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Rhetorical vision analysis of audience perception of two local television news programs

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Rhetorical vision analysis of audience perception of two local television news programs
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Chacra, Tarek Abou
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English
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v, 85 leaves : ; 29 cm

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Television broadcasting of news -- Public opinion -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Public opinion -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Public opinion ( fast )
Television broadcasting of news -- Public opinion ( fast )
Colorado -- Denver ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 80-85).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of Communication
Statement of Responsibility:
by Tarek Abou Chacra.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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22879600 ( OCLC )
ocm22879600
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LD1190.L48 1990m .C42 ( lcc )

Full Text
RHETORICAL VISION ANALYSIS OF AUDIENCE PERCEPTION
OF TWO LOCAL TELEVISION NEWS PROGRAMS
by
Tarek Abou Chacra
B.A., University of Colorado, 1985
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of Communication
1990


1990 by Tarek Abou Chacra
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Communication
degree by
Tarek Abou Chacra
has been approved for the
Department of
Communication
by
siMU-So
Date
Michael Monsour


Abou Chacra, Tarek (M.A., Communication)
Rhetorical Vision Analysis of Audience Perception of Two Local
Television News Programs
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Samuel A. Betty
This study employs Ernest G. Bormann's theory of symbolic
convergence and conducts rhetorical vision analysis of audience
perception of the 10 P.M. news programs on NBC affiliate,
Channel 4, and CBS affiliate, Channel 7, in Denver, Colorado. It was
hypothesized that audience perception of local news programs can
be expressed in the form of rhetorical visions the quality of which
reflects the ratings performance of those programs. A focus group
interview and content analysis of three videotaped broadcasts of
each news program were conducted to generate the information
from which a Q-sort deck was developed. A total of sixty-six
students were randomly divided in two groups and asked to
watch the 10 P.M. news program on either Channel 4 or
Channel 7, but not both, for one week. The students were then
asked to sort a Q-deck composed of 84 statements which address
the experience of watching each news program. The data were
factor analyzed and varimax rotation was employed. Four factors
were extracted for each news program but the study interprets
factors 1 and 2 which explain approximately 36% of the total
variance. Data analysis suggests that program character defined
the essense of the rhetorical vision associated with the popular
news program while professional appearance defined the
rhetorical vision associated with the less popular program.
The form and content of this abstract are approved,
its publication.
Signed
Samuel A. Betty
I recommend


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION.................................... 1
Purpose of the Study.......................... 5
Justification for the Study .................. 5
Scope of the Study............................ 6
Research Questions........................ 7
Literature Review ............................ 8
Audience Motives and Interactions with
Television News Programs ................. 8
Television News Market Differentiation....12
Audience Perception of Television
News Programs.............................20
2. METHOD .........................................31
Rhetorical Vision Analysis: Research Perspective 32
The Development of the Q-Deck ........37
The Study ................................39
3. RESULTS ........................................42
Evaluation................................5 6
4. CONCLUSION .....................................57
Conclusion................................70
Limitations ..............................71
Further Research .........................71
APPENDIX ...............................................73
BIBLIOGRAPHY ...........................................80
v


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
This study attempts to explain the difference in popularity of
two local television news programs in Denver, Colorado, by
employing Ernest G. Bormann's theory of symbolic convergence.
The 10 P.M. news programs on NBC affiliate KCNC Channel 4 and
CBS affiliate KMGH Channel 7 are the focus of this analysis. For
several consecutive years Channel 7s news program titled Night
Beat received lower ratings in comparison with Channel 4's Late
Edition. This study considers the difference in the ratings of these
news programs as a reflection of audience perception and
acceptance.
Past research on the relationship between television news
programs and their audience revolves around three lines of
inquiry; (1) audience interaction with television news programs;
(2) television news quality, market structure, program schedule,
station ownership and network affiliation; and (3) audience
perception of newscasters. The findings generated by these three
research domains address different aspects of the relationship
between television news programs and their audience. However,
these findings are generally focused on a set of specific variables
and do not explain audience perception of news programs as a
whole phenomenon.
This study views audience perception of television news
programs as a perception of a multitude of elements which
together shape audience preference for a particular program.
The study proposes that a news program's market reputation,
community involvement, set design, jingle, slogans, and the
composition of its news team play a decisive role in shaping


audience perception. Thus, in order to understand how audiences
perceive of news programs as collective products, it is essential to
employ a broad analytic approach which incorporates the
personal, communal, professional, presentational, visual, textual,
and aural components of news programs. This study proposes
that Ernest G. Bormann's theory of symbolic convergence is an
appropriate approach to explain television news ratings as a
reflection of audience perception of the collective entity of news
programs.
Ernest G. Bormann outlines the scope of his symbolic
convergence theory in the articles, "Fantasy and Rhetorical Vision:
The Rhetorical Criticism of Social Reality" (1972) and "Symbolic
Convergence Theory: A Communication Formulation" (1985).
Bormann labels symbolic convergence as a general theory which
accounts for broad phenomena of communication and allows the
creation of other special theories. The theory consists of three
parts: first, "the discovery and arrangement of recurring
communicative forms and patterns that indicate the evolution and
presence of a shared group consciousness": second, the description
of the dynamics which contribute to the rise of group
consciousness: third, the outlining "of the factors that explain why
people share the fantasies they do when they do" (Bormann 1985,
129).
Bormann states that his years of research on communication
patterns in small groups coincided with Robert Baless work on
group behaviors. The findings their research efforts yielded,
however, remained limited until Bales's discovery of the "dynamic
process of group fantasizing" (Bormann 1972, 396). The concept
of group fantasizing was later developed by Bormann who defined
fantasy theme as its building block. A fantasy theme is the
fundamental component of symbolic convergence which
represents "the creative and imaginative shared interpretation of
events that fulfills a group psychological need." In group and
2


