Date of Award

Fall 1987

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Scotton, James F.

Second Advisor

Thorn, William J.

Third Advisor

Brill, Ann

Abstract

This study examined Catholic and secular press coverage of AIDS within the framework of "objectivity." It did so by analyzing AIDS stories found in the New York Times, the Milwaukee Journal (the secular press), the National Catholic Reporter, the National Catholic Register, and the Catholic Herald (the Catholic press). The Hayakawa-Lowry system of news bias categories was used to measure the objectivity found in AIDS stories. A total of 1193 sentences was grouped into four categories and two coverage areas (doctrinal and non-doctrinal issues). There was no statistical evidence to show that the Catholic press was less objective than the secular press in covering doctrinal issues in AIDS stories. Statistical evidence indicated that the norm of objective reporting remains the same whether o~e is a journalist in the Catholic press or in the secular press. Also, this study did not show a difference between a national Catholic press and a diocesan Catholic press when covering doctrinal issues in AIDS stories.

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