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ERIC Number: ED191071
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Pages: 37
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
How Much News Is Enough?
Hicks, Ronald G.
Although the apparent audiences of the news media are quite large, the real audience for news, in particular hard news of politics and public affairs, is much smaller than is commonly assumed. This situation, while antithetical to the democratic ideal of a news-hungry, well-informed electorate, in practice makes little difference in the way the political system in the United States really operates. The individual citizen/media consumer consciously or unconsciously realizes the futility of being well-informed politically and therefore uses news for more diffuse personal needs; in those areas of his or her life where information can make a difference, the individual may truly be well-informed. All of this makes little difference to the economic health of the news media, who can and do survive by creating saleable audiences for advertisers through a variety of means. However, a potential danger is created when the audience for hard news is small. Slowly-developing little-noticed trends can explode into dramatic crises, thus shaking confidence in the media and other institutions when instant solutions to problems are not forthcoming. The final consequence can be a society where the dual illusions of popular sovereignty and of a well-informed electorate combine to create great potential for social-political chaos--even anarchy. (Author/FL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (63rd, Boston, MA, August 9-13, 1980). Not available in paper copy due to marginal legibility of original document.