Date of Graduation

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Journalism

Advisor

Patsy Watkins

Committee Member

Gerald Jordan

Second Committee Member

Ray McCaffrey

Third Committee Member

K. Jill Rucker

Abstract

The perception of media bias by students with an education in journalism and access to an education in journalism ethics was explored by juxtaposing two political articles covering the results of the 2016 Super Tuesday presidential primaries for both major parties and requesting students at different points in their education careers to rank them on six semantic differential items. Data was also gathered about the students’ knowledge and use of the Center for Ethics in Journalism. The results did not yield any support for previous research asserting that individuals are more inclined to perceive bias in articles with which they disagree, but it did yield some interesting insights to the awareness–or rather lack thereof–of the Center for Ethics in Journalism. Although the hostile media effect was not specifically supported by this study, many other factors may have been in play and unaccounted for including apathy, reading levels, and a too-homogenous sample.

Keywords: Hostile Media Effect, Bias, Perception of Bias, Ethics, Journalism, Media, Political Journalism, Program Awareness

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