What Have I Done to Deserve This? The Role of Deservingness in Effects of Ordinary Citizens as Cases in the News

David Nicolas Hopmann, Morten Skovsgaard, Christian Elmelund-Præstekær

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that cases in news reporting have substantial attitudinal effects on the audience. The direction of results has been mixed, however. Some studies reported that news audience change opinion in favour of the position of the case, while other studies reported the opposite. In this article, we emphasize the deservingness of cases as a potential factor explaining the differences in previous results. In two population-based survey experiments, we empirically investigate how exposure to cases in the news affects the audience’s opinion about the political issue covered. Drawing on insights from welfare state studies, we argue that the deservingness of cases drives the effect of cases on public opinion. Our results confirm this assumption. In a concluding section, we discuss the implications of our results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Communication
Volume32
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)333-347
ISSN0267-3231
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1. Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Cases
  • journalism practice
  • media effects
  • news quality
  • public opinion

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