Feeling the News?

Authors Hannah Greber, Sophie Lecheler, Loes Aaldering, Yael de Haan, Sanne Kruikemeier, Nele Goutier, Kiki de Bruin
Published in Digital Journalism
Publication date 2023
Research groups Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
Type Article


Immersive journalism (IJ) is often assumed to be inherently emotion-inducing. Through using inclusive technology, interaction possibilities and immersive narratives, the audience should ideally experience <i>what feels like</i> to be in a certain situation. However, for the most part we do not know to which extent and in what form IJ influences the experience of emotions. We wanted to investigate, whether, and if so, which characteristics of IJ are related to the experience of emotions, and which role the personality trait empathy tendency plays in this respect. This is important, as the evaluation of IJ often relies on the emotion-inducing assumption thereof. Four different experiments comparing one immersive journalistic characteristic (level of inclusion, interaction possibilities, immersive narratives) to the respective non-immersive counterpart were conducted. Results indicate that while the level of inclusion and interaction possibility increase the intensity of the experience, the immersive narrative influences the valence dimension of emotions. Additionally, empathy tendency is found to be a relevant moderator for these effects. Conclusions are threefold. First, the narrative form of IJ is key; second, the analysis of IJ needs to go beyond the level of inclusion; third, including emotions when assessing IJ is fundamental to understand its impact.

On this publication contributed

  • Yael de Haan
    Yael de Haan
    • Professor
    • Research group: Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
  • Kiki de Bruin
    Kiki de Bruin
    • PhD candidate
    • Research group: Quality Journalism in Digital Transition

Language English
Published in Digital Journalism
Year and volume 11 1
Key words immersive journalism , emotional response, empathy tendency, inclusion, interactivity, immersive narrative
Digital Object Identifier 10.1080/21670811.2022.2155205
Page range 39-60

Quality journalism in Digital Transition