mass media settings, a fantasy theme represents people's way of
describing events and expressing opinions that occasionally chain
out and develop into broader more structured scripts which
reflect people's "personal way of organizing experience" (Bormann
1985, 130). These scripts contribute to the rise of rhetorical
visions which represent the grouping of "dramas which catch up
large groups of people in a symbolic reality" (Bormann 1972, 398).
The scope of these symbolic realities reflect rhetorical
communities that are often indexed by slogans such as "The New
Deal" and "Black Power" which signify how groups of people
rhetorically represent the world in which they live. When larger
numbers of people in group and mass media settings begin to
identify with these rhetorical representations they in essence
contribute to the creation of a symbolic culture which allows them
"to achieve empathic communication as well as a meeting of the
minds" (Bormann 1985, 133-34).
The process of symbolic convergence occurs "in face-to-face
interacting groups, in speaker-audience transactions, in viewers of
television broadcasts, in listeners to radio programs, and in all the
diverse settings for public and intimate communication in a given
society" (Bormann 1972, 398). With television advertising,
symbolic convergence theory assumes that "Much of what has
commonly been thought of as persuasion can be accounted for on
the basis of group and mass fantasies" (Bormann 1985, 135). An
example on the manifestation of symbolic convergence with
television advertising is the marketing of Pepsi soft drinks
through the slogan, "the Pepsi generation." This slogan
communicates a set of attitudes expressed through the looks of
the people advertising Pepsi products, the way they behave, the
visual environments in which they are portrayed, and the
situations in which they are involved. This slogan indexes a
rhetorical vision and outlines a rhetorical community with which
members of the audience are asked to identify. In substance, the
3


content of this image is a structure of symbols that are
rhetorically communicated through the verbal and visual modes.
According to symbolic convergence theory, the success of Pepsi in
attracting a growing number of the younger population in the
world is attributed to the appeal of the rhetorical community it
invites people to join.
In the case of this study, symbolic convergence theory
applies to the analysis of audience perception of local news
programs according to the following rationale. This study suggests
that the competitive nature of television news necessitates that
local news programs successfully appeal to their audience. The
elements for a successful appeal consist of the attributes of the
on-air personalities, the visual environments news programs
incorporate i.e., sets, graphics, and videography, and the type of
news they broadcast. Those elements contribute to the putting
together of a program image to which the audience responds. To
the audience, this program image, often indexed and reinforced by
slogans such as "The Denver Broncos Station" (Channel 4) and
others highly loaded with notions of superiority and strong
communal ties, comes to represent an expanded identity which
outlines a rhetorical vision with which it is asked to identify.
Much like people who drink Pepsi soft drinks with the desire to
be affiliated with the notion of the Pepsi generation, news
programs appeal to the local audience through their self
constructed rhetorical visions which attempt to recruit larger
segments of that audience. The recruiting of local audiences is
seen by this study to represent a process of symbolic convergence
in which audience members participate.
4


Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to employ Ernest G.
Bormann's theory of symbolic convergence and rhetorical vision
analysis in particular to explain the ratings difference of the 10
P.M. news programs of the NBC affiliate Channel 4 and CBS
affiliate Channel 7 in Denver, Colorado. This study suggests that
the Nielsen ratings reflect the quality of audience perception of
local television news programs. This study investigates whether a
sample audience divided in two groups, asked to watch either
Channel 4 or Channel 7 news, but not both, would generate
different descriptions of those programs. The study employs a
Q-sort deck composed of 84 statements developed from
information gathered through a focus group interview and content
analysis of three consecutive broadcasts of each program under
study. The study argues that the descriptions generated by the
two audience groups reflect different rhetorical visions associated
with the news programs on Channel 4 and Channel 7, which in
turn represent a symbolic convergence toward the essence of
those programs.
Justification for the Study
The development of symbolic convergence theory springs
from research on small group communication. Bormann
acknowledges, however, that symbolic convergence theory and
rhetorical vision analysis have been employed to analyze
communication problems outside group settings. John F. Cragan
and Donald C. Shields (1981) evaluate the research applications of
symbolic convergence theory in their book Applied
Communication Research: A Dramatistic Approach. Cragan and
5


