Multimedia exemplification: the interplay of representation and modality in the processing of online news and perceptions of international issues Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Tran, Hai Long
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • This dissertation addressed multimedia exemplification to explore the conditions under which multimedia integration into Web sites enhances or undermines information processing. Because exemplification amounts to vivid case descriptions creating shortcuts for judgment, the author set out to test whether multimedia enhancements in news Web sites could act as exemplars and influence the way people perceive issues reported in the accompanying stories. The experimental study employed a 3x3x2 mixed factorial design (post-test only) with exemplar representation (one side=negative, other side=positive, both sides=mixed) and exemplar modality (low, moderate, high) serving as two between-subjects factors, and time of response (immediate, delayed) as a within-subjects factor. Modality was manipulated by the presentational format of exemplars (text only=low; text+picture=moderate; text+picture+video=high). Issue perception was examined through assessments of consequences (immediate, delayed) and inferences about the future (immediate, delayed). A sample of 180 students was randomly assigned to 18 versions of The Global Journalist, a fictitious news site. According to the results, exemplifying information in the multimedia content (i.e., extra-text exemplars), rather than focal information in the textual content, created a shift in issue perception. In immediate responses, the group given negative (one side) exemplars assessed the issues more negatively than did the groups assigned to either positive (other side) or mixed (both sides) exemplars. The more interesting finding was the interaction effect of exemplar representation and exemplar modality on immediate responses. Partiality in high-modality exemplars (text+picture+video) was more likely to bias immediate assessments of consequences than did partiality in low-modality exemplars (text only). This happened in the presence of identical, balanced news text across all conditions. Meanwhile, the main effect of exemplar representation and the interaction effect of exemplar representation and exemplar modality were not observed in immediate inferences about the future of the reported issues. This dissertation also failed to detect either the main effect of exemplar representation or the interaction effect of exemplar representation and exemplar modality on delayed assessments and delayed inferences. Theoretical and practical implications of the study findings were discussed.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication."
  • Gibson, Rhonda
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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