The effects of one-sided quotation in extracted quotes on issue perception



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Texas Tech University


Quotations have long been used in news stories to document sources of information and to provide credibility. Recent research (Gibson & Zillmann. 1993, 1998) has suggested the quotation is a powerful persuasion tool, one that can be used to influence news consumers' perceptions of issues. In addition, quotations are often attended to in news stories more than statistical data (Gibson & Zillmann, 1993; Zillmann, Perkins, & Sundar, 1992). Individuals tend to pay more attention to and are influenced more by the vivid examples often used in quotations than by the more pallid base-rate or statistical data (Bar-Hillel & Fischoff, 1981; Manis, Dovalina, Avis, & Cardoze, 1980; Newhagen & Reeves, 1992; Paivio, 1971).

The present study is designed to investigate the persuasiveness of a specific type of quotation: the extracted quote. These quotes, run in larger type than story text, are similar to other visual elements such as infographics and background boxes in that they also contain textual information that may help readers better comprehend accompanying stories (Wanta & Remy, 1995). With newspapers paying increased attention to the visual attractiveness of their layouts, graphic elements such as the extracted quote are becoming more popular (Wanta & Gao, 1994). As Mario Garcia (1993) points out, "Most wellwritten stories will include direct quotes. The page designer can capitalize on these quotes as a design strategy by pulling them out of the story and setting them as breakers or grabbers," (p. 171). Stovall (1997) states that pull quotes have two purposes: (1) to break up large amounts of body copy type, and (2) to give the reader some interesting point or flavor of a story. Research indicates that these visual elements are attractive to readers, but the research has yet to investigate to what degree these "super" quotes influence readers' perceptions of the issues contained in news reports.



Newspapers, Quotation