Ms. Jisu Huh

Cox Center Team Presents Findings Of Research on News Production

News is profitably viewed as the consequence of a series of activities of news organizations that are designed to allow the organizations to efficiently operate and routinely produce their newscasts and fill their news pages, a research team from the University of Georgia told media and public opinion scholars at a meeting in Chicago in November.

"A defining characteristic of such organizations is their need for story ideas, as they are the raw material of news," said Dr. Lee B. Becker, who headed the team. "The structure of the organizations and their routines result from this need, and they, in turn, shape the final news product."

Dr. Becker reported that he and his colleagues reached this conclusion after careful examination of the way three media organizations, two of them television stations and the other a newspapers, produced news. The research team visited the three unidentified organizations to understand how media organizations actually generate the ideas that become news.

The team said the focus on the way story ideas are generated was a novel element of their research. They reported their findings at the meeting of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research, meeting in Chicago November 16 and 17.

The team observed how both domestic and international news was incorporated into the new reports during the days of observation.

Dr. Becker is Director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. Other members of the team were Cox Center visiting research scientist Dr. Tudor Vlad and graduate students Heidi Hatfield Edwards, George L. Daniels, Edward M. Gans and Namkee Park. The graduate students participated in a seminar taught by Dr. Becker in the spring of 2001 that focused on how media organizations are structured.

Dr. Vlad and graduate students Gans and Park attended the MAPOR meeting and joined in the presentation of the paper, titled "Routinizing the acquisition of raw materials: A comparative study of news construction in a single community."

Cox Center Graduate Research Assistant Ms. Jisu Huh also attended the Chicago conference and presided at a session on Measurement on the Web. Dr. Vlad presided at a session on Reliability and Validity.