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An Experimental Evaluation of Readers' Perceptions of Media Bias
Unformatted Document Text:  Media Bias - 8 RQ: Are consumers more likely to describe factual statements, reporters’ summaries of issue positions, or quotations as biased? Method We gathered data using a pencil-and-paper instrument that contained our stimulus materials, cued-status manipulation, and questionnaire items. Bias Stimuli In order to examine responses to newspaper articles, we decided to create our own stories and write them in a journalistic manner. First, to assure that the articles would be salient to the participants, we informally surveyed 23 students at a large, northeastern university to determine to determine which issues were of import to them and what they thought key arguments for and against each were. Based on the results of the survey, we selected three topics: overcrowding in housing on campus, the shortage of parking spaces on campus, and the performance of President George W. Bush. We then constructed dummy newspaper articles on each of the three topics. Each article consisted of 11 paragraphs: * A one-paragraph summary lead describing a (fictional) town-hall-style meeting on the topic; * Eight paragraphs covering the issues arising at the meeting. Four of the eight summarized the general positions of supposed participants of the meeting, and the other four supplied quotations from purported attendees supporting those positions. Half the positions taken were on one side of the issue and half on the other; and * Two closing paragraphs stating that the participants had been heard and that another meeting would be scheduled soon. This process yielded a set of three stories which each contained a variety of different types of paragraph. Each story included three paragraphs of essentially factual material, two paragraphs each summarizing points for and against the topic of the article in the words of the writer, and two quotations for and against the issue offered to support the writer’s summaries. In order to balance the stories to the extent possible, we selected argumentative points for the stories from the arguments supplied by the students in the preliminary survey. For instance, students who favored the construction of additional housing cited issues of convenience and safety, while those opposed cited class disruptions by construction and costs to students in terms of fees and room charges, and so our story on housing made all four of these points.

Authors: D'Alessio, Dave.
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Media Bias - 8
RQ: Are consumers more likely to describe factual statements, reporters’ summaries of issue positions, or
quotations as biased?
Method
We gathered data using a pencil-and-paper instrument that contained our stimulus materials, cued-status
manipulation, and questionnaire items.
Bias Stimuli
In order to examine responses to newspaper articles, we decided to create our own stories and write them in a
journalistic manner. First, to assure that the articles would be salient to the participants, we informally surveyed 23
students at a large, northeastern university to determine to determine which issues were of import to them and what
they thought key arguments for and against each were. Based on the results of the survey, we selected three topics:
overcrowding in housing on campus, the shortage of parking spaces on campus, and the performance of President
George W. Bush.
We then constructed dummy newspaper articles on each of the three topics. Each article consisted of 11
paragraphs:
* A one-paragraph summary lead describing a (fictional) town-hall-style meeting on the topic;
* Eight paragraphs covering the issues arising at the meeting. Four of the eight summarized the general
positions of supposed participants of the meeting, and the other four supplied quotations from purported attendees
supporting those positions. Half the positions taken were on one side of the issue and half on the other; and
* Two closing paragraphs stating that the participants had been heard and that another meeting would be
scheduled soon.
This process yielded a set of three stories which each contained a variety of different types of paragraph. Each
story included three paragraphs of essentially factual material, two paragraphs each summarizing points for and against
the topic of the article in the words of the writer, and two quotations for and against the issue offered to support the
writer’s summaries.
In order to balance the stories to the extent possible, we selected argumentative points for the stories from the
arguments supplied by the students in the preliminary survey. For instance, students who favored the construction of
additional housing cited issues of convenience and safety, while those opposed cited class disruptions by construction
and costs to students in terms of fees and room charges, and so our story on housing made all four of these points.


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