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ERIC Number: ED384995
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
An Unseen Hand: The Mass Media and Education Policy.
Wallace, Mike
This paper examines the role of mass media in the British education policy process, in particular, how the mass media steer education policy and inhibit certain issues from becoming the subject of policy. The paper describes how media professionals comprise an interest group competing with others to affect education policy; how they and other interest groups interact within the policy process; and how the discourse of media output supports the struggle between political ideologies. In particular, the conservative bias of the media inhibits the search for radical alternatives to the present range of education policies. The discussion is supplemented with findings from ongoing exploratory research funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Data were gathered from interviews with media professionals and representatives of other groups concerned with educational policy and the media, content analysis of media outputs during 1994, and a case study of a recent progressive debate in Great Britain. A conclusion is that although media professionals enjoy a considerable degree of autonomy, they are constrained by dependence on other interest groups and institutions. Media output and its underlying conservative ideology are shaped by editorial policy reflecting the media ownership by a small number of multinational conglomerates, by the state-imposed legal framework, by journalistic norms for relatively pleasant new stories, and by the need to entertain a mass audience in order to secure income. There is little evidence to support a conspiracy theory among media professionals, government officials, or business leaders to tightly control the education debate and policy. Rather, the relationship itself--of relative autonomy among the media, education, the state, and the economy--appears to be the unseen hand that guides interaction among interest groups, resulting in a media contribution that is critical within limits, but also fundamentally conservative. Two figures are included. Contains 14 references. (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Great Britain)