In spite of what appears to be the increasingly negative tone of media coverage, this talk suggests that the prevalence of positive news is likely to increase, for three reasons: (1) valence-based asymmetries vary over time, (2) valence-based asymmetries vary across individuals, and (3) technology facilitates diverse news platforms catering to diverse preferences. Each of these claims is examined in detail, based on analyses of prior and/or novel data on media content, psychophysiological responses, and survey-based experiments. Results are considered as they related to our understanding of media gatekeeping, political communication, and political psychology; and also as actionable findings for producers of media content, communications platforms, and media consumers.
Bio: Stuart Soroka is the Michael W. Traugott Collegiate Professor of Communication and Media & Political Science, and Research Professor in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, having moved from the Department of Political Science at McGill University in summer 2014. His research focuses on political communication, on the sources and/or structure of public preferences for policy, and on the relationships between public policy, public opinion, and mass media. Current projects include work on negativity in politics, on the role of mass media in representative democracy, and on support for social welfare and immigration policy; Soroka is also a co-investigator with the Canadian Election Study. Professor Soroka's work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Political Communication, Public Opinion Quarterly, the International Journal of Press and Politics, Journalism, Comparative Political Studies, and elsewhere. His books include Agenda-Setting Dynamics in Canada (UBC Press), Degrees of Democracy (CUP), Health Care Policy and Opinion in the United States and Canada (Routledge), and Negativity in Democratic Politics (CUP).