2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

A Content Analysis of Headlines from the 2004 Presidential Campaign
Jessica M. Rasmussen
Dr. Karon Speckman, Faculty Mentor

Through the analysis of newspaper articles, researchers have developed detailed conclusions concerning trends of negativity and journalistic interpretation and bias in news coverage. Yet, such studies rest on the assumption that newspaper readers are reading newspaper articles thoroughly. The Poynter Institute for Media Studies’ EYE-TRAC® research determined that readers process only 25 percent of newspaper text, compared with more than half of the headlines. Given the dominance of headlines in the public’s reading habits, this exploratory study examined frames, agenda setting, bias and candidate coverage in headlines during the eight weeks preceding the 2004 presidential election to determine possible trends. Through this content analysis of 870 headlines in three national newspapers, the researcher concluded that headlines highlight non-issue campaign information and frame the campaign as an event in which campaign strategy assumes the role of the most important “issue.”

Keywords: journalism, newspapers, headlines, content analysis, framing, agenda setting, campaigns

Topic(s):Communication

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 49-2
Location: VH 1304
Time: 3:00

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