Reporter perceptions of influences on media content: a structural equation model of the agenda- and frame-building and agenda-cutting processes in the television industry Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Colistra, Rita F.
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • The purpose of this dissertation is to examine through what forces and under what conditions the media are most likely to be influenced, and with what effect on news content. Specifically, this study asks how, how often, and under what conditions do external and internal forces attempt to influence the television media and their coverage, and to what effect are they successful at doing so? To answer this question, this dissertation uses a multilevel research approach to examine how extramedia, organizational, and within-media forces influence television news content and coverage decisions. The first stage uses structural equation modeling to test a comprehensive model of media influences and outcomes using original data from a national Web survey of television reporters. Findings suggest that, based on reporters’ perceptions, forces outside the media have a direct influence on organizational-level pressures. These pressures are then passed down to forces within the news organization, which then influence news content and coverage decisions. Organizational influences, including owners and top-level executives, affect coverage decisions both indirectly, as mediated through decision-makers working within the station itself, and directly. Both relationships were positive, suggesting that more reports of pressure from these sources result in higher levels of influence on content and coverage decisions. Market size also affects reporters’ perceptions of influences, as respondents from smaller markets perceive more instances of pressures from Extramedia sources, as well as more accounts of Organizational and Within-Media pressures. These relationships ultimately result in more instances of overall influences on content. The second stage of the study examines the strength of the three indicators of extramedia influences (advertising, public relations, and political) and the three measures of organizational influences (owner/executive, economic, and staff) in predicting both influences on news coverage decisions and instances of agenda cutting. The findings offer insight for scholars, journalists, advertising and public relations professionals, media policymakers, and those involved in media ownership and economics. The study also attempts to advance theory with the development and expansion of agenda cutting, and by updating agenda- and frame-building and social control of the newsroom literature.
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  • In Copyright
  • Shaw, Donald Lewis
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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