Shields compile a number of research studies employing rhetorical
vision analysis in the areas of rhetorical criticism, small group,
political, and organizational communication, and marketing. In
addition, symbolic convergence theory and rhetorical vision
analysis have been employed to conduct dramatistic analyses of
television news content. Bormann et al. (1984), Hart, Jerome, and
McComb (1984), Nimmo and Combs (1982), and Bantz (1979)
employed rhetorical vision analysis to content analyze network
television news programs from a dramatistic perspective.
Findings generated by those studies and the research tradition
which employs symbolic convergence theory and rhetorical vision
analysis in the areas of television news and marketing do not
address the relationship between audience perception and the
ratings of news programs. This study argues for the need to
explain television news ratings and market competition on the
basis of rhetorical vision analysis by employing the theory of
symbolic convergence. The application of the theory in this case,
brings to focus key Bormannian notions and applies them directly
to television news market competition. This study suggests that
local television news programs communicate rhetorical visions
about themselves and set the parameters of the rhetorical
communities they represent through the slogans they project. The
use of symbolic convergence theory, in this case, represents a
creative, yet necessary expansion on its scope of application.
Scope of the Study
This study attempts to explain the difference in the Nielsen
ratings of the 10 P.M news programs on the NBC and CBS affiliate
stations in Denver, Colorado by conducting. The study conducts
rhetorical vision analysis of the perceptions of a sample audience
of each news program under study. This study explores the
6


explanatory capability of the theory of symbolic convergence
when applied to assess the quality of audience perception of
competitive news programs in general. The study adopts the
methodology designated for rhetorical vision analysis as outlined
by Cragan and Shields (1981), and its subject population consists
entirely of university students. While the findings generated here
outline significant differences in audience perception of each news
program under study, direct market application cannot be made
confidently without the development of a larger sample.
Research Questions
This study asks the following questions:
1. What are the constituents of the rhetorical visions
associated with the 10 P.M news programs on Channel 4
and Channel 7 as held by a sample audience?
2. Is there a relationship between the ratings of those two
local news programs and the rhetorical visions associated
with each of them as held by a sample audience?
7


Literature Review
The literature on television news programs is extensive and
encompasses many research perspectives. Research studies on
television news explore the following dimensions; television news
theory; network and local television news content; the effects of
television news content on audience behavior; audience
interaction with television news; audience perception of television
news; learning from television news; television news market
differentiation, competition, and ratings; television news
management and personnel; television news technology; and
international aspects of television news.
The research problem this study addresses limits the scope
of this review to those studies which deal with audience motives
and interactions with television news, television news market
differentiation, competition, and ratings, and audience perception
of television news programs.
Audience Motives and Interactions
with Television News Programs
Studies on audience motives in watching television news
programs explore the objectives and sought gratifications which
compel an audience to watch the news. Philip Palmgreen,
Lawrence A. Wenner, and J.D. Rayburn (1980) address the
television news-audience relationship and outline five motives for
audience attendance to news programs. In their study "Relations
Between Gratifications Sought and Gratifications Obtained,"
Palmgreen, Wenner, and Rayburn suggest that people watch
television news for the following reasons; general information
seeking which includes surveillance and reality exploration;
decisional utility or specific information seeking useful in decision
making; entertainment or diversion; interpersonal utility as
8


manifest in getting information useful for socialization; and para-
social interaction or the pseudo-real relationship with television
newscasters. Palmgreen, Wenner, and Rayburn attempt to
correlate audience gratifications sought and gratifications obtained
through the experience of watching television news. They
conducted telephone interviews with 327 residents in Lexington,
Kentucky and asked their respondents to rate 15 items reflecting
the five motives they outline for audience attendance to news
programs. Their findings suggest that news programs are
"imperfect providers of news-related gratifications sought by
audience members," and that the audience's degree of dependence
on one news program is related to the strength between
gratifications sought and gratifications obtained. Palmgreen,
Wenner, and Rayburn further suggest that there is a strong
relatedness in obtaining the entertainment and parasocial
interaction gratifications with television news programs and that
interpersonal utility and surveillance are independent motives
which are obtained independently (183-84).
Mark R. Levy (1977) examines what motivates people to
watch television news programs in his study "Experiencing
Television News." His findings, based on responses of 240 adults
to propositions for watching television news, suggest that
audience attendance to news programs falls under five
motivational objectives: cognitive orientation or the attempt to
activate, test, and reinforce personal opinions; diversion or
escapist tendencies; dissatisfaction; surveillance or the desire to be
reassured through monitoring what is happening in the world; and
affective orientation or the search for a calming psychological
state (116).
Alan M. Rubin and Elizabeth M. Perse (1987) address the role
of three types of audience activity; intentionality, selectivity, and
involvement, in shaping audience motives to watch television
news programs. In their study "Audience Activity and TV News
Gratifications," Rubin and Perse suggest that exposure to television
9


news can be either ritualized and is manifest in passtime, habit,
and relaxation motives, or instrumental and is manifest in positive
exposure to specific news content. Rubin and Perse suggest that
audience activity relates strongly to exposure to television news.
Their findings, based on responses of 390 students to a
questionnaire, suggest that passtime motives bring about
ritualized, nonselective television news exposure, and specific
information seeking motives are expressed in instrumental and
selective exposure.
Findings on audience motives in watching television news
programs suggest that news watching is an intentional activity
that can be either purposeful or nonselective. Purposeful news
watching allows the audience to obtain the gratifications of
gaining information for interpersonal and utilitarian uses,
entertainment, and para-social interaction. Nonselective news
watching is noncommittal and reflects passtime motives and
ritualized watching behavior.
Research on audience motives and gratifications in watching
television news programs addresses a specific aspect of the
audience-television news relationship; para-social interaction.
Studies on para-social interaction focus on the perceived
personalized rapport between the audience and the newscasters.
Mark R. Levy (1979), in his study "Watching TV News as
Para-social Interaction," hypothesizes that an increase in para-
social interactions is related to a decrease in the audience's level
of social integration, and that these interactions intensify with
increased television viewing. Levys findings, derived from focus
group interviews and the responses of 240 adults to 42 uses and
gratification items, suggest that a "para-social interaction . often
serves to meet the tension-release and integrative needs of the
viewer" (78). Essentially, Levy suggests that para-social
interactions with television newscasters serve as substitutes for
social integration.


