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Affective-News Theory: Effects of Narrative Structure on Suspense, Curiosity, and Enjoyment While Reading News and Novels
Unformatted Document Text:  News Narratives 20 form. Then again, our hypothesis H 7 concerned with the insignificance of authenticity for suspense, curiosity, and reading enjoyment equals a null hypothesis. Thus, this assumption of a non-difference cannot be tested in a strict empirical sense. Higher reading enjoyment for story structures typical for entertainment content implies that the classic ’inverted pyramid’ news format does not maximize pleasure for print news users. However, the recipe ’important things first’ may nonetheless appeal to many readers who want to quickly scan through the newspaper for an update. Designing news for effective intake or for affective pleasure could be somewhat contradictory. Further research should investigate whether higher reading pleasure in fact results in more selective exposure to news that is organized in other ways than the inverted pyramid. Moreover, news items’ recall might be improved by presenting information in structures that are typical for entertaining stories, thus improving the typically weak news intake ("Forgetting the news," Gunter, 1987). On the other hand, given the so-called information flood, forgetting much of the reported details could also be considered a blessing. Much of the news has only little or no public relevance, as Patterson (2000) showed with the increase of "soft news." This development emphasizes the importance of understanding affective appeals of reporting. News may already have become "the de facto literature of our times" (Hanson, 1997, p. 389) that many use for distraction and entertainment instead for information. Not only narrative writing but also other emotional triggers are employed to involve recipients into media depictions. This trend has been referred to as the ’tabloidization’ of news, namely "a decrease in hard news such as politics and economics and an increase in soft news such as sleaze, scandal, sensation, and entertainment" (Esser, 1999, p. 293). Patterson (2000) demonstrated a strong increase of news unconnected to policy issues between 1980 and today. As soft news are on the rise media reports become more "sensational, more personality-centered" (Patterson, 2000, p. 4). Yet, it is important to distinguish between topic and format. As hard news has been defined as "Information […] important to citizens' ability to understand and respond to the world of public affairs" (Donsbach cited

Authors: Knobloch, Silvia. and Carpentier, Francesca.
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News Narratives 20
form. Then again, our hypothesis H
7
concerned with the insignificance of authenticity for suspense,
curiosity, and reading enjoyment equals a null hypothesis. Thus, this assumption of a non-difference
cannot be tested in a strict empirical sense.
Higher reading enjoyment for story structures typical for entertainment content implies that the
classic ’inverted pyramid’ news format does not maximize pleasure for print news users. However, the
recipe ’important things first’ may nonetheless appeal to many readers who want to quickly scan
through the newspaper for an update. Designing news for effective intake or for affective pleasure
could be somewhat contradictory. Further research should investigate whether higher reading pleasure
in fact results in more selective exposure to news that is organized in other ways than the inverted
pyramid. Moreover, news items’ recall might be improved by presenting information in structures that
are typical for entertaining stories, thus improving the typically weak news intake ("Forgetting the
news," Gunter, 1987). On the other hand, given the so-called information flood, forgetting much of the
reported details could also be considered a blessing. Much of the news has only little or no public
relevance, as Patterson (2000) showed with the increase of "soft news." This development emphasizes
the importance of understanding affective appeals of reporting. News may already have become "the de
facto literature of our times" (Hanson, 1997, p. 389) that many use for distraction and entertainment
instead for information.
Not only narrative writing but also other emotional triggers are employed to involve recipients
into media depictions. This trend has been referred to as the ’tabloidization’ of news, namely "a
decrease in hard news such as politics and economics and an increase in soft news such as sleaze,
scandal, sensation, and entertainment" (Esser, 1999, p. 293). Patterson (2000) demonstrated a strong
increase of news unconnected to policy issues between 1980 and today. As soft news are on the rise
media reports become more "sensational, more personality-centered" (Patterson, 2000, p. 4). Yet, it is
important to distinguish between topic and format. As hard news has been defined as "Information […]
important to citizens' ability to understand and respond to the world of public affairs" (Donsbach cited


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