ERIC Number: ED230947
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Effects of Bad and Good News on Newspaper Image and Community Image. A Report from the Communications Research Center.
Haskins , Jack B.
A study tested the hypotheses that the relative amount of bad news and good news in a newspaper would have corresponding effects on perceptions of the newspaper's community of origin and of the newspaper itself. Five different versions of a realistic four-page newspaper were created, in which treatment of the news stories ranged from an "extremely bad news" issue through "bad,""neutral," and "good," to an "extremely good news issue." Advertising layout and subject matter were identical. The issues emanated ostensibly from the fictitious (but realistically presented) town of Compton, Nebraska. Subjects, 230 college freshman students, read one randomly assigned version of the newspaper and rated the community on 22 characteristics (Community Image Measures) using a five-point scale. The subjects also rated the newspaper on 16 characteristics (Newspaper Image Measures) using a similar scale. The subjects were unaware that the newspaper and the community were fictitious, and that there were different versions of the paper. The hypotheses were overwhelmingly verified. The bad news created a negative image of the community not only on characteristics directly related to the news topics (safety, crime, and violence) but also on general characteristics (standard of living, neighborhoods, and environment). The bad news also created negative perceptions of the newspaper on both news-related characteristics (constructive approach, realistic balance) and general characteristics (trustworthy advertising, editorial staff competence). (Copies of materials used in the study are appended.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Tennessee Univ., Knoxville. Coll. of Communications.
Identifiers: Reader Response
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (66th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).