Perceptions of Rural America: Media Coverage

Perceptions of Rural America: Media Coverage

According to a study conducted for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, three out of every four network television news stories about rural America focuses on crime. The results of the study, published in Perceptions of Rural America: Media Coverage (40 pages, PDF), reveal a troubling disparity between print and network coverage of rural issues, with land-use issues receiving the lion's share of the attention in major newspapers and news magazines, while television tends to ignores such issues entirely. In addition, news reports in print and on television rarely link rural life to agriculture, and the few portrayals of rural charm are routinely balanced by negative depictions of an economically challenged and socially marginal environment. The study was based on 337 different items that appeared in the pages of major print outlets or on the news broadcasts of the major networks in the first half of 2002.