Our research

Decades of media research have shown that the way an issue is reported can drastically impact the way the public perceives its risk and importance. For this research, we first conducted a content analysis of energy reporting from the last 30 years to see how previous journalists had framed important energy issues. We discovered that articles tended to be one of three types: policy, science, or human interest.

Read our final paper.

With these frames in mind, graduate students reporting in our Washington and Chicago newsrooms produced a series of stories, retelling each of them in varied formats. We are testing these stories on an online audience to measure story engagement and learning. What kinds of reporting lead to the greatest audience engagement? What types of stories lead the audience to learn and retain the most information? We want to use these results to help journalists better connect issues of policy, science, and human interest in order to connect with audiences, increase awareness, and engagement.

For more information, please contact Abigail Foerstner (a-foerstner@northwestern.edu), Ashlee Humphreys (a-humphreys@northwestern.edu) or Ellen Shearer (shearer@northwestern.edu).

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