Newspaper 2005 Abstracts

Newspaper Division

Survival in Paradise: How Local Identity Helped Save the Honolulu Star Bulletin • Ann Auman, University of Hawaii • This study analyzes identity and culture at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and how these helped save it from a closure attempt by Gannett Co. Inc. This paper theorizes that distinctive attributes related to the paper’s identity, history and cultural and political influences that were unique to Hawaii kept it afloat. This study analyzes interviews with newsroom staff members and articles to illuminate the Star-Bulletin’s identity and its connection to its survival.

Shielded From the Feds? An Examination of the Proposed Federal Shield Laws • Courtney Barclay, Florida • Journalists are facing an unprecedented use of federal subpoenas to compel the disclosure of confidential and non-confidential information. The lower federal courts, in determining the extent of protection of a reporter’s privilege, have been inconsistent. However, Congress may finally be ready to defend the reporter’s privilege–creating a federal shield law. This paper analyzes the two bills proposed before Congress in 2005 that, if passed, would create a statutory reporter’s privilege.

Hype or Hope? Washington Post Coverage of Hormone Replacement: 1950-2004 • Marlene Cimons, Maryland • The purpose of this study was to examine more than a half-century of Washington Post coverage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). A content analysis and critical reading found positive themes during early years; risks were reported later, a harbinger of the results of the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative. Within an agenda setting framework, it appears the media reported the dangers, but readers did not take them seriously until the coverage became too prominent to ignore.

Newsroom Marriage Encounters: The Extent to Which Cross-Media Partnerships Display Convergence-based Behaviors • Larry Dailey, Lori Demo, and Mary Spillman, Ball State • This national study of newspaper editors and television news directors provides a snapshot of the state of news convergence. The study found almost 30 percent of newspapers and half of television news departments have convergence partnerships. It suggests that a few partnerships are relatively committed to their convergence efforts, while some are still trying to define them or have partnerships in name only. Finally, it finds the competitive spirit between newspaper and television newsrooms remains intact.

Framing of the Iraq War in the Online New York Times • Daniela Dimitrova, Iowa State • This study examined the framing of the 2003 Iraq War on the home page of the New York Times. The content analysis revealed that violence of war and military conflict frames dominated the coverage overall. Human interest stories and rebuilding of Iraq frames were also common. Missing from the coverage were the reasons leading up to the war. A change in frames occurred over time, indicating a shift in focus from episodic to thematic frames.

Beyond Props and Flak Jackets: A New Model to Define Modern Parachute Journalism • Emily Erickson and John Hamilton, Louisiana State • The common understanding of parachute journalism posits a large media organization whose cutbacks have obliterated its foreign bureaus and forced it to send out ad hoc reporters to do superficial coverage of crises abroad. But this ignores a greater variety in the nature and performance of these reporters and assignments. This study examines how newspapers are engaging in parachute journalism today, and proposes a typology that acknowledges the breadth and complexity of the phenomenon.

Analyzing the Federal Shield Law Proposals: What Congress Can Learn from the States • Anthony Fargo, Indiana • After a rash of cases in which journalists faced jail time for refusing to reveal confidential sources, two bills were introduced in Congress to create a federal privilege. This analysis of the bills finds they are similar. However, one provides a broader definition of who would be protected and the other would discourage subpoenas for reporters’ phone and computer records. Both bills appear to avoid many of the problems that have befallen state shield laws.

An Analysis of the Bush Administration’s Social Security Propaganda Campaign in Major U.S. Newspapers • Lillie Fears, Arkansas State • This investigation uses Jowett and O’Donnell’s 10-Step plan for analyzing Bush administration’s Social Security propaganda campaign as it is revealed in major U.S. newspapers. The plan assists the analysts in identifying several propaganda tactics within the president’s proposal, including its purpose, target audiences, media techniques, and counterpropaganda. In addition, the plan offers useful guidance for evaluating the Bush proposal.

