Title page for ETD etd-10022011-130950

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Levasseur, Portia
URN etd-10022011-130950
Title Indexing and Economic News: Coverage of the 2009 Economic Stimulus Debate
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lawrence, Regina G. Committee Chair
Mann, Robert Committee Member
Scholl, Rosanne Committee Member
  • economic news
  • stimulus
  • indexing
Date of Defense 2011-03-25
Availability unrestricted
Indexing theory predicts that, in certain issue areas, media coverage will index levels of elite debate. Elite controversy, the theory predicts, will embolden the press to include a broader variety of sources and coverage should reflect a more open public debate. This has important implications for public opinion. Proponents of the theory expect that it will operate in a variety of issue areas of news coverage, but support for the theory exists largely in the realm of foreign affairs coverage. This study examines television coverage of the 2009 economic stimulus package to evaluate levels of indexing for a domestic, macroeconomic issue.

Results show support for indexing theory. Administration sources dominated in the news, but in circumstances of elite debate among government officials, coverage of this economic issue appeared to include a meaningful proportion of non-governmental voices. Examination of the kinds of non-governmental sources journalists used to construct this debate, however, suggests that these results probably overestimate amount of new information about the issue that was made available to the public through television news coverage.

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