Title page for ETD etd-0412102-144208

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Soileau, Robert James
Author's Email Address rsoile2@lsu.edu
URN etd-0412102-144208
Title Louisiana Mass Media Perceptions of the LSU AgCenter's Communications Effort
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Vocational Education
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Joe W. Kotrlik Committee Chair
Michael Burnett Committee Member
Satish Verma Committee Member
  • public relations
  • agricultural communications
  • agriculture research
  • land grant institution
  • extension
  • cooperative extension
  • communications
  • news
  • mass media
Date of Defense 2002-03-27
Availability unrestricted
LSU AgCenter Communications sends news stories and materials to all three major mass media for news - newspaper, radio and television - in the state of Louisiana.

These news releases are designed to educate and inform the general public about LSU AgCenter programs and research through the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service and the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station. LSU AgCenter Communications wanted to know the effectiveness of its news effort in terms of usage by the media, and what was the media’s perception of the LSU AgCenter and the topics covered by communications.

Three researcher-designed surveys were developed, one for each medium (newspaper, radio, television). Each questionnaire was designed to determine how effective LSU AgCenter news materials are being used and how often they are used by each medium. Each survey contained a list of the topics used by LSU AgCenter Communications in their news materials. Communications wanted to determine the level of awareness of LSU AgCenter topics among the newsroom leaders of each medium: newspaper editors, radio news directors or general managers, and television news directors. Also, LSU AgCenter Communications wanted to know the level of importance that each newsroom leader placed on these topics.

According to the results the LSU AgCenter Communications effort has been effective in terms of usage of the news materials delivered to newspapers, radio and television stations. The newspaper and television efforts were found to be more effective than the radio service.

It was also discovered that newspaper editors were more aware of LSU AgCenter programs and research topics than both radio and television news directors. The level of importance among each medium differed. Agriculture and emergency preparedness were the most consistently high scoring topics among all three media. Personal finance received the lowest marks overall. A follow-up study of the awareness and importance of LSU AgCenter topics could be helpful to determine each medium's content trends.

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