Plagiarism Persists Despite Journalists’ Changing Attitudes • Fred Fedler, Central Florida • Well into the 1900s, it was common for newspaper reporters and editors to copy one another. For years, journalists accepted the practice as necessary and normal. Changes in journalists’ attitudes were gradual as society, technology, and the newspaper industry changed. Today, plagiarism is almost universally condemned, yet eliminating all plagiarism may be impossible. Most newspapers have no written policies or adopt policies that simply prohibit plagiarism without defining it or providing useful guidelines.

Male and Female Sources in Newspaper Coverage of Male and Female Candidates in U.S. Senate Races in 2004 • Eric Freedman, Frederick Fico, and Brad Love, Central Michigan • This study assessed how the largest dailies in states with female Senate candidates in 2004 used male and female expert sand non-expert, uncommitted sources in covering campaigns. Male nonpartisan sources appeared more frequently and prominently than female sources. Female reporters cited male nonpartisan sources more often than did male reporters; reporters of both genders cited female sources equally rarely,. There was a negative correlation between gender diversity in sourcing and both newsroom diversity and circulation.

Why Journalism Students Don’t Know Grammar • Gerald Grow, Florida A&M, and Glen Bleske, California State-Chico • Many college journalism teachers find themselves teaching high school grammar because students never mastered the skills. This paper discusses how grammar education at high school and college levels changed in recent decades, describes some ways of teaching grammar, and reports results of a pilot study of journalism students and their views about grammar skills. The survey indicated that confidence and anxiety may play key roles in how journalism students learn or do not learn grammar.

The Influence of Newspapers on Rural Economic Development • C. Ann Hollifield, Hugh J. Martin, and Cunfang Ren, Georgia • This study tests the theory that mass media have positive effects on local economic development. Rural areas lost newspapers over the 10 years studied. The presence of local daily newspapers in rural counties was related to lower poverty and higher retail sales, while circulation from non-local papers was negatively related to local retail sales. Weeklies had no impact on economic development. Consolidation of daily newspapers in rural areas may undercut the economic sustainability of communities.

Interactive Content & Online Newspapers: A Content Analysis of Online Versions of Korean and U.S. Newspapers • Moonki Hong, Yongrak Park, and Steven McClung, Florida State • Interactivity is considered as the best approaches for contribution of online journalism. Analyzing interactive features in the 116 online versions of Korean and U.S. newspapers in March 2005, the researchers found that U.S. online newspapers need to provide more “active” interactivity content increasing users’ involvement. This study measured two different interactivity levels according to users participation based on online reading and writing.

Jesse James and Late-Nineteenth Century Missouri Newspapers: They Never Did His Legend Wrong • Cathy Jackson, Norfolk State • This descriptive study notes the journalistic and folkloric rise of Jesse James, a Missouri native, who robbed and killed, yet became an American outlaw hero. Through the use of folklore and sociological theories, this study places him and stories written about him as products of Missouri’s crisis-filled, post-Civil War society. An analysis of 36 Missouri newspapers from 1866-1882 reveals stories infused with heroic motifs, insuring that James achieved hero status during his life and in history.

An Experimental Investigation of the Hostile Media Effect in Singapore • Wei Ling Koh, Diana Wong, Joel Yong, and Stella Chia, Nanyang Technological University • This study examines hostile media perceptions, which suggests the tendency for partisans from both sides of a controversial issue to regard the same media coverage as biased against their own viewpoint. Our data found support for hostile media perceptions and also showed that personal opinion remains the main contributing factor for perceived media bias.

Making Sports News: A Case Study of Sports Newsworkers • Dan Kozlowski, North Carolina • Utilizing data from fieldwork in the sports department of a metropolitan daily and interviews with sportswriters, this paper argues that what becomes sports news in the daily press is the product of a convergence of organizational bureaucracy, routines institutionalized to accommodate the exigencies of newswork, and an enigmatic conception of the audience, created and projected on the reader and then used to explain news judgment.

