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ERIC Number: ED309490
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Aug-13
Pages: 28
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Brave Firefighters, Endangered National Icons and Bumbling Land Managers: Network TV Myths about the 1988 Yellowstone Wildfires.
Smith, Conrad
Research shows that reporters often seek out the most available news sources rather than those who have the most expertise, that journalists tend to focus on specific events rather than the context in which they occur, and that news stories are presented as stylized social constructs rather than as factual accounts of what happened. A study examined evening network television stories about the 1988 Yellowstone Park wildfires as a case study in the sociology of news. Four panels of experts (fire incident commanders and forest ecologists) were assembled to examine and evaluate videotaped network evening news stories about the Yellowstone fires on five-part Likert-type scales. To get journalists' perspectives, telephone interviews were conducted with the correspondent from each network who reported the largest number of stories about the fires and also with either a producer or regional bureau chief at each network who supervised coverage of the fires. Further information was obtained in personal interviews with key Yellowstone Park officials who dealt with reporters during the fires. Analysis showed that the TV networks covered the fires in a stylized and stereotyped way. The news stories did a poor job of serving educated nonspecialists seeking the information necessary to arrive at informed conclusions about the relevant ecological issues and related land management policies. (Four tables of data and 35 notes are appended.) (MS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A