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Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Kenneth D. Day

First Committee Member

Qingwen Dong

Second Committee Member

Randall J. Koper

Abstract

Because of expanding news programming and a greater emphasis on interpretative reporting, journalists have an increasing need for experts to interview for articles. One common source for experts is colleges and universities, which are interested in gaining the attention that media references to their faculty bring. Past studies of media use of experts show bias toward high-status sources. An Internet-based service called ProfNet gives university public relations practitioners opportunities to offer experts to journalists who have posted queries related to future stories. University public relations practitioners who use ProfNet were surveyed to examine criteria for success in promoting experts. The results found frequent and rapid responses to journalists' queries correlated positively with success in getting experts used in articles. Institutional size as well as complexity, i.e. the number and type of academic degrees awarded, also correlated positively with use of campus experts, though the size of the correlation was not as great as the correlation between frequency of response and frequency of media placements using ProfNet. Institutional reputation, as operationalized by magazine rankings, did not correlate with success. Future study is needed to determine the relationship between the two indicators of media choices of expert sources: effort on the part of public relations offices, and the size and complexity of institutions.

Pages

53

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