Television News and Local Awareness: A Retrospective Look.

by William A. Lucas, Karen B. Possner

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Examines the doctrine of local broadcast service, a regulatory policy of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as it relates to public knowledge and understanding of issues in various local communities. The report focuses on a central premise of the FCC's localism policy: the assumption that television news can foster knowledge and awareness about local political issues. Secondary analysis of 2,549 interviews collected in a national survey by the National Opinion Research Center in 1968 indicates significant relationships to support this assumption. Television can contribute to narrowing the gap between the levels of political participation among the privileged and among average and less advantaged citizens. Station specialization and relocation are possible policy directions to strengthen the FCC's localism policy. There is a need for new approaches to studying how the effects of the mass media on local political behavior vary across different types of communities and media markets. 64 pp.

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