Rick Houlberg (1984) in his study "Local TV News Audience
and the Parasocial Interaction," attempts to generate empirical
evidence to substantiate the existence of para-social interactions
between audience members and television newscasters. Houlberg
conducted telephone interviews with 258 adult residents in
Columbus Ohio and asked them to rate 18 Likert-like items
developed from information gathered through focus group
interviews. The items depict physical, professional, and para-
social aspects of television newscasters. His findings support the
existence of para-social interactions between audience members
and newscasters. Houlberg concludes that "the para-social
interaction items mixed successfully with both professional and
physical newscaster attributes," and notes that gender and age
were not significant factors in the manifestation of para-social
interaction. (428)
Alan M. Rubin, Elizabeth M. Perse and Robert A. Powell
(1985) also address the para-social interaction with television
news viewing in their study "Loneliness, Parasocial Interaction,
and Local TV Viewing." Rubin, Perse, and Powell hypothesize that
para-social interactions occur when audiences' levels of loneliness
and frequency of television viewing are high. They outline three
motives for audience attendance to local television news
programs. They are: search for exciting entertainment: passtime:
and search for information. Their analysis of the responses of 390
students to a questionnaire does not support the relationship
between para-social interaction and loneliness. Rubin Perse, and
Powell suggest that "parasocial interaction is part of the active,
more goal directed pattern of instrumental TV use," and occurs as
a result of audience needs for orientation, information affinity,
and audience members' perception of realism, empathy, physical
attraction, perceived similarity in relation to the news and
newscasters. (175)
Findings on para-social interaction and television
newscasters support the manifestation of such perceptual


experiences but seem to suggest two underlying motives. Levy
suggests that para-social interactions between audience members
and newscasters substitute their needs for social integration and
compensate for their feelings of loneliness. Rubin and Perse;
Rubin, Perse, and Powell; and to an extent Palmgreen, Wenner,
and Rayburn suggest that para-social interactions are intentional
and reflect a goal oriented attitude on the part of the audience.
Television News Market Differentiation
Studies on market competition and differentiation between
television news programs examine four research perspectives;
news quality, market structure, program schedule, and station
ownership and affiliation.
While most of the studies reviewed here fall under the four
research dimensions outlined above, Hans S. Solgaard (1984)
adopts a broader approach to the evaluation of audience
attendance to local television news programs in his study "A
Model of Audience Choice of Local TV News Program." Solgaard
maintains that the influential factors which determine the
availability and size of the television news audience are; the
personality and professional attributes of newscasters, program
content, program schedule, the general image of the TV station,
the quality of signal reception, and the news of the day. Solgaard
analyzed data generated from a home interview survey conducted
by a network station in a major market. He selected the
responses of 220 people who watched the early evening newscast.
His findings, which are suggestive and general in nature, show
that all variables mentioned are significant except for the quality
of reception variable.
Research studies on news quality focus on the relationship
between news content and audience attendance to news
programs. Tim K. Wulfemeyer (1982) in his study "Developing


and Testing Method for Assessing Local TV Newscasts," examines
the relationship between news quality and market performance
with three San Diego network affiliate television news programs.
Wulfemeyer developed the CIEBWUS assessment method which
stands for Commercials, Issues, Entertainment, Banter, Weather,
Unexpected events, and Sports. He analyzed viewing videotaped
broadcasts of each news program under study. His findings
suggest that the top rated newscast had more Issue stories,
moderate Entertainment stories, a heavy dose of Banter, and
almost no Unexpected events. The other newscasts had
significantly more Unexpected events and fewer Issue news
stories, and less Banter.
In another study, "The Interests and Preferences of Audience
for Local Television News," Wulfemeyer (1983) conducted 400
telephone interviews at random and asked respondents to rank
their preference for television news content according to the
CIEBWUS categories. His findings suggest that respondents were
most interested in news stories on the economy and how to be a
wiser consumer.
Churchill Roberts and Sandra H. Dickson (1984) address the
quality of news programs in their study "Assessing Quality in
Local TV News." Roberts and Dickson assess the quality of three
network affiliate news programs in Mobile Alabama. They
examine four dimensions of quality in news programs; the kind of
stories local news programs broadcast; the appeal and credibility
of newscasters; the accuracy in news reporting; and whether
station news selection coincides with audience preference.
Roberts and Dickson employed an expanded version of
Wulfemeyer's CIEBWUS method which includes questions on
anchors voice and speech, professional attributes, personal
appeal, and appearance. Their findings, based on the responses of
200 residents, suggest that no positive relationship exists between
audience preference for the CIEBWUS categories and the air-time
news programs allocate for any of these categories. In regards to


