The Roles of Audience Characteristics and Journalistic Freedom in Determining News Coverage of the Affordable Care Act Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Shumake, Katie
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • This paper investigates the determinants of news coverage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). News media have documented agenda setting and framing roles that are affected by resource constraints, characteristics of the news organization that employs journalists, journalists' personal characteristics, and audience characteristics. I conducted a survey of health policy journalists and a content analysis of eight newspapers to determine if relationships exist between journalists' choices of content, frame, and sources and journalists' personal characteristics and organizational characteristics of the news media organization that employs the journalist. I found several significant relationships in the survey and content analysis and concluded that the main drivers behind ACA news coverage were journalists' perceptions of the audience's needs or interests and journalists' perceived freedom to report and frame health stories they find important. This freedom likely results from journalists' levels of education, experience, and the requirement to cover topics other than health policy.
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  • In Copyright
  • Southwell, Brian
  • Master of Arts
Graduation year
  • 2013

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