News Crawls in Local TV News: Do They Help or Hinder Information Recall and Retention


News crawls have become a common element in local television newscasts. Used as a way to provide more information and compete with content rich online news, the question is whether news crawls help or hinder immediate recall and long-term retention of information. Using a quasi-experiment, this study examines immediate recall and long-term retention for a local television newscast. A control and two treatment groups, comprised of students at a public, mid-sized university in the USA, saw one of three versions of the same newscast. The control group saw a newscast with no crawls while the treatment groups saw a version with crawls that reinforced the onscreen story or with crawls that were on different topics from the on-screen story. Considering information overload and the dual-coding hypothesis, this study also examines the impact of the textual element of the crawl as an aid or obstacle in information recall and retention. The study lends support to the dual-coding hypothesis and suggests further research is needed on its impact even when the on-screen story and textual crawl are not covering the same news item.

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Pavolik, B. , Piwinsky, M. and Fulton, L. (2015) News Crawls in Local TV News: Do They Help or Hinder Information Recall and Retention. Advances in Journalism and Communication, 3, 139-150. doi: 10.4236/ajc.2015.34015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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