ERIC Number: ED237979
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Newspapers' Letters to the Editor as Reflections of Social Structure.
Vasquez, Francisco; Eveslage, Thomas
A study examined the different approaches that daily newspaper and weekly newspaper editors take toward letters to the editor. It was believed that (1) editors of weekly newspapers would regard as more important letters referring to the community positively, while (2) editors of daily newspapers would regard as more important letters dealing with controversial issues and conflict. Surveys were completed by 55 weekly and 45 daily newspaper editors in a large eastern state. Circulation figures for those papers ranged from fewer than 5,000 to more than 100,000, representing a variety of community sizes. The results supported the hypotheses. The proportion of weekly and daily editors regarding as important or unimportant letters reflecting conflict presented an almost perfect inverse relationship. These results lend support to the notion that newspapers are reflections of the social structures in which they operate. The tendency of daily newspapers--usually published in larger heterogeneous communities--to report more conflict, and the inclination of weekly newspapers--usually published in smaller homogeneous communities--to suppress it, illustrate the importance of the social environments in which these newspapers operate. These differences reflect the prevalence of the conflict model and the consensus tradition in structurally different communities. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Editorial Policy; Letters to the Editor; Media Role
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (66th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).