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ERIC Number: ED361744
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Aug-14
Pages: 32
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Combatting Aliteracy with New Modes of Newswriting: A Field Experiment.
Denton, Frank; And Others
A field experiment tested different reporting and writing techniques against standard practice. The underlying purpose of the project was to explore whether new techniques of writing might make the news more interesting to those who are "aliterate" (they can read but do not read). On each of four days, four reporters reported and wrote the same news story in four different modes (traditional, narrative, radical clarity, and point of view). A different version appeared in each of four contiguous circulation zones each day followed by a telephone survey of readers to measure effects of the treatments. To obtain a larger representation of younger, less educated, less loyal-to-newspaper readers, 210 adult students at an area vocational-training school read packets of news stories (including the treatment stories) and completed surveys similar to the telephone surveys. Results indicated that: (1) traditional stories did not seem to justify their predominance; (2) traditional stories scored well on the "quality" variable; (3) the biggest overall success story among the modes was the narrative form but it failed to get readers involved in issues; (4) radical clarity did not produce many outstanding positive or negative results; (5) the poorest performance was registered by the point of view mode; and (6) the paths from the dependent variable "reading" to the dependent variable "knowledge" were dramatically different for each of the writing modes. Findings suggest that the writing style of a news story does make a difference, and that editors should consider creative combinations of writing styles. (Five tables of data and a figure representing the path analysis are included; sample stories for each of the four modes are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A