Putting a human face on cold, hard facts: Effects of personalizing social issues on perceptions of issue importance

Maria Elizabeth Grabe, Mariska Kleemans, Ozen Bas, Jessica Gall Myrick, Minchul Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigates the influence of personalization (moving testimony from ordinary citizens) on reception of news stories about social issues. The data (N = 80) from this mixed-design experiment, collected at two time points, offer evidence that personalized news stories evoked greater feelings of empathy toward and identification with people affected by social issues, which in turn increased perceived issue importance. Personalization effects persisted over time. Moreover, path analyses revealed gender differences in reactions to personalization. The findings imply that a major goal of journalism-to advance civic engagement with social issues-could be served by personalized story formats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-929
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Volume11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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