Author: Percy H. Tannenbaum
Publication: The Effect of Headlines on the Interpretation of News Stories, Journalism Quarterly, volume 30 (1953), pp. 189-197.
Shadings of meaning in headlines color readers’ impressions of a story, no matter what the story says, Tannenbaum found in the 1950s.
Students given the same story about a slaying trial were significantly more likely to think the suspect in a fraternity house death was guilty if the headline had a negative connotation (“Admits Ownership of Frat Murder Weapon”) than if the connotation was positive (“Many Had Access to Frat Murder Weapon”) or neutral (“Approach Final Stage in Frat Murder Trial”).