Have Newspaper, Will Travel?


About the project

It is on the front page of newspapers, the cover of news magazines, the home page of news organizations' Web sites, and the agenda of most other media. The military conflict in Iraq has given the mass media something to talk about.

But what happens during a slow news period?

Journalists are often accused of turning non-events into huge stories by concentrating so much coverage on single or rare occurrences. Viewers, listeners and readers may develop a skewed perception of the story as a result.

What happens when audiences base decisions on this perception?

That is one of many questions raised in this project.

The first part of its title, “Have Newspaper,” actually represents all mainstream news media, referring to the receipt of mass communicated messages. The second part, “Will Travel?,” denotes both a specific reaction to the messages and the overall concept of influenced behavior.

It is hard to empirically measure some effects due to the presence of other variables. People may behave a certain way even without media exposure.

For this reason, the project does not suggest causality or reach conclusions. It only explores the issue by looking at previous studies involving crisis reporting and some newer circumstances possibly involving media-affected behavior.

Given the media images presented during each story period, would you still travel to that region?



Copyright © 2003

Heather M. Edwards

Last Updated 4/16/03

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