An Analysis of Newspaper Usage of 188 News Releases Issued by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Publication Year:
1960

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Repository URL:
https://openprairie.sdstate.edu/etd/2727
Author(s):
Gall, Marshall
Publisher(s):
South Dakota State University
artifact description
The publicity writer or information specialist is charged with informing as many people as possible about the institution for which he works—whether it is a government agency, a university or a commercial enterprise. To do this, he channels his supply of information to as many outlets as possible—radio, television, and as many newspapers as might conceivably have use for the material. This puts the publicity writer at a disadvantage in the matter of knowing his public. He cannot read all the newspapers, listen to all the radio newscasters, nor watch all the television programs that receive his material. Therefore he cannot tell, from day to day, how well his materials is being received nor how successfully he is performing his job. This paper will investigate the receptiveness of one of the publicity writer’s publics—the newspaper. This project has been done at the request of the Information and Education division of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. While the subject matter of the publicity material being studied is somewhat specialized, the non-content, or objective portions of the study may be of interest to publicity writers in other fields of public relations. The foundation of this study is a collection of 188 news releases issued by the Information and Education division, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, from the period Oct. 23, 1957, through Feb. 26, 1958. These releases include all of the releases sent out in weekly packets to the newspapers of the state during the period under study. During the same period, a clipping service maintained by the South Dakota Press association was utilized to see how often, and in what South Dakota papers, the releases appeared. This material will be treated quantitatively in several ways to determine how much effect such objective factors as word length have on usage. A more subjective approach will be used in the chapter devoted to content analysis, where importance of subject matter in the releases will be considered. Another outside factor will be considered in the portion of the study showing advertising influence on release usage. By studying the releases subjectively and objectively, relationships should appear showing how and why some releases were used more frequently than others. It is hoped that this information will prove useful to the field of institutional public relations in general. The initial step in the development of this project was the preparation