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About the School

Journalism, Media & Globalization

Graduate School of Communication

Thesis examples from Konrad Staehelin and Marlis Stubenvoll.

Drivers of Change? Media effects on the Identity and Utilitarian EU attitude dimensions - Konrad Staehelin

The economic system established from the second half of the XXth century has resulted in a grave recession that is diminishing the quality of life of many citizens, but research on the crisis is scant given its recent nature. It is claimed than mainstream media are run by corporate elites who ultimately profit from neoliberal policies, and who have the power to shape the immense amounts of media content they produce. The present study, by applying theories of power relations to framing research, employs quantitative content analysis to determine who is ascribed responsibility for the crisis and what solutions are proposed to it. The coverage of the bailout of Spain’s banking sector in 2012 will be studied on mainstream and alternative outlets across three European countries. Findings suggest that, while none contemplate solutions related to the global economic system, alternative outlets question the status quo to a greater extent than mainstream ones and are more analytical towards the crisis.

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When facts lie: The impact of misleading numbers in climate change news - Marlis Stubenvoll

This study examines how numerical misinformation in the news can bias readers’ own judgment after a retraction. Building on theories of the continued influence effect and anchoring, the experimental research investigates the link between inaccurate facts, biased
estimations, and the evaluation of climate change policies and risks. The results indicate that presenting participants with a low number on the carbon footprint of commuting traffic induces a bias into their own estimated values. This effect appears regardless of participants’ level of issue involvement. However, the study finds no subsequent effect of this bias on participants’ policy support or perceived threat of climate change. The results are discussed in light of anchoring and misinformation theories while also reflecting on the implications for the journalistic practice of fact checking.

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