Breaking the News: First Impressions Matter on Online News

Abstract

A growing number of people are changing the way they consume news, replacing the traditional physical newspapers and magazines by their virtual online versions or/and weblogs. The interactivity and immediacy present in online news are changing the way news are being produced and exposed by media corporations. News websites have to create effective strategies to catch people’s attention and attract their clicks. In this paper we investigate possible strategies used by online news corporations in the design of their news headlines. We analyze the content of 69,907 headlines produced by four major global media corporations during a minimum of eight consecutive months in 2014. In order to discover strategies that could be used to attract clicks, we extracted features from the text of the news headlines related to the sentiment polarity of the headline. We discovered that the sentiment of the headline is strongly related to the popularity of the news and also with the dynamics of the posted comments on that particular news.