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.
|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|