SOME STORIES HURT MORE:

THE INTERACTION OF SALIENCE AND EXEMPLIFICATION
ON AUDIENCE PERCEPTION IN NEWS REPORTS
ADAM JOSEPH GELLER
excerpts
Introduction and Review of the Literature
Enter any journalism classroom or newsroom and the mantra is the same: tell the
story through people. Unemployment stories show the unemployed. Crime stories detail a
victim. Disease stories hinge on patients. All these are examples of how people are used
to tell the story of statistics.
 In a story the data and the people both make an impression on the reader, but the
people have a more powerful ability to affect a reader’s understanding of an issue than
often expected.
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Exemplification in the News 
The concepts of heuristics, vividness and salience were originally conceived in a
psychological context. But exemplification research goes beyond the psychological
inquiry of information processing shortcuts (heuristics) to apply the effect of exemplars
to the perception of issues in the news media.

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