Pathways to Deeper News Engagement
Collier, J.R., Dunaway, J., & Stroud, N.J. (2021). Pathways to deeper news engagement: Factors influencing click behaviors on news sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Advance online publication.
Do the pathways that people take to news influence whether they choose to click on more news articles? This project explored how the site referring users to a news article–like Facebook, Google, or the news homepage–coupled with the features of the link section itself–like Popular v. Related content or images v. text-only–could influence the likelihood of people clicking to read more news.
Testing Knowledge to Battle Misinformation
Working paper: Collier, J.R., Fazio, L., & Pillai, R. Testing knowledge to battle misinformation: Quizzes as a tool for fact checkers.
Are there ways that fact checkers can entice users to engage with fact checks and improve knowledge and recall? This in-progress research uses a series of online experiments to test whether interactive online quizzes are a useful tool for helping people remember fact-checked information. Preliminary results from these experiments indicate people who saw a quiz after reading a fact check were significantly more likely to recall complex health information than those who did not see a quiz, even one week later. Additional studies are underway.
Fonts and Political Campaigns
Haenschen, K., Tamul, D., & Collier, J.R. (2021). Font matters: Towards a theory of typeface selection by political campaigns. International Journal of Communication, 15: 2894-2914.
How do graphic designers make decisions about typography in their political projects? And, what do fonts communicate about political campaigns? This project used a series of interviews with graphic designers for political campaigns along with a content analysis of 908 Congressional race logos from the 2018 midterm election to answer these questions. Findings indicate that Republicans are more likely to use serif fonts than Democrats and that this tendency increases as races become more competitive. Female candidates are more likely to use a script or handwritten font, while male candidates are more likely to use slab serifs.
Priming and Fake News
Van Duyn, E., & Collier, J.R. (2019). Priming and fake news: The effects of elite discourse on evaluations of news media. Mass Communication & Society, 22(1): 29-48. doi:10.1080/15205436.2018.1511807
**2019 Article of the Year Award from Mass Communication & Society; Highest Altmetric attention score of all articles tracked in Mass Communication & Society
Does being exposed to talk about “fake news” matter more than being exposed to “fake news” itself? This project explored the influence of elite discourse about fake news on individuals’ ability to accurately identify fake and real news. Findings from this experiment suggest that exposure to elite discourse about fake news is detrimental to individuals’ ability to identify real (but not fake) news and has a negative impact on media trust.
COVID-19 and Local News Coverage
Masullo, G.M., Jennings, J.T., Collier, J.R., Muddiman, A., Murray, C., Chavez, G., Deaven, K., Deller, N., Gursky, J., Joseff, K., Wadman-Goetsch, E., Wilner, T. & Stroud, N.J. (2020, May). Covering coronavirus: How audience needs are changing and how newsroom coverage compares. Center for Media Engagement. https://mediaengagement.org/research/coronavirus-coverage-changes
Masullo, G.M., Collier, J.R. , Muddiman, A., Murray, C., Chavez, G., Deaven, K., Deller, N., Gursky, J., Jennings, J., Joseff, K., Wadman-Goetsch, E., Wilner, T., & Stroud, N.J. (2020, April). Covering coronavirus: A snapshot of the information people want and what newsrooms are reporting. The Center for Media Engagement. https://mediaengagement.org/research/coronavirus -reporting-snapshot
How does local news coverage of coronavirus match up with audience needs and wants? This project used CrowdTangle data to look at what local television stations and newspapers around the country were saying about COVID-19 in both April and May at the beginning of the pandemic. These results were compared to survey data on what the public identifies as their information needs in order to provide recommendations to newsrooms about what topics to cover less and which to highlight more. Academic papers using this data are in progress.
Asymmetric Concerns about News
Collier, J.R. (in preparation). Conservative concerns about news. In Jarvis, S. (Ed.) New agendas in communication: How right-wing media and messaging (re)made American politics. New York: Routledge.
**Honorable Mention, Seymour Sudman Student Paper Competition,
American Association for Public Opinion Research
Do liberals and conservatives differ in their concerns about facts and news? Has this changed during the Trump administration? This project uses nationally representative panel data from 2016 and 2018 to show that partisan differences in attitudes toward news and facts exist where conservatives are much more likely to report greater concern for quality of news. Social media use does not influence these outcomes while partisan media diets do.
Selective Exposure and Homophily
Stroud, N.J. & Collier, J.R. (2018). Selective exposure and homophily during the 2016 presidential campaign. In B.H. Warner, D.G. Bystrom, M.S. McKinney, & M.C. Banwart (Eds.) An Unprecedented Election: Campaign Coverage, Communication, and Citizens Divided. (pp. 21-39). Santa Monica, CA: Praeger.
Where did people turn for news and information and with whom did they discuss politics in the context of the 2016 election? This chapter used data from the 2016 Texas Media and Society Survey to answer those questions, analyzing the partisan composition of the public’s mediated and interpersonal contacts. Results showed that partisan selective exposure and homophily exist and that using likeminded media and having like-minded discussion partners is more prevalent than hearing from opposing viewpoints.
Recirculation on News Sites
Collier, J.R. & Stroud, N.J. (2018). Using links to keep readers on news sites. The Center for Media Engagement. White paper. https://mediaengagement.org/research/links/
How can news sites improve link sections to keep readers on their site? This white paper (academic paper, in preparation) examines the best practices in using links on news sites. Through a grant from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and in partnership with the Graham Media Group, we look at 1.8 million observations to find that link layouts with images, links at the end of the page, related content, and generic wordings generate more clicks.
Collier, J.R., Kim, Y., & Stroud, N.J. (2020). How news images affect clicking on subscription appeals. Journalism Practice. doi: 10.1080/17512786.2020.1738262
Stroud, N.J., Kim, Y., & Collier, J.R. (2018). Subscription messages. The Center for Media Engagement. White paper. https://mediaengagement.org/research/subscription-messages/
What works and what doesn’t when advertising subscriptions? This project explores possible strategies for evaluating whether people click to learn more about subscribing to news. In partnership with three newsrooms across the United States, we conduct 23 experimental tests reaching 492,965 Facebook or email accounts. Results show that people aren’t persuaded by logos or messages conveying what’s at stake, and they want to sign up for free newsletters more than they want to pay for a subscription.
Coverage: NiemanLab, JWord podcast