Says Who? Examining the Use of Anonymous Sourcing in News Stories • Martin Kratzer Renee, and Esther Thorson, Missouri • Recent media scandals and the new sourcing policies of three national elite newspapers have focused attention on the use of anonymous sources in newspapers. This content analysis reveals that there has been a decline in the number of anonymous sources from 2003 to 2004; however, the renewed focus on sourcing in the newspaper industry has not extended to the network industry where the number of unnamed sources has increased.

Cancer Stories in Black vs. Mainstream Newspapers: Is There a Public Health Perspective? • Jeongsub Lim, Jiyang Bae, Charlene Caburnay, Jon Stemmle, Shelly Rodgers, Doug Luke, Glen Cameron, and Matthew Kreuter, Missouri • This study compared the content of cancer news stories in black and mainstream newspapers to examine the presence of public health facts. The method was a content analysis of 24 Black and 12 mainstream newspapers, randomly selected from 24 cities in the U.S. Public health facts included prevention, mobilization information, perspective, monetary care, and consequences of cancer. Black newspapers provided more public health facts about cancer perspective and personal behavior mobilization than did mainstream newspapers.

Media Frames and Fairness and Balance of Five U.S. Newspapers’ Coverage of Same-Sex Marriage • Xudong Liu, Louisiana State and Xigen Li, Arkansas State • A content analysis of 209 stories on same-sex marriage found overall coverage of same-sex marriage was fair and balanced. Source dominance of the stories was associated with balance of the coverage. The stories framed as thematic were more likely to be fair and balanced than the stories framed as episodic. The findings did not support the general belief that prestige newspapers do better than high circulation newspapers in fairness and balance of news coverage.

Walking in Step to the Future 2005: Views of Journalism Education by Practitioners and Educators • Ernest Martin, June Nicholson, Paula Otto, Jeff South, Judy Turk, and Debora Wenger, Virginia Commonwealth • This 2005 Internet survey of 343 journalism educators, newspaper editors and television and online news executives contrasts views about preparation of students for current and future jobs by showing gaps between what employers’ value most in job applicants and what educational programs are providing. Second, it addresses newsroom challenges that are shaping the industry and journalism education. Third, it examines views on blogging and on newsroom support for First Amendment legal disputes.

Model of the Practice of News Immediacy by Web Newspapers • Brian Massey, Utah • Research tends to take a discrete view of the Web-newspaper practice of immediacy. This article proposes a holistic approach that encompasses the journalistic, commercial, audience and organizational-decision sides of the practice. It represents that approach in a model that conceives of Web-news immediacy as involving dimensions of “time,” “form” and content,” and starting with a “trigger” decision within the newspaper organization. Also discusses are influences that may work on that decision.

Connecting With Readers: Why Newspapers Should Consider Incorporating Blogs Into Their Online Content • Liz Matson, Northeastern • This paper argues that blogs can be an extension of a newspaper’s daily news reporting and a means of connecting with the audience in a more immediate way. Using examples of current newspaper blogs, the paper presents six ways a newspaper can incorporate blogs into the editorial content of the paper’s Website. The paper also presents a content analysis of 81 major metro and national newspaper Websites, which was undertaken in March 2005.

Young Adults’ New Sense of Community Calls for a New Newspaper • Rachel Davis Mersey, North Carolina • Relying on sense of community research and utilizing a uses and gratifications lens, this research asserts that the frame of relevance for young adults is markedly different from that for traditional newspaper consumers, and that the root of this is a revised sense of community, which relies on the idea that relationships–not place–build communities. This geographically-unbound perspective calls for continued research and perhaps ultimately a departure from the conventional newspaper.

