THE PETITVILLE STUDY: A TRI-DIMENSIONAL VIEW OF THE FUNCTION OF A WEEKLY NEWSPAPER.
BOSTON UNIV MASS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC COMMUNICATION
Pagination or Media Count:
The Independent of Petitville, Mass., was studied in order to learn how the editor of the weekly newspaper, its readers, and the leaders of the community regard the position of the newspaper with respect to local matters. The editor of the Independent and the school board of Petitville had tried to convince the townspeople in late 1964 to build a new junior high school and to approve an increase in taxes for that purpose. The townspeople defeated the measure in spite of the fact that they would be losing between 70,000 and 75,000 in state aid. The editor is regarded as having no conception of her audience, nor of the power structure in the community, and if writing at too high a level for the readers of such a paper as the Independent. The school board members recognized the partisanship of the editor in the high school case and that this may have damaged the cause. The readers recognized the stand the newspaper took and possibly downgraded her credibility because of her lack of fairness.