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How has the presentation of news — its style and linguistic characteristics — changed over time and across media platforms?

To find out, we conducted a quantitative analysis of 30 years of news stories. This thread provides an overview. rand.org/pubs/research_… via @jekavanagh
Since the late 1980s, U.S.-based journalism has gradually shifted away from objective news and offers more opinion-based content that appeals to emotion and relies heavily on argumentation and advocacy.
Researchers used a RAND text analysis tool to comb through tens of thousands of articles & TV transcripts to identify patterns in the use of words and phrases.

This let them a) see how news has changed in tone, sentiment, and language and b) quantify the sizes of those changes.
In print journalism, we found a modest shift toward more-subjective reporting.

Post-2000 reporting engaged in storytelling and emphasized interactions, personal perspective, and emotion more heavily than did stories in the pre-2000 period.
Broadcast television exhibited similar differences.

Before 2000, news stories tended to use precise language and often turned to public sources of authority (e.g., CDC, the World Bank). After 2000, they began to rely more on unplanned speech, opinions, interviews, and arguments.
When we compared broadcast news with prime-time cable programming, differences became starker, with cable segments dedicating more time to opinion coverage and using argumentative language.
In online journalism, researchers found that the language in digital stories tended to be more conversational than in traditional news articles, with more emphasis on interpersonal interactions and personal perspectives and opinions.
"Our research provides quantitative evidence for what we all can see in the media landscape: Journalism in the U.S. has become more subjective and consists less of the detailed event- or context-based reporting that used to characterize news coverage." — @jekavanagh
It’s important to note that these changes have been subtle, not wholesale.

In other words, news reporting has not shifted from Cronkite-style serious reporting to fiction or propaganda.
There's a lot to explore here. If you don't have time to read the full report, check out this research brief… rand.org/pubs/research_…
…or this even shorter blog post: rand.org/blog/2019/05/r…
This report is part of our wide-ranging examination of #TruthDecay, the declining role of facts and analysis in American public life. We’ll have more to share soon. /end rand.org/research/proje…
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