Effects of Lead Framing on Selective Exposure to Internet News Reports

Dolf Zillmann, Lei Chen, Silvia Knobloch, Coy Callison

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


With headlines and texts held constant, the subheads of articles embedded in an Internet newsmagazine were manipulated in an overview from which articles could be selected. In a control condition, the lead, indicating deplorable happenings, was framed in a factual manner. In the other conditions, the leads were framed either in terms of conflict between feuding parties, the unfolding of disastrous occurrences, the emotional upheaval and agony suffered by the victims of these occurrences, or the economic implications of the incidents. Selective exposure to the articles was accumulated in minute intervals and automatically recorded. Leads projecting aggravated conflict or the agony over suffered misfortunes were found to foster increased reading times of the associated articles. The effects of highlighting misfortunes by themselves or of emphasizing the misfortunes' economic implications proved to be negligible, however.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-81
Number of pages24
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Agony
  • Article choice
  • Conflict
  • Dramatic frames
  • Economy
  • Internet news
  • Lead framing
  • Misfortune
  • Overview function
  • Selective exposure


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