Date of Award

Spring 1985

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Griffin, Robert J.

Second Advisor

Scotton, James F.

Third Advisor

Arnold, James W.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of conflict and consensus news in the zone sections of a metropolitan newspaper and in suburban newspapers. Previous research has ascribed the conflict role to metropolitan newspapers and the consensus role to community newspapers. One question was whether zone sections were an extension of the metropolitan paper and therefore also emphasized conflict .news. The study looked at the zone sections of the Milwaukee Journal that circulate in the northeast section of Milwaukee County and the four suburban papers that originate there. Three three-week periods over the course of a year were randomly selected for study. Hypotheses were constructed to test the validity of assumptions that there would be more conflict news in the zone sections than in the suburban papers; that there would be more consensus news in suburban papers than in zone sections; that there would be more conflict news on the front page of the zone sections than on the front page of the suburban papers; that there would be more consensus news on the front page of the suburban papers than on the front page of the zone sections, and that there would be more "knowledge about" information in the zone sections than in the suburban papers. The study found that zone sections could be compared with suburban papers. Furthermore, it found that there was more conflict news in suburban papers than in zone sections, and more consensus news in zone sections than in suburban papers. The study found that conflict news was more prevalant on the front pages of suburban newspapers than on the front pages of zone sections, and that consensus news was more common on the front pages of zone sections than on the front pages of suburban papers. However, the study found that there was a difference in the treatment of conflict news. Zone sections overwhelmingly used the "knowledge about" approach to coverage, offering analysis and interpretation, while suburban papers generally used the "knowledge of" approach, simply giving factual information.

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