Purpose: This study investigates how media brand knowledge, defined as a structural feature of the message, influences emotional and attentional responses to, and memory of, news messages. Design/methodology/approach: Self-reports, facial electromyography (EMG) and electroencephalography were used as indices of emotional valence, arousal and attention in response to 42 news messages, which varied along the valence and involvement dimensions and were framed with different media brands varying along the familiarity and credibility dimensions. Findings: Compared to the no-brand condition, news framed with brands elicited more attention. The memory tests indicated that strong media brands override the effect of involvement in information encoding, whereas details of news presented with Facebook were not well encoded. However, the headlines of news framed with Facebook were well retrieved. In addition, negative and high-involvement news elicited higher arousal ratings and corrugator EMG activity. News framed with familiar and high-credibility brands elicited higher arousal ratings. Research limitations/implications: Relevant for both brand managers and audiences, the findings show that building credibility and familiarity both work as brand attributes to differentiate media brands and influence information processing. Originality/value: The results highlight the importance of media brands in news reading: as a structural feature, the brand is used as a proxy to process the message content. The study contributes by investigating how the type of source influences the reception and encoding of the mediated information; by investigating the emotional effects of brands; and by confirming previous findings in media psychology literature.