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This study used an experimental design to test for a channel effect in news stories. Four television news stories were recorded off-air, then the narrations were transcribed to form a print news story containing the same words; the broadcast video and the print story were the two treatment levels. Subjects received the stories in one of the treatment levels, and were asked to judge the blameworthiness or praiseworthiness of the actors named in the story. Logistic regressions could predict with substantial accuracy the medium in which subjects had received the story from these judgments, indicating a channel effect on their making of meaning. There is some evidence that viewers of television news are inclined to judge actors in the stories as members of categories or groups, while readers of print news tend to be more specific.


"This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Cooper, S. D. (2000). An effect of the medium in news stories: “The pictures in our heads”. The New Jersey Journal of Communication, 8, 173-188, as published in the THE NEW JERSEY JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: