15/03/2024 (Thursday) 16:00-17:00 E21B-G002

Is negativity as the basic news value an illusion? Sentiment evidence from Pulitzer Prize-winning news reports

Abstract:Previous studies have observed Linguistic Positivity Bias (LPB) as a universal linguistic phenomenon across various discourses. Yet, this stands in sharp contrast with the assumption in news that takes Negativity as the basic news value. To explore the tension between LPB and Negativity in news, we conducted sentiment analysis on a corpus comprising over a thousand Pulitzer Prize-winning news articles spanning 26 years and encompassing six distinct news subgenres: breaking, national, local, explanatory, investigative, and international news. Findings revealed a prevalence of Negative sentiment, challenging the assumption of LPB in news discourse, and corroborating the argument that Negativity is the basic news value. However, despite negativity bias in some subgenres, there was also a positivity bias in other news genres, emphasizing the nuanced differences within news discourse. Additionally, we find that topic preference contributes to sentiment patterns, but it is far from the only determinant.Bio:Dr. Changpeng Huan is Professor in Discourse Studies, and Associate Dean at School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China. He obtained a PhD degree in Linguistics at Macquarie University, Australia. His research focuses on news discourse studies, emotionality, stance, and news values, as well as Python and corpus linguistic techniques. His publications have appeared in international journals such as Applied Linguistics, Critical Discourse Studies, Discourse & Communication, Discourse Context & Media, Discourse & Society, and Discourse Studies, and two monographs with Springer (2018) and Cambridge University Press (2020).