ERIC Number: ED284240
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Building a Theory of News Content: A Synthesis of Current Approaches. Journalism Monographs Number 103.
Shoemaker, Pamela J.; Mayfield, Elizabeth Kay
Intended to aid theory building in the study of influences on news content, this paper examines how five basic theoretical approaches to studying news content can be integrated into J. Herbert Altschull's assertion that mass media content reflects the ideology of those who finance the media. The paper notes that Altschull's theory accounts for the between-nation effects predicted by broad-scale sociological theories such as hegemony or the mass manipulative model, and shows that the theory also can explain the null effects which may result from studies looking for hegemonic effects. The first major section of the paper shows how the existing literature on media content can be analyzed according to five hierarchical levels of analysis related to Altschull's economic theory: (1) content accurately reflects social reality, (2) content is a function of media routines, (3) content is influenced by journalists' socialization and attitudes, (4) content results from social and institutional forces working on it, and (5) content is a function of ideological positions and a tool of the status quo. The second section outlines assumptions and theoretical statements resulting from this synthesis on the influence of funding source on content and other variables. The concluding section suggests that researchers integrate the five theoretical approaches into an economic model that explains media content as the product of a more complex set of ideological forces held by those who fund the media. (Six pages of notes are included.) (HTH)
Descriptors: Content Analysis, Cultural Influences, Financial Support, Ideology, Media Research, Social Influences, Theories
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Journalism, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208 ($5.00, single issue).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.