2021). ...
... While the actual level of exposure is still to be determined in most contexts, the ubiquitous debate about the problem has led to another challenge, relevant in the context of this chapter: the normalization and weaponization of the term "fake news" and allegations of falsehood in general (Egelhofer et al., 2020). This has provided a number of political actors with tools to efficiently instrumentalize public concerns about mis-and disinformation to their advantage. ...
... Visual elements also improve the accuracy, efficiency, fun, and sociality of digital diplomatic communication (Lane et al. 2019;Chen and Siu 2017). Moreover, using visual expressions in digital journalism promotes interaction between news publishers and receivers, thereby establishing and maintaining social relations through social media functions and devices, creating a space for social support, enhancing mutual understanding, and facilitating the co-construction of meaning (Alloing and Pierre 2020;Lecheler 2020). ...
... Previous research on the intersections of media and migration found two strands in the literature: communication scholars were either publishing descriptive case studies of how mass media represent RASIM (usually within a single country and very rarely a few countries); or they were exploring whether and how media coverage could impact public opinion and personal attitudes (Lecheler et al., 2019). Our study's contributions to this line of literature are twofold. ...
... Where S is the directed surface in the competition space, on its positive side, the normal unit vector is N. At any point M in the vector competition field F, draw an arbitrary closed surface S surrounding the point [6]. When the volume V  defined by S approaches zero in any way, if the following limit exists, then we call the vector competition field F at Divergence at point M and denoted divF : ...
... While these are important insights, it is imperative to investigate polarization within a societal context. Citizens primarily consume political messages through the news, which is to some extent constructed by journalists (Lecheler & De Vreese, 2019). Therefore, news frames-the recurring patterns that journalists actively use to highlight certain aspects of an issue over others (Entman, 1993)-can play an important role in the way citizens interpret political issues. ...