Media Effects, Interpersonal Communication and Beyond: An Experimental Approach to Study Conversations About the Media and Their Role in News Reception
ESSACHESS-Journal for Communication Studies, Media Effects, Interpersonal Communication and Beyond: An Experimental Approach to Study Conversations About the Media and Their Role in News Reception, Vol. 6, No 1(11), 2013.
26 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2013
Date Written: July 23, 2013
The paper aims at discussing the challenges and opportunities of laboratory experiments for communication studies. An experimental approach to research on TV news effects is presented. It focuses on interpersonal communication about a newscast and simulates the social context of media use and media effects. Based upon two research domains, (1) The role of interpersonal communication in media effects and (2) TV news reception, five hypotheses are derived which are tested in an innovative experimental design integrating survey and observation methods in a combination of media effects study and small group experiment. The influence of conversations on news memory and evaluation is assessed by treating conversations as independent variable in the experiment. In a video observation, the mechanisms of interpersonal communication about the media are identified. A moderating influence of conversations, specifically an enhanced news recall, is revealed. Additionally, the characteristics of the social processing of the media content can be described and applied as possible explanations for the effects of the experimental treatment. Consequently, the advantages of integrative research designs are explicated.
Keywords: media effects, interpersonal communication, TV news, laboratory experiment, observation
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