ERIC Number: ED270775
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Public Images of Mass Media News: What Are They and Does It Matter?
McLeod, Jack M.; And Others
A study examined whether public perceptions of media institutions and products are multidimensional and whether the public's image of media matters. Subjects, 512 randomly selected adult residents of Dane County, Wisconsin, were surveyed by telephone. Results revealed that public perceptions of the media are complex, multifaceted, and include more than a simple assessment of credibility. Six principal categories that can be used in classifying news media images are (1) news information quality, (2) patterning of news, (3) negative aspects of content, (4) dependency and control, (5) special interests, and (6) media as non-essential. Results also suggested that the public's perception of the news would be more positive if the stories were more patterned and meaningful. One method of doing that involves compartmentalizing the arrangement, display, and presentation of the stories that the media already present. Other possibilities include making stories of news events more explicitly connected by including more historical context and presenting advice about where additional information could be found to supplement the news. Once changes were made in those areas, they could be stressed in public information and advertising campaigns. A three-page list of references and eight tables of data conclude the report. (DF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (69th, Norman, OK, August 3-6, 1986).