During the past century, the role of the news has evolved from being a source of information to one of dramatic drama. The increase in television, lobbyists, and special-interest groups have all added new actors and conflicts to the mix. This has also contributed to the dramatic nature of news stories. To keep up with the constant flow of information, journalists must be able to distinguish between positive and negative overtones. Listed below are some characteristics of positive and negative overtones:
Stories with positive overtones
Human interest stories are pieces of journalism that focus on a topic of human interest. Typically, these stories include interviews with people affected by the story, reports on those facing hardship, or an exploration of a subject near and dear to the audience. They often have a positive overtone and involve a combination of different media to tell the story. This type of news can be a good diversion from serious news.
Stories with negative overtones
Researchers have long wondered why we tend to focus on stories with negative overtones in the news. Perhaps we’ve been trained to focus on bad news, which attracts newsgatherers. After all, a sudden disaster is more interesting than a slow improvement. Or perhaps we have conditioned ourselves to focus on bad news because we’re more likely to believe the negative overtones are true. Whatever the reason, it’s obvious that newsgatherers and readers often focus on the negative.
Stories with a positive overtone
Studies have found that positive stories catch the most attention and are often the most shared. Huffington Post’s recent decision to focus on positive events is a great example of this. Positive stories also take into account heroic acts during natural disasters and highlight the people who make the world a safer and happier place. There are many ways to create positive news stories, and Gielan points to several examples. This includes focusing on the good in the world.
Human interest stories are designed to divert attention from more serious news. However, a negative story can have the opposite effect. A good human interest story is designed to evoke an emotional response in the audience. Depending on the subject, the emotion may be anger, sympathy, fear, or love. However, whatever the topic, the goal of a human interest story is the same: to move the audience. While human interest stories may be more entertaining than serious news stories, their goal is to evoke an emotion.
Stories with a negative overtone
News stories are generally characterized by their unambiguous content and negative overtone. They also tend to appear suddenly and in a short space of time. The study noted that newsworthy stories often involve celebrities, animals, or extreme behaviour. The negative overtone, however, may have the opposite effect. While these stories have a history of being controversial, they still serve as the basis of many news articles. And despite the negative connotations, they are still an important part of the news industry.
While it is not possible to pinpoint which specific events cause negative overtones in news, there is some evidence that conflict is an important factor. Conflict and tragedy are often portrayed as negative stories, according to studies by Caple, Bednarek, and O’Neill. Other studies on news coverage in different countries have examined this aspect of negativity. In a recent study on the influence of conflict on the news industry, a negative overtone was present in nearly half of news stories about Honduras, Haiti, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.