• How Issues Guide The Life of News Stories

    Blanca Calvo Figueras (see profile)
    Marcel Broersma, Tommaso Caselli
    Speeches, addresses, etc., Mass media--Study and teaching, Discourse analysis, Narrative, Time--Political aspects, Time in literature, Storytelling
    Item Type:
    Discourse, Media studies, Narrative and time, Politics of temporality in the construction of narratives
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    The stories narrated by mass media shape the public perception of reality. Previous studies suggest that the capacity of media to influence the salience of issues depends on four parameters, namely: (1) obtrusiveness; (2) duration; (3) abstractness; and (4) dramatism. Soroka (2002) built upon these parameters by developing an issue typology. Prominent issues affect a relevant number of people directly and are thought to leave little room for media impact on public opinion. Sensational issues are initiated by a dramatic event but have little observable impact on the everyday life of the majority of the population. Governmental issues are perceived as abstract or as not having direct effect on people's lives and do not offer dramatic or exciting components. Assuming the validity of Soroka's typology, we ask whether and how issue-types give rise to different life patterns of news stories. We thus identify three measurable dimensions: (a.) lifespan (i.e., the number of days over which articles of a news story are published); (b.) intensity (i.e., the number of articles per day per story); and (c.) burstiness (i.e., the speed with which stories go from emerging to their climax). We collected a corpus of 50,385 political articles from major Spanish newspapers in 2018. News stories were generated by aggregating articles with K-means clustering and cosine similarity, which resulted in 82 news stories. The results of our empirical analysis indicate that different issue-types exhibit different behaviors when represented as news stories. The contribution of this work is threefold: (i) it introduces a methodology to extract news stories from newspapers, (ii) it shows how the dynamics of news publishing can be used to study the narrative of news stories and (iii) it presents empirical data on the media’s narrative for different types of issues.
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago


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