anchor traits, their findings suggest that only attraction represents
a factor of significance in audience perception of news anchors.
Findings on the role of news quality in determining audience
attendance are not uniform. Wulfemeyer suggests that audience
preference and market performance for the top rated news
program are related while Roberts et al. suggest that no
relationship exists.
Research studies on the effects of market structure on
competition between television news programs address questions
relating to market composition, cable presence, and air-time
pricing. Robert H. Prisuta (1979) focuses on market competition
for local television news in his study "Local Television News as an
Oligopolistic Industry: A Pilot Study." Prisuta suggests that local
television news as an industry is oligopolistic since the number of
its competitors is limited and stable. Prisuta also suggests that
"market share instability is considered to be an important
measure of competition" (62). Prisuta obtained rating data
generated by the American Research Bureau for 13 small,
medium, and large television markets, and focused his analysis on
the late evening 10 P.M news programs. His findings suggest that
little changes in market ranking orders are evident, which
"indicates a stable news audience, with relatively slight shifts in
audience loyalty to a particular news operation." (63) Prisuta's
findings also indicate that "no significant relationship between
degree of competition and total audience size was found . thus,
it cannot be said that a competitive environment either attracts or
maintains higher audience levels" (66).
Barry R. Litman (1980) addresses the issue of news
programs' market performance in his study "Market Share
Instability in Local Television News." Litman analyzed data
provided by Arbitron on 60 major U.S television markets and
hypothesizes that stability in market shares for news programs is
related to; the number of significant competitors; the degree of
product heterogeneity; the degree of similarity of market shares


and cost structures; the response functions of firms to dynamic
changes in market conditions. Litman suggests that "local stations
are not true masters of their own destiny" (512). His findings
suggest that market share for news programs was strongly related
to the number of competitors, and that programs preceding the
news create a strong audience flow effect.
James G. Webster (1984) examines increased cable market
presence in his study "Cable Television's Impact on Audience for
Local News." Specifically, Webster focuses on the difference in
watching local news programs between basic-cable and pay-cable
subscribers and audiences who only receive conventional signals.
Webster analyzed data provided by Arbitron on 12 U.S. markets.
His analysis suggests that "substantial numbers of cable
subscribers have forsaken local newscasts in favor of other kinds
of programming" which indicates that cable "diverts audiences
from local news" (421-22).
Lucy L. Henke, Thomas R. Donohue, Christopher Cook, and
Diane Cheung (1984) examine the relationship between cable
market penetration and audience attendance to the news in their
study "The Impact of Cable on Traditional TV News Viewing."
Henke et al. question whether cable will result in less television
news viewing, whether it will have the same effect on network
and local news programs, whether it will have the same effect on
audience attendance to all local stations in a given market, and
whether cable novelty will elapse in time. Henke et al. conducted
a random telephone survey with 676 respondents in Lexington,
Kentucky. Their main concern is to investigate television news
watching habits among cable subscribers, who access CNN, and
non-subscribers. Their findings suggest that the availability of
CNN decreased news attendance to network news only while local
news programs were not affected. Also the ABC affiliate was most
negatively affected in comparison with the other affiliates, and
CNN viewing was higher among subscribers who had cable for
more than six months.


Michael 0. Wirth and James A. Wollert (1984) examine the
effects of market competition on local news business in their
study "The Effects of Market Structure on Local Television News
Pricing." Wirth and Wollert's analysis reveals the following
findings: the type of station ownership has no direct effect on the
prices of television news air-time. The penetration of cable
negatively affected the pricing on television air-time, and markets
dominated primarily by network television stations were the most
expensive.
Findings on the role of market structure in determining
audience attendance to local television news programs seem to
suggest two different things. While Prisuta finds that market
structure has little effect on competition, Litman suggests that the
number of competitors in a market, and the program schedule
have a significant impact on audience attendance to television
news programs. In regards to the effects of cable penetration on
market share for television news, studies seem to uniformly
suggest that the presence of cable negatively affects audience
attendance to news programs, especially network news.
Research studies on the role of program schedule in affecting
audience attendance to television news programs explore the
influence of lead-in shows and program's broadcast time on
audience size and availability. Walter Gantz and Ali Reza Zohoori
(1982) examine the role of program broadcast time in
determining audience attendance in their study "The Impact of
Television Schedule Changes on Audience Viewing Behaviors."
Gantz and Zohoori conducted 161 telephone interviews and
assessed respondents reactions to schedule changes in news
broadcasts. Their results show that people have disposable time
during which news watching is indiscriminate, and non-disposable
time filled with personal, family, and social activities. They
suggest that program content and broadcast time slot play an
important role in determining audience exposure to television
news programs.


Marilyn Lawrence Boemer (1987) addresses the issue of
lead-in shows and their effects on the ratings of news programs in
her study "Correlating Lead-in Show Ratings with Local Television
News Ratings." Boemer analyzed the data generated by the
Arbitron ratings over the period of two years for the three
network affiliates in Dallas-Fort Worth. Her findings suggest that
the 10 P.M. news programs for the three stations retained, for the
most part, 91% of the lead-in show ratings. Her findings also
reveal that in the case of all three stations, there was a loss in
audience attendance for the news but the attendance for the news
programs reflected closely the attendance for the lead-in shows.
James G. Webster and Gregory D. Newton (1988) also address
the question of program broadcast time and audience attendance
in their study "Structural Determinants of the Television News
Audience." Webster and Newton suggest that studies on audience
attendance to television programs represent two research
perspectives. The first perspective revolves around the concept of
audience selective exposure which assumes that audiences choose
to watch a certain type of programs and in doing so they justify
their "cognitive and affective conditions" (382). The second
perspective focuses on the effects of program schedules on the
definition of the size and composition of television audiences.
Webster and Newton suggest that audience availability, audience
size, the number of channels available in a market, and program
schedules are important factors in determining audience
attendance. They analyzed data generated by the Nielsen ratings
for the early evening news programs in 40 television markets
representing different sizes. Their findings suggest that "network
program audiences are more dependent on the success or failure
of local news than the reverse" (387).
Findings on the role of program schedule in determining
audience attendance to local news programs also suggest different
reasons for such a phenomenon. Gantz and Zohoori suggest that
audience attendance to news programs is dependent on whether


