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What’s a Dog Story Worth?

  • Matthew D. Atkinson (a1), Maria Deam (a2) and Joseph E. Uscinski (a3)

Journalists consider the importance of events and the audience’s interest in them when deciding on which events to report. Events most likely to be reported are those that are both important and can capture the audience’s interest. In turn, the public is most likely to become aware of important news when some aspect of the story piques their interest. We suggest an efficacious means of drawing public attention to important news stories: dogs. Examining the national news agenda of 10 regional newspapers relative to that of the New York Times, we evaluated the effect of having a dog in a news event on the likelihood that the event is reported in regional newspapers. The “dog effect” is approximately equivalent to the effect of whether a story warrants front- or back-page national news coverage in the New York Times. Thus, we conclude that dogs are an important factor in news decisions.

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Regina Branton , and Johanna Dunaway . 2009. “Spatial Proximity to the US-Mexico Border and Local News Coverage of Immigration Issues.” Political Research Quarterly.

Timothy E Cook . 2005. Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion. Chicago: University of Chicago.

James T Hamilton . 2004. All the News That’s Fit to Sell: How the Market Transforms Information into News. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Michael Laver , Kenneth Benoit , and John Garry . 2003. “Extracting Policy Positions from Political Texts Using Words as Data.” American Political Science Review 97: 311–31.

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Joseph E Uscinski . 2014. The People’s News: Media, Politics, and the Demands of Capitalism. New York: New York University Press.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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