Date of Award

7-27-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communications Media

First Advisor

Mark J. Piwinsky, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

James Lenze, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jay Start, Ph.D.

Abstract

Local television news has played an important role in creating informed and in-volved citizens. In such a technology-driven society, televised news stations face in-creased competition from online, on-demand media. In response, stations seek to provide more information using added production elements. A significant concern in the litera-ture is whether information overload occurs when viewers are inundated with an abun-dance of information and if this impacts long-term retention (LC4MP). This study exam-ines the impact of one type of production element, news crawls, on immediate and long-term audience recall. To conduct this research, participants were exposed to one of three versions of the same newscast: one with no crawls, one embedded with crawls that rein-forced the on-screen story, or one with conflicting crawls. Immediate recall was tested using a survey distributed directly after exposure and long-term recall was tested two weeks later using the same survey. Among the results of the study it was found that, overall, students in the reinforcing crawl group had a significantly higher immediate recall rate. Independent demographic variables, as well as their interactive effects with crawl type were also examined. Significant differences in immediate recall scores were found for GPA and viewing frequency independently, as well as the interaction between gender and news crawl type. For long term recall, viewing frequency, class rank, and the interaction between crawl type and class rank provided significant results. Future recommendations in this area include focusing on additional production elements and visual newscast formats, as well as looking specifically at story content and additional demographics to more thoroughly understand how people process local news.

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