the audience can commit to the designated time slot for the news.
Boemer on the other hand, suggests that audience attendance to
local news programs is a result of a transfer from the lead-in
show. Webster and Newton seem to suggest that audience
attendance to local television news is independent from other
programs since local news programs act as anchors for audience
attendance to other network programs.
Research studies on television news market performance
address the role of station ownership and network affiliation in
determining audience attendance. John C. Busterna (1980)
examines the role of station ownership in shaping the competitive
environment for local television news programs in his study
"Ownership, CATV and Expenditures for Local Television News."
Busterna hypothesizes that an increase of group ownership of
television stations leads to a decrease in news quality; stations co-
owned with daily newspapers provide lower quality news; and
increased cable presence leads to a decline in news quality. His
findings are based on 249 responses by station news directors and
data collected from Television Factbook and Spot Television Rates
and Data. His results show that ownership type has no impact on
news quality which is defined through expenditure, but cable
presence does.
In his study "Television Station Ownership Effects on
Programming and Idea Diversity: Baseline Data," John C. Busterna
(1988) readdresses the relationship of ownership and news
content. Busterna hypothesizes that common ownership of
television stations and newspapers leads to a narrow diversity in
significant news, and more limited range of views. His findings
are based on data gathered through responses to general
questions related to the news via a cluster sampling of 2000
adults from 78 Michigan counties. His results show that
crossownership is positively, yet insignificantly, related to the
diversity of issue oriented news, and negatively, yet
insignificantly, related to the range of ideas broadcast.


Allen M. Parkman (1982) addresses the question of market
performance and local news programs in his study "Effects of
Television Station Ownership on Local News Ratings." Parkman
examines the Nielsen ratings for the 5:00-7:00 and 9:30-11:30
time slots in the top 100 U.S markets for the years 1965 and
1975. The results of his data analysis suggest that "three classes
of owners of television stations which the FCC has attempted to
restrict have tended to produce very popular TV news programs"
(295). These classes are local newspapers, GROUP, and AM radio
ownership. His analysis shows that from 1965 to 1975 GROUP
ownership, which reflect stations that are at least 25% "owned by
an individual or corporation that owns at least 50% of some other
station," moved to first place while the influence of newspapers
and AM radio stations declined (291).
Jacob J. Wakshlag, Donald E. Agostino, Herbert A. Terry, Paul
Driscoll, and Bruce Ramsey (1983) focus on the role of network
affiliation in determining ratings for local stations in their case
study "Television News Viewing and Network Affiliation Changes."
Wakshlag et al. focus on the question of audience flow and
channel loyalty when two television stations switched their
network affiliation in Indianapolis. Their analysis shows that the
affiliation switch did not change the ratings for any of the
programs. They suggest that viewers for local news programs are
"more loyal to the station's local newscast . than to a network's
national newscast" and conclude that "channel loyalty accounts for
viewing patterns quite well," and that "network loyalty is not a
viable explanation for viewing patterns" (64-67).
Findings on the role of station ownership generally suggest
that the type of ownership has little impact on market
performance for news programs. Parkman, however, suggests
that group ownership positively affects market performance for
stations. In regards to network affiliation, studies seem to suggest
that local news programs are more important to local ratings than
network programs or network affiliation.


Audience Perception of
Television News Programs
Studies on audience perception of network and local
television news programs focus primarily on audience perception
of newscasters. Those studies generally address two perceptual
variables associated with television newscasters; appeal and
credibility. Each of these variables is studied in connection with
six factors; gender, race, vocal quality, non-verbal cues,
newscasters' source affiliation and camera representation.
This section addresses research on audience perception of
general traits associated with newscaster appeal. Mervin D. Lynch
and Leonard H. Sassenrath (1965-66) examine newscaster appeal
in their study "Dimensions of Personality Association of Television
Network Newscasters." Lynch and Sassenrath's main purpose is to
outline the personality traits that "are being successfully
conveyed by newscasters such as Huntley, Brinkley, Cronkite, and
Reasoner" (33). Lynch and Sassenrath factor analyze data
gathered from 30 respondents to 43 selected semantic differential
scales. They generate nine factors, five common and four unique.
The common factors are: presentation, appearance, humanism,
force, and libertarianism. The unique factors are: deliberation,
courtesy, excitement, and complexity (41).
William Cathcart (1969-70) addresses the question of
audience assessment of newscasters in his study "Viewer Needs
and Desires in Television Newscasters." Cathcart asks the
following question: "What qualities or characteristics do viewers
find most and least desirable in television newscasters, and by
what method might these method(s) be determined" (57).
Cathcart suggests that "there is something that attracts [people] to
the newscaster himself," and that "ratings may partially answer
the viewer satisfaction question but can give little indication as to
why the pro and con feelings exist" between the audience and the
newscasters (57-61). Cathcart developed 48 statements from
20


