Sunday, March 1, 2015

GOOD news sells?

We've been reading a lot about how negative news tends to be widely reported and one of the most popular methods to get attention for publications.

The New York Times published an article early last week that suggests there's a different side to this story, however: the article, called According to the Words, the News is Actually Good  suggests that there tends to be more positivity in written sources than we expect.

The Times cites a study that "used a computerized algorithm called the hedonometer to gauge the emotional content of words in news articles, books, websites, music lyrics, television shows, movies and social media posts. [Resarchers] analyzed sources in English and nine other languages, including Spanish, German, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Indonesian".

Overall, the article suggests that "despite all the grim news stories and all the social media snark, journalists and the rest of the world’s chatterers are more likely to use upbeat words like “healthy” and “friend” than downers like “suffering” or “idiot.” "

The study analyzes the words themselves, and doesn't account for factors such as the placement of articles (which matters especially in newspapers and on webpages), but nevertheless offers a different perspective to what we've been reading.

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