Date of this Version
Purpose. It was the purpose of this study to construct a profile of Nebraska Extension Agents related to their awareness, self-perceived confidence levels, attitudes and present practices in selected areas of mass media communications. Method. A questionnaire, developed by the author, was mailed to 100 percent of the Nebraska Extension Agents. The questionnaire used a Likert scale to measure self-perceived confidence levels and educational effectiveness in regard to selected mass media tasks. A five point Likert scale was used to measure how often selected source materials were used in creating media releases. Personal media habits were revealed as well as professional mass media output. Demographic information such as years of experience, age, extension title, and previous mass media training, were also reported. Findings. Ninety-three percent of the agents returned the survey which was determined to be the complete population. Of these agents, 41 percent had no formal mass media communications training and 38 percent had only one media course. Agents listed several areas in which they needed further in-service training. Agents with high confidence levels in writing newspaper articles consistently spent more personal time reading newspapers than those with low confidence levels. No such relationship was fOL1l1d with radio and television. Agents with high confidence levels in producing selected media releases rated similar media methods as having higher educational effectiveness than agents with low confidence levels. Agents with high confidence levels also produced more media releases per month. No relationship was found between the amount of media releases produced per month and the years of experience an agent had. A positive relationship was also found between a high educational effectiveness rating and the amount of media releases produced per month. This study shows that attitudes, confidence levels, and personal media habits can and do affect the output of mass media releases by Nebraska Extension Agents.