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“Madness” in the Media: How Can Print Journalists Better Report on Mental Illnesses?

Description: Stereo types and stigmas of individuals with mental illnesses have proved to be a major roadblock preventing these individuals from seeking help. The news media, despite having a responsibility to accurately inform the public, has played a significant role in portraying individuals with mental illness as violent, unpredictable, dangerous, and unfit to live with the rest of “normal” society. This happens through the words journalists choose to use and the information they choose in included, and excluded, when reporting on mental health issues. This study attempts to establish a guideline that journalists can follow that will hopefully reduce the stigma of mental illness in the media, and eventually in society. This study used a 2 x 2 ANCOVA to test two independent variables (amount of labeling terms and amount of corrective information). The variables were manipulated by modifying a news article four times to produce articles with varying levels of labeling terms and corrective information. A control article was also be used. The articles were randomized and passed out to 220 undergraduate college students at the University of North Texas who completed a questionnaire, read their assigned article, and then completed a second questionnaire to determine the impact the article had on their attitudes about individuals with mental illnesses.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Cousineau, Anna Desiree

Portrayal of Race by Public and Private University Newspapers

Description: This study investigated how two college newspapers cover race and how the papers employed racial stereotypes when describing sources. One of newspapers is a student-produced paper at a private university. The other is a student-produced newspaper at a public university. The study conducted content analyses of front-page news stories in both college newspapers. The sources in the story were analyzed for racial stereotypes. Stereotypes were identified based on frames used in modern racism research. A t-test and chi-square were used to compare the coverage of minorities to Whites. Once the quantitative content analysis was completed, I used textual analysis to identify what ways the news stories used stereotypical coverage of minorities. The study used critical media theory.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Hayton, Tasha

Twitter: Journalism Chases the Greased Pig

Description: The study seeks to find a baseline of Twitter usage of traditional media. Findings suggest that traditional media are using Twitter (a non-traditional medium) in a traditional way. The study explores why a tool like Twitter needs to be approached by journalists in ways to which they may not be accustomed. The study additionally finds that newsrooms are underutilizing Twitter's potential for audience interactivity and have not established guidelines for journalists in the use of Twitter for work purposes. Conclusions include the need for more understanding of Twitter on the part of managers, a usage of Twitter that fits the medium, rather than traditional journalism models and more study in the future so that the journalism business can stay ahead of the curve when new communication technologies are introduced.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Hill, Desiree