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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 3 News Narratives: Effects of Narrative Structure on Suspense, Curiosity, and Enjoyment While Reading News and Novels The reconstruction of news as "stories," of information in narrative style, lies in the conventional wisdom of journalism. The idea that news must form a story to be appealing is common understanding in journalism textbooks (Brooks et al., 2001; Jackson & Sweeney, in press) and in journalists’ everyday vocabulary. "Basically, the journalist’s job is to tell a story" (Griffin, 1999, p. 228). Recently, this approach has gained importance. Narrative writing is said to return to newspapers due to increasing competition among the media and the resulting pressure for journalists to capture the audience’ attention. "The reasons are as simple as the lure of storytelling and as complex as the business environment in which newspapers struggle to survive" (Narrative journalism, 2000, p. 4). "Editorial interest in narrative has been stimulated in the course of a search for remedies to widespread current business problems: declining or stagnant newspaper circulation, aging readership, and decreased minutes spent reading papers" (Kramer, 2000, p. 5). Dunwoody judges the entanglement of stories and the media even more fundamentally: In "a global culture that relies heavily on storytelling as an arbiter of what is important and what is not, the mass media reign as our principal storytellers on the cusp of the 21st century" (1999, p. 61). The notion of story as a key term in journalism and as a technique to attract the audience deserves to be outlined in more precise terms. A ’story’ can be defined as a sequence of events or (willful) actions involving characters. According to this logic, as the events depicted by a journalist are to present a story, the report proper is a ’narrative’ (for introductions to narratology, see Bal, 1997; Onega & Garcia Landa, 1996; Jahn, 2001). However, this definition of a story does not converge with intuitive understandings of stories by journalists or readers because, in this interpretation, a sequence of mundane actions would also qualify as a story. Quite obviously, neither journalists nor the audience would consider a depiction of someone who is doing the laundry a ’story’--unless something very unusual happens, in addition.

Authors: Knobloch, Silvia. and Carpentier, Francesca.
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News Narratives 3
News Narratives: Effects of Narrative Structure on Suspense, Curiosity, and Enjoyment While Reading
News and Novels
The reconstruction of news as "stories," of information in narrative style, lies in the
conventional wisdom of journalism. The idea that news must form a story to be appealing is common
understanding in journalism textbooks (Brooks et al., 2001; Jackson & Sweeney, in press) and in
journalists’ everyday vocabulary. "Basically, the journalist’s job is to tell a story" (Griffin, 1999, p.
228). Recently, this approach has gained importance. Narrative writing is said to return to newspapers
due to increasing competition among the media and the resulting pressure for journalists to capture the
audience’ attention. "The reasons are as simple as the lure of storytelling and as complex as the
business environment in which newspapers struggle to survive" (Narrative journalism, 2000, p. 4).
"Editorial interest in narrative has been stimulated in the course of a search for remedies to widespread
current business problems: declining or stagnant newspaper circulation, aging readership, and
decreased minutes spent reading papers" (Kramer, 2000, p. 5). Dunwoody judges the entanglement of
stories and the media even more fundamentally: In "a global culture that relies heavily on storytelling
as an arbiter of what is important and what is not, the mass media reign as our principal storytellers on
the cusp of the 21st
century" (1999, p. 61).
The notion of story as a key term in journalism and as a technique to attract the audience deserves
to be outlined in more precise terms. A ’story’ can be defined as a sequence of events or (willful)
actions involving characters. According to this logic, as the events depicted by a journalist are to
present a story, the report proper is a ’narrative’ (for introductions to narratology, see Bal, 1997; Onega
& Garcia Landa, 1996; Jahn, 2001). However, this definition of a story does not converge with intuitive
understandings of stories by journalists or readers because, in this interpretation, a sequence of
mundane actions would also qualify as a story. Quite obviously, neither journalists nor the audience
would consider a depiction of someone who is doing the laundry a ’story’--unless something very
unusual happens, in addition.


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