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Presence, Sex, and Bad News: Exploring the Responses of Men and Women to Tragic News Stories in Varying Media

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This study explores the interplay of sex, presence, and enjoyment of nonfictional tragic news content; an experiment was conducted in which participants viewed a news story about Hurricane Katrina's devastation to the Gulf Coast on a standard definition television, high definition television, or a video iPod. The results indicate that women reported more sadness regardless of condition, though they seemed especially moved in the iPod condition. Women also reported more information seeking, and reported highest levels of presence in the iPod condition. The results are discussed both in terms of implications for crisis message practitioners, and in terms of what the results may mean for our understanding of the enjoyment of tragedy.

Keywords: Crisis Communication; HDTV; Information Seeking; Presence; iPod

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2009


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