Emotional appeals and news values as factors of shareworthiness in Ice Bucket Challenge coverage

Danielle K. Kilgo, Kyser Lough, Martin J. Riedl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The 2014 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC) received unprecedented attention by both news media and social media audiences. Using content analysis, this research examines how digital news utilized different news values and emotional appeals to cover the IBC. In addition, this work includes a secondary analysis that examines what coverage characteristics influenced social media audiences to share content on Facebook and Twitter. Results reveal that while celebrity participation and human interest stories were more likely to be covered, news values played a limited role in predicting audience sharing practices. Articles that use emotions in a story are more likely to entice sharing on Facebook than on Twitter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-286
Number of pages20
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 7 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Digital Media Research Program of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas and Dr. Thomas J. Johnson for their support of this project. In addition, they would like to thank Shadan Larki, the undergraduate coder who helped make this project possible.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • digital journalism
  • emotional appeals
  • health communication
  • news values
  • shareworthiness
  • social media


Dive into the research topics of 'Emotional appeals and news values as factors of shareworthiness in Ice Bucket Challenge coverage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this