Parallel public spheres: distance and discourse in letters to the editor.


Journal Article

This article examines letters to the editor as one of the ways citizens seek to enact a public sphere using technological mediation. Using a sample of all letters received by a metropolitan newspaper during a three-month period (N = 1,113), the authors demonstrate that the tone and argumentative styles of letters differ with the scope of the issues the letters address. Local issues evoke more reasoned, conciliatory tones, while issues beyond the local context evoke more emotional, confrontational tones, even after controlling for individual writers' characteristics and anger as a motivation to write.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Perrin, AJ; Vaisey, S

Published Date

  • November 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 114 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 781 - 810

PubMed ID

  • 19569398

Pubmed Central ID

  • 19569398

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-5390

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9602

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/590647


  • eng