All at Once or Bit by Bit? How the Serialization of News Affects Recipients’ Attitudes Toward Politicians Involved in Scandals

Christian von Sikorski, Johannes Knoll


Journalists tend to serialize political scandals and publish scandalous information bit by bit instead of all at once in a single news article. Disseminating scandalous information in a serialized way may affect readers’ perceptions of the scandal and the politicians involved in it independently of the information that is conveyed. To test this assumption, an experiment was conducted. All participants were exposed to identical scandalous information. However, the form of presentation—exposure to one, two, three, four, or five article(s)—was systematically manipulated. Serialization indeed indirectly increased participants’ negative attitudes about the politician via the perceived scandal’s importance, participants’ reading duration, cognitive elaboration, and intensity of negative emotions.


political scandal, serialization, attitudes, negative emotions, media effects

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