Mainstream news organizations have long been considered leading agents in the formation of public opinion in the United States. A substantial number of studies have suggested that the television networks are vehicles in setting the agenda on the leading social, political and economic issues of the day. During the past four decades, there have been a myriad of education initiatives for change and reform. An exploration of the media's role in covering education issues becomes highly relevant and important. Content analysis was used to categorize and analyze 28,629 news abstracts from between 1968 and 2008. These were compiled from the Vanderbilt Television News Archives' (VTNA) news abstracts. Particular emphasis was given to (a) topical and subject areas of the stories, (b) chronological development of the stories by topical areas, (c) geographic location of the cities where the stories originated, and (d) length of stories generated by the television networks. Analysis of all abstracts (622,286) revealed 8,206 stories (1.32%) which dealt with issues relevant to the United States prekindergarten to 12th grade education system. Education story subject areas included: legal (30.8%), health and safety (27.3%), academic (25.3%) and business (16.6%). There are variations in the total number of stories aired by the networks however, there is little variation in the proportion of education stories broadcasted when compared with the total number of stories. The 1980s had the smallest proportion of education news stories during the time periods examined. The largest proportion of education news stories covered the South (27.3%) or were national stories (27.1%) while the West, Midwest and Northeast coverage was similar (∼15%). Academic news stories averaged as the longest of this type of story (160 sec) while education news stories covering legal and health and safety issues were ∼115 sec in length and business stories were averaged 100 sec in length. Education news stories constitute a small fraction of the overall television news coverage by the media. The coverage of these stories dealing with legal issues was predominant while academic news stories were the lengthiest. Education news stories from the South or of a national concern were dominant.
|Commitee:||Covington, Marsha, Englesberg, Paul|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Elementary education, Secondary education, Mass communications|
|Keywords:||Content analysis, Education, Education news, Elementary education, News stories, School, Secondary education, Teacher, Television, Television news media|
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