A visual-verbal agenda : the interaction of news stories and photographs on second-level agenda setting




Yaschur, Carolyn J.

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This research explores the second-level agenda-setting effects of news photographs and news stories, separately and when presented together. The tone of photos and stories each independently influence public opinion on an affective level. Negative stories and photographs elicited negative opinions and emotions about the issue presented, while positive responses resulted from positive stories and photographs. When congruently toned stories and photos were presented together their affective agenda-setting effects were amplified. Positive stories paired with positive photos created stronger positive affect than negative stories and photos, which precipitated a strong negative response. However, because of the negativity bias, no significant differences were found between negative stories paired with negative photos and negative stories with positive photos. Audiences felt negative, regardless of the valence of the photo. When stories and photos were of incongruent tone, the audience's opinion about the issue followed the tone of the story. Findings from this study also confirmed that need for orientation was not a component of second-level agenda setting. However, a relationship was established between need for orientation and elaboration. Those with high need for orientation were more likely to process the information deeply than those with low need for orientation, thereby drawing ties between agenda-setting theory and the Elaboration Likelihood Model.



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