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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1979. Major: Journalism.


Copyright 1979, the author. Used by permission.


Monday, April 18, 1977, President Jimmy Carter appeared on national television to warn America that a “national catastrophe” loomed unless the country learned to control and decrease its heavy demands for energy.How three newspapers reported the energy issue for three months after the President’s call to man the energy bulwarks is the basis of this paper.

For three weeks before and three months after Carter’s speech, copies of each of the three papers were painstakingly read page by page, and every article on energy which appeared in each paper was clipped and classified.

The papers were studied for three weeks before Carter’s speech so that information might be gathered on the amount and type of energy coverage in the papers before the President’s announcement.Clippings from the three months after the speech provide information on what kind of coverage, and how much, was available to the readers of these three papers.

The three papers studied during this period were the New York Times, the Kansas City Times (and Sunday Star), and the Lincoln Journal (and Sunday Journal-Star).The three were chosen because they represent three circulation sizes.Dailies with circulation smaller than the Lincoln Journal’s often do not have room to provide more than regular local news coverage for their readers.

After energy stories were taken from each of the three newspapers the clippings were measured to determine the column inches involved, and were then classified in one of four categories.The categories were:editorial, cartoon, straight news, feature/consumer news.

The findings of this paper apply only to the three papers observed; the study does not say that the way these three covered the energy issue in the weeks preceding and the three months following Carter’s speech to the nation represents all U.S. newspapers.

Advisor:Jack Botts