For example, I imagine that most people would agree that the Onion is usually more entertaining than C-SPAN. But why? What is it about the content that's different?
Here are a few more examples. I imagine most people will agree with me on the Daily Show, Onion, and all the things in the less entertaining column. To my mind, on a scale from "not entertaining at all" to "very entertaining," Gawker, Fox News and MSNBC seem less entertaining than John Stuart, but a lot more entertaining than the New York Times. That is, they're trying harder to grab and hold onto viewers' attention. The use a lot of the same gimmicks.
|More entertaining||Less entertaining|
|The Daily Show |
Fox News (?)
All this matters because I'm trying to measure the difference between entertaining and non-entertaining content in political blogs. For this kind of research, it's not enough to say "Blog X seems more entertaining to me than blog Y." I need to measure entertainment, and show that other people can replicate my measurement (After all, repeated measurement is the starting point for all science.)
To get there, I've been trying to write a "codebook" (like a survey, but about text instead of opinions) to measure entertainment in blog posts and news coverage. Here's what I've got so far.
Can you think of things to add? I'd really appreciate your ideas and suggestions...
How well do these statements describe this article: very well, somewhat well, a little well, or not at all well?
|Not at all||A little||Somewhat||Very|
|This article is written to be entertaining.|
|This article is written in a serious tone.|
|This article includes jokes and/or other humor.|
|The tone of this article is sarcastic and/or ironic.|
|This article includes sexual references, imagery, or innuendo.|
|The writing in this article is engaging---it gets and holds the reader's attention.|
|The writing in this article is flat---it doesn't do much to hold the reader's attention.|