ERIC Number: ED246458
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Accounting for Patterns of Topic Selection in Statehouse Reporting.
Dunwoody, Sharon; Shields, Steven
A study investigated the possibility that news sources account for the pattern of journalistic topic selection. It was hypothesized that the proportions of content in raw news materials made available to reporters by sources would be similar to the proportion of content found in published stories, and that the proportions of sources for these raw materials would be dissimilar to the proportion of sources found in published stories. The study focused on sources and media coverage for a midwestern statehouse. Press materials from the statehouse were analyzed and coded for a six-week period, as were statehouse stories published in the state's four major newspapers for a four-week period. The analyses indicated that proportions of content were similar across the raw materials and the published stories, supporting the first hypothesis. The results also showed that the proportion of specific sources for raw materials was different from the proportion of sources in the published stories, supporting the second hypothesis. The data suggest that journalists and their sources share notions about what aspects of a state bureaucracy are worth paying attention to. The disproportionate use of sources outside the statehouses cited in the published stories may represent journalistic attempts to achieve balance in reporting. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: News Sources; News Topics
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (67th, Gainesville, FL, August 5-8, 1984).