Seventh Brown Bag of the Semester – March 29, 2013

Audio of this lecture is available here.

Ozen Baz, Ph.D. Student: Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University

Title: Shrinking knowledge gaps? The informative potential of emotionally personalized news



Apathy and ignorance frequently surface as reasons for why democracy, as a way of governance, does not thrive to expectations. Blame frequently finds a resting place on the news media for their failed responsibility to inform citizens. Once the news media are pegged as key ball-droppers, journalistic practices become the focus of research scrutiny. Prominent on the list of concerns about reporting is a perceived shift from the cold-hard-facts-only standard of objectivity to a more personalized approach that includes emotional testimony from ordinary citizens. According to the critics of journalism, this inclusion of emotionality is an obstacle to an informed public because it leads to low levels of political knowledge and knowledge gaps among citizens from different socioeconomic segments of society. This T600 presentation will not add to the voluminous lament about the ignorance and apathy of citizens in democratic systems. Instead, it will offer findings from a recently completed experimental study that line up with contemporary neuro and political science scholarship that treat emotion as enabling information gain and encouraging political participation.

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