information gathered through focus group interviews. The
statements are descriptive of different personal and professional
characteristics of newscasters. He asked 38 residents from
Columbus, Ohio to sort the 48 statements as least desirable,
uncertain, and most desirable. His findings suggest that the
category of most desirable consisted of: knowledgeable with
experience, more than a reader, speaks with conviction, unbiased,
honest and trustworthy, factual, skillful in making news easy to
understand, informative not entertaining, smooth and
sophisticated, and makes no grammatical mistakes. The least
desirable category consisted of: questionable accuracy, reader,
sensationalist, makes no eye contact, partial, not involved,
irritating voice, makes grammatical mistakes, distracting physical
habits, and unenthusiastic.
Keith P. Sanders and Michael Pritchett (1971) focus on the
looks of newscasters in their study "Some Influences of
Appearance on Television Newscaster Appeal." Sanders and
Pritchett's main purpose is to explain "why one television
newscaster is more appealing or more watchable than another"
(293). They suggest that "the more appealing a newscaster's
image, the larger his audience is likely to be," and "if a
newscasters image is positive, it is more likely that what he has
to say will be believed" (294). They also suggest that much of a
newscaster's image is perceived through a non-verbal language,
which consists of clothes, manner of presentation among other
characteristics. Sanders and Pritchett mailed questionnaires to
200 city residents and asked them to describe their ideal
newscaster on five point Likert-like scales. Their results suggest
that the ideal newscaster is "31-55 years old, blond or brunette, of
medium height and build." This newscaster wears a dark suit
with a white shirt and striped or solid tie, and has no moustache
and does not wear a bow tie (298).
Herschel Shosteck (1973-74) also focuses on audience
perception of television news personalities in his study "Factors


Influencing Appeal of TV News Personalities." Shosteck attempts
to uncover the factors which determine audience perception of
television newscasters by conducting analysis of previously
analyzed data collected from fifteen affiliate television stations in
five major television markets. Shosteck reanalyzed surveys
completed by stations themselves and interviewed a select
number of viewers in their homes. Interviewees were shown
photographs of news personalities and were asked to name the
news people and then describe them. The responses were
grouped under four categories: Appearance (looks), Personal
Appeal (nice personality), Voice and Speech (sounding nice or
bad), and Professional Attributes (analytical ability, awareness
etc.). Shosteck outlines his findings in the following six
observations: There is a clear relationship between the recognition
of television newscasters and their ratings: The appeal of
television newscasters may not be the same to different segments
of the audience: Being good is not enough, a newscaster has to
either be good looking, or very bright, etc.: A newscaster's voice
quality and manner of speech are crucial: A newscaster's
professional characteristics are not as important as his voice and
speech: A newscaster's personal appeal characteristics appear to
carry the least important influence on viewer appeal.
James C. McCroskey and Thomas A. Jensen (1975) focus on
the personality dimensions of news sources in their study "Image
of Mass Media News Sources." Their analysis attempts to define
the personality dimensions of news sources in general. McCroskey
and Jensen gathered responses from 1460 college students and
other city residents to a 46 semantic differential scale. The
results of their factor analysis generated four factors: Competence,
Extroversion, Composure, and Character-Sociability (173).
Findings on newscaster appeal outline five general
characteristics in determining audience perception of the
favorable traits of a television newscaster. They are: competence,
22


character sociability, good looks, good voice and manner of speech,
and conservative attire.
This section will address research on audience perception of
general traits associated with newscaster credibility. David
Markham (1968) focuses on newscaster credibility in his
exploratory study "The Dimensions of Source Credibility of
Television Newscasters." Markham analyzed data supplied by
previous semantic differential research and developed fifty five
adjective pairs relating to credibility. In his attempt to test
audience perception of television newscasters, Markham acquired
three news tapes from three newscasters who worked in three
different markets. The newscasters were not known to the 598
students who participated in his research. The responses of the
students were factor analyzed and ten factors were extracted
which explained 61.98% of the total variance. Markham reported
the following eight factors which represent audience perception of
newscaster credibility; reliable-logical, dynamism,
trustworthiness, morality, bodily skill, data evaluation, speed, and
extroversion.
Michael W. Singletary (1976) addresses the topic of
credibility with news sources in his study "Components of
Credibility of a Favorable News Source." Singletary asked 90
students to generate terms and statements which express their
definition of the imagined credible newscaster. The information
he gathered was later sorted by 181 students and factor analysis
was employed. Singletary's data generated 41 factors but he
reported only 6. His findings suggest that the factors which
primarily define the ideal newscaster are: knowledgeability,
attraction, trustworthiness, articulation, hostility, and stability.
Findings on audience perception of newscaster credibility
outline four general perceptual characteristics; trustworthiness,
morality, articulation, and extroversion.
Newscaster appeal and credibility have been examined in
connection with newscaster gender, race, gender and race, gender
23


