ERIC Number: ED436235
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Jan
Children and Welfare Reform: High States, Low Coverage. Content Analysis on Welfare Reform Reporting. A Report by Children Now.
An examination of the way welfare reform is presented in the national news media can provide insight into which aspects of the reform news consumers consider important. This study used a content analysis to examine all stories about welfare reform in the national press from: (1) June through August 1996, during which time the federal legislation was debated and enacted; and (2) June through August 1997, during which time legislation was being implemented at the state level. Content of 680 stories was examined for: the welfare issues addressed; main focus; discussion of impact of the reform and how it affects children; length; and photo content. Findings indicated that the most frequent story focus was on the potential and actual impact of the reform, with politics also a frequent focus. Children were the primary focus of 6 percent of articles and received a limited discussion in 38 percent. The Los Angeles Times contained more welfare reform stories that other sources, although The New York Times featured the most articles focusing on children. A greater percentage of editorials addressed children's issues than any other article type. Impact of welfare reform was most frequently discussed in terms of government budgets. The impact of reform on children's lives was discussed most frequently in general terms. Based on the findings, it was concluded that framing the welfare reform issue primarily as one that affects public budgets can have consequences on how news consumers perceive the issue, and vote or act upon it. (KB)
Descriptors: Children, Content Analysis, Journalism, News Media, News Reporting, News Writing, Newspapers, Periodicals, Welfare Reform
Children Now, 1212 Broadway, 5th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612. Tel: 800-CHILD-44 (Toll Free); Tel: 510-763-2444; Fax: 510-763-1974; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Children Now, Oakland, CA.
Note: A nine-page brochure, summarizing the full content study report, is appended.