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ERIC Number: ED358493
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Pages: 26
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Research Issues in the Study of Public Attitudes toward Ethical Problems in Television Programming.
Rarick, David L.; Lind, Rebecca Ann
Three empirical studies focused on viewer reactions to ethical issues in television news, and on actions audience members felt were appropriate to control possibly unethical behaviors in television broadcasting. The first study was a 12-minute telephone survey of 293 randomly selected adults in Minneapolis-St. Paul (Minnesota) in 1989 to determine public responses to ethical issues. The first study demonstrated that people can and do think about television content problem areas. In the second study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with a quota sample of 34 television news viewers in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Viewers were willing and capable of speaking at length about television news issues and of analyzing three hypothetical news stories. The third study combined techniques of the first two studies to identify how viewers evaluate ethically controversial local television news content. Using random-digit dialing, 201 Minneapolis-St. Paul local television news viewers were selected for 30-minute telephone interviews and subsequent mail survey concerning their reactions to six hypothetical news stories. Three trends emerged: (1) certain criteria were much more commonly applied than others, including harm/benefits, newsworthiness, and parameters; (2) many unique criteria applied in each situation; and (3) the exact criteria differed according to the situation. A preliminary model of the process viewers use to evaluate ethical issues in television programming was developed. Findings show the usefulness of using multiple research methodologies. Future research should supplement traditional philosophical and case study analyses with empirical studies of audience response to ethical issues in the media. (Contains 36 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota