ERIC Number: ED233414
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
A Comparison of Bad News on Radio and Television Using the News Morbidity Scale.
Haskins, Jack B.
A reliable "news morbidity" scale was developed to measure the prevalence of bad and good news on radio and television; the scale was then used in a pilot study of one city's news output. The news morbidity scale is a seven-step scale ranging from "extremely bad" to "extremely good" news. A sample of 945 television and 1,105 radio news stories were selected from 11 commercial radio stations and three commercial television stations in a southeastern metropolitan area. The major variables recorded include item position in program; adjacency to commercials; time, day, and week; and network or local origin. The results indicated that both radio and television news were predominantly negative, 57.4% bad for radio and 60.4% bad for television. Television also had more good news than radio, 38.9% to 31.2%. Television thus appeared to be the medium of more dramatic news, both positive and negative, while radio fare tended to be somewhat more neutral or bland. On television news programs, the most negative items appeared in the first position, the more negative items were separated from commercials and announcements, and the news was more negative during the early morning wake-up period. The results indicated that radio and television do not operate by all the same rules in their handling of bad and good news. It appears that television may have some more explicit constant policies regarding handling of bad news, while radio handles it in a more random or haphazard fashion. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Association of Broadcasters, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Tennessee Univ., Knoxville. Coll. of Communications.