Shooting straight : graphic versus non-graphic war photographs
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An experiment showed that audiences react with more empathy to graphic war photographs accompanying news reports than non-graphic war photographs. Four war stories from four different countries, featuring either a graphic or non-graphic photograph representing a scene from each report, were used to test respondents’ reactions. Empathy measured higher after audience exposure to graphic war photographs, while recall, central processing, emotion, media attitudes, and civic participation all did not show significant differences from graphic to non-graphic. As a result of this study, editors and news organizations can be assured that audiences may not react with a significant amount of emotion, but will still care significantly more about an issue after being presented with graphic news photographs of war with war reports, as opposed to non-graphic photographs of war.