Unz, D., Schwab, F., & Winterhoff-Spurk, P. (2008). TV news–The daily horror?: Emotional effects of violent television news. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications, 20(4), 141-155. Retrieved June 24, 2009, doi:10.1027/1864-1105.20.4.141

In two studies we examined the influence of violent television news on viewers’ emotional experiences and facial expressions. In doing so, we considered formal and content aspects of news reports as well as viewers’ gratifications as independent variables. Analyses showed that violence in TV news elicits primarily negative emotions depending on the type of portrayed violence. Effects of presentation mode and of expected gratification on the viewers’ feelings are traceable. On the whole, fear is neither the only nor the most prominent emotion; rather, viewers seem to react to violence with “other-critical” moral emotions, including anger and contempt, reflecting a concern for the integrity of the social order and the disapproval of others. Emotions shown in reaction to the suffering of others, like sadness and fear, occur much more rarely. The results largely show a complex web of relations between media variables, viewers’ characteristics, and emotional processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)(from the journal abstract)