Accession Number:

ADA218740

Title:

Specialized Knowledge and the Local Defense Reporter

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis,

Corporate Author:

AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1989-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

114.0

Abstract:

As newspaper reporters become increasingly specialized, they need greater specialized knowledge. This thesis analyzed the relationship between specialized knowledge and the performance of reporters covering the U.S. military. A national telephone survey of defense reporters and military public affairs officers was conducted to determine if reporters specialized knowledge affects their perception of news quality, their rapport with their sources and the diversity of their news gathering routines. Another of the surveys goals was to note whether the complexity of a newspaper specialty affects the reporters perceived need for specialized knowledge. While the first three suppositions were not strongly supported, survey results did challenge preconceived assumptions about the relationship between the press and the military. While past research has indicated strong differences between the press and military mentality, the survey revealed that defense reporters and public affair officers are similar in many respects and that the majority of both perceive that they share cooperative relationships. Where one might expect that a reporter with more specialized knowledge would enjoy a more positive relationship with sources, this study suggests increased knowledge brings increased skepticism. The survey also reinforces that there is no standard defense specialty. The existence of a dedicated defense beat reporter at a particular newspaper may not depend on military presence in the community as much as philosophies of newspaper management. edc

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Defense Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE