Power of the press: a content analysis of congressional press coverage in national, regional, and local newspapers.

Kendra Ammann, Colby College

Document Type Honors Thesis (Open Access)


We live in an age of information. Learning is central to the lives of everyone. We read books and newspapers, watch television, listen to the radio, and surf the internet to find out all sorts of things we never knew before. The media playa central role in the education of our nation because they are so readily available and easy to understand. Whether through a thirty minute nightly news program, a morning radio talk show, or an article in the daily newspaper, we learn about the activities of our government and about our government officials. We hear about certain things and often never hear about others. How much control do the media yield over what we know? Editors and journalists alike choose what will be the important stories of the day. They obviously cannot write about everything that happens in the nation: therefore they are in positions to decide what they will tell us, and subsequently what we will know. The freedom of the press is a protected right. Congress may not legislate in any way which could inhibit "the public's right to know." The press are free to report just about anything they want to, and ultimately this freedom places them in a very powerful position. As educators of the American people, the media decide what the important issues will be. Citizens become concerned about the issues they see, hear, and read about. They want to see the government respond to their concerns and the media are instrumental in shaping what those concerns will be.