What’s Good for Business is Good for America? The Framing of Outsourcing in Business Newspapers and General-Interest Newspapers • Joshua Mound, Ohio • When offshore outsourcing created controversy, it became not just a business matter, but a social and political issue framed by the press in numerous ways. Through the comparison of multiple groups of publications–each consisting of two general-interest newspapers with demographically different audiences and one business newspaper, all from the same city–this study examines the way in which the variables of class and business-orientation affect the framing of outsourcing.

Covering Campaign Finance: A Content Analysis of Articles, Editorials and Columns on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 • Samuel Murphey, Christina Collison and Anthony Albrecht, Truman State • This paper analyzes the framing of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. We use content analysis methodology to analyze 96 news articles, editorials, and columns from seven newspapers. Our research shows that newspapers emphasized the legislative process frame more often than justification or issue frames. Further, most newspaper coverage was of a reactionary rather than a proactive nature. The findings prove that significant changes are needed to inform the public about legislative policy making.

Newshole Changes in Three Large Newspapers with Different Ownership Patterns • Geneva Overholser, Esther Thorson, Yan Jin, and Yonghoi Song, Missouri, and Steve Lacy, Central Michigan • This paper examined the Front and Metro newshole in Cleveland Plain Dealer (privately owned), Philadelphia Inquirer (publicly traded), and Minneapolis Star Tribune (owned by two-tiered companies) in 1987 and 2001 (before 9-11) to test the hypothesis that differential profit pressure known to exist in the three ownership patterns would impact the size and distribution news in the newshole. The results are discussed in terms of economic theory relating ownership to newspaper quality indexed by newshole.

When the Barbaric Becomes Sublime: Early New York Times Coverage of the Iraq War • Victor Pickard, Illinois • The historical account of U.S. press coverage of events leading up to and during war suggests the press plays an integral role in bolstering the case for military operations to an often-ambivalent public. Through careful reading of New York Times coverage of the early stages of the Iraq War, this paper examines one news tendency——namely, the technologizing of war——in the process of rendering the phenomenon of war as something natural and awe-inspiring.

Watchdog or Good Neighbor? The Public’s Expectations of Local News Paula Poindexter, Don Heider and Maxwell McCombs, Texas • After an earlier study found the public expected the press to be a good neighbor, the present study set out to determine what that meant. The survey revealed being a good neighbor was strongly valued by women, African-Americans, and Hispanics and over half wanted more coverage of education, health and medicine, science, and arts and culture. Concerns included crime and social issues. Television was viewed as best able to address the public’s concerns.

Mental Map Making: The Role of Black Newspapers in Shaping Perceptions of Cancer in Black Community • Qi Qiu, Cynthia Frisby, Shelly Rodgers and Glen Cameron, Missouri • Using case study meta-analysis, content analysis of black and mainstream papers was combined with survey findings from the same newspaper markets to explore news coverage in relation to mental maps of cancer. Findings indicate that cognitive and affective media attributes were associated with audiences’ cancer knowledge and attitudes, supporting second-level agenda-setting. Less positive black newspapers correlated with higher levels of cancer anxiety among black women. Exposed to more positive headlines, white women had less fear.

The Public’s Views of Ethics in Managing ‘Letters to the Editor’ • Bill Reader and Daniel Riffe, Ohio • This survey poses questions about attitudes toward the importance of LTEs and about ethics related to LTE selection, specifically letters that might be “hostile” toward the respondent’s personal views. Results show that political/ideological views have almost no bearing on attitudes toward the ethics of publishing letters, with most people supporting publication of divisive letters. The exception was with a letter advocating racial segregation, which most respondents said would be “highly unethical” to publish.

It’s Gametime: The Maslach Burnout Inventory Measures Burnout of Sports Journalists • Scott Reinardy, Missouri • A survey (N = 249) of newspaper sports journalists utilized the Maslach Burnout Inventory to examined burnout. Sports journalists suffer moderate rates of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, and have a high rate of personal accomplishment. Sports editors have a higher rate of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization than sports writers or desk personnel, and a lower rate of personal accomplishment. Younger, less experienced sports journalists at smaller newspapers suffer a higher rate of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization.

