News media's asymmetric response to the economy and its impact on the public perception
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This study investigated whether write more about negative economic news and people pay more attention to negative than positive economic news. It also examined whether news media's negatively asymmetric response was diminished in idential election years compared to non-election periods. In so doing, the news coverage of consumer price, unemployment, and the economy in general on the front pages of three newspapers was compared with economic indices. People's economic perceptions were investigated in terms of their associations with reality and news coverage. As indicators for economic reality and public perception, the study used the indices released by the Korea National Statistical Office. In the case of consumer price and unemployment, the three newspapers all showed an symmetric response through which their negative coverage was closely associated with economic indices, while the positive coverage was not. People showed an asymmetric response as well: their economic perceptions were closely associated with the news coverage when the economy was deteriorating. Also, the perceptions were more closely connected to negative news coverage than positive one. The significance of the study theorizing asymmetric response based on the evolutionary perspective of news and increasing empirical evidence from a non-western society was discussed.
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