The dog effect – what’s a dog story worth for newspaper readership?

A new journal article in PS:  Political Science and Politics outlines research done in tracking coverage of news stories in regional newspapers.
The researchers found that by mentioning a dog in the news story, more people are likely to read the news item and increase readership of that issue of the newspaper.
It’s called the ‘dog effect.’
I’ve included the Abstract and the full journal citation below, but you will have to pay to read the entire article if you are not a subscriber to the journal…
Since I love to blog about news involving dogs, this research doesn’t come as a big surprise to me.
There are dog lovers throughout the world and we love to read about dogs!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

ABSTRACT

Journalists consider the importance of events and the audience’s interest in them when deciding on which events to report. Events most likely to be reported are those that are both important and can capture the audience’s interest. In turn, the public is most likely to become aware of important news when some aspect of the story piques their interest. We suggest an efficacious means of drawing public attention to important news stories: dogs. Examining the national news agenda of 10 regional newspapers relative to that of the New York Times, we evaluated the effect of having a dog in a news event on the likelihood that the event is reported in regional newspapers. The “dog effect” is approximately equivalent to the effect of whether a story warrants front- or back-page national news coverage in the New York Times. Thus, we conclude that dogs are an important factor in news decisions.

 What’s a Dog Story Worth?
Matthew D. Atkinson,Maria Deam and Joseph E. Uscinski (2014).
PS: Political Science & Politics,
“>Volume 47
, Issue04, October 2014 pp 819-823http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?aid=9365716
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