More Heat Than Light: A Case Study of Crime-Victim Identification in Theory and in Practice • Kathleen Richardson and Herb Strentz, Drake • This project had intended to study how newspaper identification of accusers in sexual abuse cases affected victim willingness to report crimes. Instead the research became a case study of the efficacy of such identification and the usefulness of statutory access to police records. The study found that police kept most reports of abuse secret, and suggests that debate over victim identification sheds more heat than light when it comes to news coverage of sexual abuse.

‘Journalism is a Loose-Jointed Thing’: A Content Analysis of Editor & Publisher’s Discussion of Journalistic Conduct Prior to the Canons of Journalism • Ronald Rodgers, Ohio • With a category system drawn from the ethical elements listed in the Canons of Journalism, this analysis examined Editor & Publisher’s discussion of the problems of journalism on its editorial page in the more than twenty years leading up to ASNE’s adoption of that code in 1923. This study confirmed the presumption that code was a culmination of the ongoing and historical discourse in the newspaper industry’s primary trade journal.

Second Servings: Online Publication and Its Impact on Second-Day Leads in Newspapers • Jack Rosenberry, St. John Fisher • A content analysis comparing contemporary newspaper leads to ones from 15 years earlier, before Internet publication became commonplace, determined that use of “first day” (direct/summary) leads has declined over that time. The findings support an argument that newspapers’ print editions have become a permanent second-day publication concurrent with the rise of the 24-hour news cycle and the phenomenon of newspapers using their online editions to break news.

The Popular Ideology of Freedom of Expression: An Analysis of Newspaper Political Columns • Thomas Schwartz, Ohio State • This paper addresses the literature on public attitudes toward freedom of expression by analyzing 139 columns by 31 nationally syndicated newspaper columnists in an attempt to describe what the paper calls a popular ideology of freedom of expression. The paper explains what seem to be the conservative and liberal views but also notes “new right” and “feminist-critical” subgroups.

The Influence of Expert Opinion on Media Coverage of the Heisman Trophy Race • Trent Seltzer and Michael Mitrook, Florida • This study examines the 2001-2003 Heisman Trophy races to determine the relationship among the agendas of expert opinion, media coverage, and Heisman voters. The study analyzed 717 media stories, 50 AP college football polls, and 40 Rocky Mountain News expert opinion polls. The results provide support for the agenda-setting and framing influence of expert opinion and media coverage on the Heisman vote, suggesting the important role of expert opinion in the agenda-setting and framing process.

Taking Up Space: Growing Newspaper Groups, Their Markets, and the Makeup of Local Content • Joshua Shear, Syracuse • In this paper, the author predicts that large newspapers groups prefer economies of scale to putting reporters on the streets at each of their newspapers, and that certain types and subjects of news will be more prevalent in group-owned papers than their independent counterparts. Relationships are also predicted between market variables and story topics. The author’s hypotheses are rejected, but interesting relationships are discovered in post-hoc analysis.

Stepping Back from the Gate: Online Newspaper Editors and the Co-Production of Content in Campaign 2004 • Jane Singer, Iowa • In their coverage of the 2004 political campaign, editors of Web sites affiliated with major U.S. newspapers continued to emphasize the provision of credible information. But they moved toward seeing that information less as an end product and more as a basis for user engagement, participation, and personalization. This study suggests a way that journalists might preserve their gatekeeping role in our democracy while simultaneously accommodating the interactive nature of the Internet.

Use of Anonymous, Government and Other Types of Sources in Newspaper Investigative Stories • Miglena Sternadori, Missouri • The study content analyzed winning and non-winning newspaper articles entered in the annual contest of Investigative Reporters and Editors from 1995 to 2002. Sourcing patterns were compared, and — contrary to expectations based on normative prescriptions — winning stories used more anonymous sources than non-winners. The frequency of use of government-affiliated sources was about the same. Occasional granting of anonymity appears to continue to be an acceptable practice in investigative reporting, especially in stories on government wrongdoing.

