To allow people from all over the country and world to participate in the study, a dedicated website was constructed that contained all the information about the project and the study.

Participants were first asked to take a brief 10-question life orientation test that asked questions such as “in uncertain times, I usually expect the best,” and “overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad.” Participants were then asked to wait two weeks before completing part two. For part two, participants were asked to watch one of five different mock newscasts that combined different positive and negative news stories from the three main broadcast outlets in Vancouver — CTV, Global and CBC. Each mock newscast had four stories:

Newscast #1: 1 negative, 1 positive, 2 negative
Newscast #2: 2 negative, 1 positive, 1 negative
Newscast #3: 2 negative, 2 positive
Newscast #4: All negative
Newscast #5: 3 negative, 1 positive

The same stories were used for all the mock newscasts, but the order was rearranged to see if order makes a difference. As 25 per cent positive news is the average as found in a study amongst U.S. networks, three of the mock newscast had that percentage and are to be used as controls against the other two, which had a higher and lower percentage.
Negative news stories were determined based on my personal judgment of whether I thought they portrayed a negative view of society with little context such as a murder.

A positive news story gives people something to be joyful about. In this case, the positive news story used for my study is about a Vancouverite pitching in game one of the World Series.

After watching only one of the mock newscasts, participants were asked to fill out a similar 10-questions life orientation test. As part of the second questionnaire, participants were shown a list of 12 words that describe feelings such as happy, fearful and frightened. They were asked to rate on a scale of 0-4 how they feel at the present moment with 0 being not at all to 4 being extremely.

The final part of questionnaire 2 included two bipolar questions about whether they found the mock newscasts to be interesting or boring and a yes/no question about gaining knowledge from the reports.


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