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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 6 them tremendous leeway. Regarding the discourse structure, the inverted-pyramid style dominates what is considered professional news writing. This format places the most important elements at the beginning of an article, at the wide end of the ’pyramid,’ and less and less important aspects towards the end, at the narrow end of the ’pyramid.’ This particular kind of discourse structure replaced conventional narrative styles in American news reporting in the second half of the 19 th century and is considered an essential component of ’facticity’ or ’objectivity’ appearance in news reporting (Tuchman, 1978; Mindich, 1998; Kaplan, 2002). However, the inverted-pyramid style has been criticized to cause boredom (Lewis, 1994) and to prevent effective information intake by its incoherent structure (Kropf, 1999; with empirical evidence: Thorndyke, 1979; Rukavina & Daneman, 1996; Rogers, 1999). Furthermore, it is likely that the audience, in contrast to journalists, would not associate the term ’story’ with news reporting, but with fictional entertainment. This view resembles an overarching distinction that opposes fictional and factual narratives (Genette, 1990; Jahn, 2001), the latter including news reports. Yet, innumerous scholars and practitioners have entertained the notion of narrative structure in news and media information (Tuchman, 1976; 1978; Schudson, 1982; Bennett & Edelman, 1985; Carey, 1988; Ettema & Glasser, 1988; van Dijk, 1988/1993; Pietilä, 1992; Kunelius, 1994; Liebes, 1994; Mander, 1987; Darnton,1975; Hickethier, 1997/1998; Durham, 1998; Parisi, 1998; Lule, 2001; Jackson & Sweeney, in press). These authors have all interpreted or analyzed news content in categories of narration without detailed consideration for recipients' perceptions. However, as news 'stories' are said to have more appeal for the audience, the audience's understanding of these 'stories' should determine what is considered a story and what is not. In spite of a great likelihood that lay news consumers make a clear distinction between 'reports' and 'stories' when asked about their perceptions, the emotional reactions to reports written in classic narrative forms could equal responses to fictional depictions that otherwise follow the same narrative format. These responses, then, would correspond with the journalists' notion of news stories' appeal for the audience.

Authors: Knobloch, Silvia. and Carpentier, Francesca.
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background image
News Narratives 6
them tremendous leeway. Regarding the discourse structure, the inverted-pyramid style dominates what
is considered professional news writing. This format places the most important elements at the
beginning of an article, at the wide end of the ’pyramid,’ and less and less important aspects towards the
end, at the narrow end of the ’pyramid.’ This particular kind of discourse structure replaced
conventional narrative styles in American news reporting in the second half of the 19
th
century and is
considered an essential component of ’facticity’ or ’objectivity’ appearance in news reporting (Tuchman,
1978; Mindich, 1998; Kaplan, 2002). However, the inverted-pyramid style has been criticized to cause
boredom (Lewis, 1994) and to prevent effective information intake by its incoherent structure (Kropf,
1999; with empirical evidence: Thorndyke, 1979; Rukavina & Daneman, 1996; Rogers, 1999).
Furthermore, it is likely that the audience, in contrast to journalists, would not associate
the term ’story’ with news reporting, but with fictional entertainment. This view resembles an
overarching distinction that opposes fictional and factual narratives (Genette, 1990; Jahn, 2001), the
latter including news reports. Yet, innumerous scholars and practitioners have entertained the notion of
narrative structure in news and media information (Tuchman, 1976; 1978; Schudson, 1982; Bennett &
Edelman, 1985; Carey, 1988; Ettema & Glasser, 1988; van Dijk, 1988/1993; Pietilä, 1992; Kunelius,
1994; Liebes, 1994; Mander, 1987; Darnton,1975; Hickethier, 1997/1998; Durham, 1998; Parisi, 1998;
Lule, 2001; Jackson & Sweeney, in press). These authors have all interpreted or analyzed news content
in categories of narration without detailed consideration for recipients' perceptions. However, as news
'stories' are said to have more appeal for the audience, the audience's understanding of these 'stories'
should determine what is considered a story and what is not. In spite of a great likelihood that lay news
consumers make a clear distinction between 'reports' and 'stories' when asked about their perceptions,
the emotional reactions to reports written in classic narrative forms could equal responses to fictional
depictions that otherwise follow the same narrative format. These responses, then, would correspond
with the journalists' notion of news stories' appeal for the audience.


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