The Right of Review: Signs of Growing Cooperation with Sources • Duane Stoltzfus, Goshen • In thirty years since James W. Tankard Jr. and Michael Ryan considered the accuracy of science coverage in newspapers and challenged the accepted wisdom about prepublication review, it would appear that journalists have moved closer to an approach favored by the two researchers. A survey of the top 50 newspapers in the country shows that the majority often give staff members significant freedom to negotiate prepublication review.

Slave Reparations Dismissed in the News: An Examination of Reparations Coverage in Daily U.S. Newspapers • Venise Wagner, San Francisco State • This study examines coverage of the issue of slave reparations in daily U.S. newspapers. Using content analysis of articles pulled from Jan. 1- Dec. 31, 2002, the study explored how print press treated the story, assessing placement of stories, length, story types, use of sources and the inclusion or exclusion of contextual elements that portray the history of slavery, the legacy of slavery and the economic outcomes of slavery.

The Internet’s Influence on Newspaper’s Agenda: A Content Analysis of News Coverage in the New York Times, 1999-2003 • Xiaopeng Wang and Ying Sun, Ohio • From the inter-media agenda setting perspective, the authors conducted a content analysis to examine the general picture of how online information affected traditional media’s agenda and whether newspapers treated the Internet as a reliable source. The authors found that political entities have utilized new information technology to maintain and promote their interest. In the newspaper newsrooms, the Internet was regarded as a new medium, but not a reliable news source.

The Dominance of Bearish News? Investigating the News Coverage Against the State of the Economy • Denis Wu and Anita Day, Louisiana State • This paper investigated the economic coverage of four local and two national media. Most economic news were found negative in nature. The local media are more likely than the national media to deliver a rosy picture of the economy. Government budget and company performances are two dominant topics, although local and national media differ on the angle used to report on the topics. The New York Times was found to reflect more closely the economy.

Neutral Reportage’ as a Libel Defense • Kyu Youm, Oregon • The “neutral reportage” doctrine immunizes the press from liability for republishing in a neutral manner “newsworthy” allegations made by any “responsible” speaker about public figures. The debate about the validity of neutral reportage as a constitutional libel defense continues, although it was first enunciated in 1977. On March 28, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on the validity of the neutral reportage doctrine. This paper reexamines the uniquely media-friendly libel defense.

Shaping Feelings: Newspaper Agenda Setting, Level 3: A Hypothesis • Jason Yu and Donald Shaw, North Carolina • We hypothesize that agenda setting exists at the level of affect, agenda setting, level 3. Using New York Times and Gallup Poll data, we found evidence that the affect associated with news messages is transferred to audiences. The study suggests that newspapers may suggest to readers how to feel about topics, a step beyond agenda setting, level 1 (objects), and agenda setting, level 2 (attribute framing).

The Framing of the 2004 Olympic Games in the U.S. Press • Thimios Zaharopoulos, Washburn U• This examines the framing of the 2004 Olympic Games as reflected in the coverage on the New York Times web site. It reinforces views about news media practices that emphasize conflict frames reflecting news values like balance and deviance; and economic consequences frames. However, frames Olympic organizers desired were hardly reflected in the coverage. Certain news frames are related to more contextual coverage, to more negative tone of coverage, and to shorter news coverage than others.

Similar Content, Different Packages: Covering the 9/11 Attack in U.S. and British Major Newspapers • Li Zeng, Arkansas State • This study examined the coverage of the “9/11” attack in U.S. and British major newspapers during the first week after the event. It found that the newspapers in the two countries portrayed the same event in different ways. British newspapers tended to provide more background information through features stories. In both story headlines and non-commentary stories, British newspapers were more likely to use a characterization word to describe the perpetrators than their U.S. counterparts.

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