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Schindler, Johanna; Krämer, Benjamin; Müller, Philipp (August 2017): Looking left or looking right? Effects of newspaper layout style on the perception of political news. In: European Journal of Communication, Vol. 32, No. 4: pp. 348-366
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Abstract

The perception of political messages may not only be shaped by textual information, but also by its visual appearance. An online experiment investigated how newspaper articles’ layout style and text slant affect the perception of a newspapers’ political orientation on the left-right axis. The layout versions were based on a prior analysis of correlations between design and political direction of quality newspapers. Results suggest the existence of political layout effects: a conservative layout style led to the source of a left-wing slanted text being estimated more right-wing, especially for left-wing-oriented participants. However, it had no effect when it was combined congruently with a right-wing slanted text. A progressive layout style had only an effect for participants with more knowledge on quality newspapers, leading them to locate the source more left-wing.