and vocal quality, non-verbal cues, source affiliation, and camera
representation. Vernon A. Stone (1973-74) focuses on audience
perception of news women in her study "Attitudes Toward
Television News Women." Stone suggests that while news
directors believed that up to 80% of the populace preferred male
newscasters, the study shows that more than half the sample
surveyed had no preference either way.
Susan Whittaker and Ron Whittaker (1976) examine the role
of newscaster gender in their study "Relative Effectiveness of
Male and Female Newscasters." They report that 174 respondents
generated no statistically significant difference in the perceived
acceptance, believability, or effectiveness between two
professional male newscasters and two professional female
newscasters.
Dennis A. Harp, Shelley S. Harp and Shirley M. Stretch (1985)
examine the relationship between attire and audience perception
of newswomen's credibility in their study "Apparel Impact on
Viewer Responses to Television News Anchorwomen." Harp, Harp,
and Stretch hypothesize that audience retention of the news and
perception of newscaster credibility depend on the design apparel
worn by newscasters. They analyzed data generated by 300
respondents, 177 women and 133 men, to a questionnaire
completed by subjects following exposure to randomized 60
second news presentations in which women anchors are dressed
according to three apparel categories; conservative suit jacket;
trendy, informal yet dressy; and casual. Harp, Harp, and Stretch
test nine apparel combinations with male and female newscasters
presented in conservative, trendy and casual looks. Their results
show that news retention did not vary with the change of apparel,
however, newswomen dressed conservatively were perceived as
more credible.
Elizabeth Johnson (1984) in her study "Credibility of Black
and White Newscasters to a Black Audience" focuses on the role of
race in influencing audience perception of newscaster credibility.
24


Her findings suggest that only 66% of the black respondents
believed that black reporters are more credible than white
reporters. She suggests that black people view black reporters as
puppets in a white dominated industry.
Robert E. Balon, Joseph C. Philport, and Charles F. Beadle
(1978) address the gender and race dimensions as influential
factors in affecting audience perception of newscasters in their
study "How Sex and Race Affect Perceptions of Newscasters."
Balon, Philport, and Beadle hypothesize that sex and race
significantly influence newscaster credibility, that sex will not
affect audience perception of an isolated agent, and that black
newscasters will be viewed as less reliable and less qualified.
Balon, Philport, and Beadle utilized McCroskey's 16 variables for
newscaster credibility. They divided 200 students 88% of whom
were white, 12% non-white into four groups. All groups watched
a 15 minute news program however, group 1 watched a white
female newscaster, group 2 watched a black female newscaster,
group 3 watched a white male newscaster, and group 4 watched a
black male newscaster. Their findings suggest that "the black
male was judged as being less qualified, more introverted, less
cheerful, and more sympathetic than other newscasters." Balon,
Philport, and Beadle conclude that "it has been tentatively
demonstrated that sex and race can interact to significantly alter
viewer perceptions" (163-64).
Kevin L. Hutchinson (1982) focuses on the impact of gender
and vocal quality on newscaster perception in his study "The
Effects of Newscaster Gender and Vocal Quality on Perceptions of
Homophily and Interpersonal Attraction." Hutchinson tests two
dependent measures which influence important selective
exposure to newscasters, and attempts to clarify the concept of
the ideal newscaster. Hutchinson videotaped six news
presentations delivered by one female and one male newscasters.
Each newscaster delivered three presentations of the same script.
The first presentation was delivered with a normal voice, the
25


second with a nasal voice, the third with a breathy-tense voice.
Hutchinson's findings, derived from the responses of 176 students,
suggest that viewers' preference for male newscasters is only
partially supported. Hutchinson suggests that the findings show
that "viewers would not be predisposed to expose themselves
selectively more to a male or female newscaster." He adds that
"the findings generally imply that a newscaster's gender, alone,
would not be a significant determinant of effective
communication" and that vocal quality is not supported
statistically as significant in affecting audience perception of
newscasters (465-66).
Audience perception of newscasters' appeal and credibility
are examined in connection with the non-verbal cues newscasters
project. James W. Tankard, J. Sean McCleneghan, Vijan Ganju, Eui
Bun Lee, Cheryl Olkes, and Diane Du Bose (1977) address the
effects of newscasters' nonverbal cues on audience perception of
the news in their study "Nonverbal Cues and Television News."
Tankard et al. suggest that newscasters' eyebrow cues and smiles
at the end of news stories were seen to indicate bias.
Howard S. Friedman, Timothy I. Mertz and Robin Di Matto
(1980) focus on the perceived bias in newscasters facial
expression in their study "Perceived Bias in the Facial Expressions
of Television News Broadcasters." Friedman, Mertz, and Di Matto
study the facial expression of Cronkite, Chancellor, Brinkley,
Walters, and Reasoner. They report perceptions of facial
expressions but suggest that these expressions could not reflect
true feelings or attitudes because of the skills of the newscasters
observed.
J. Sean McCleneghan (1985) readdresses the same questions
posed by Tankard et al. in his study "Nonverbal Cues and
Television News Revisited: 1984." On the basis of his earlier
findings, McCleneghan hypothesized that a newscaster will be
judged as biased when he raises his eyebrows, but not when he
smiles. His findings show that a newscaster using eyebrow cues
26


was seen as unfair, dishonest, bias, insincere, unbelievable, and
unethical. In comparison, smile cues had no negative effects.
Audience perception of newscaster credibility is examined in
connection with news source affiliation. Leslie W. Sargent (1965)
addresses the issue of news source credibility as related to news
source image in her study "Communicator Image and News
Reception." Sargents study focuses on news sources in general.
Sargent asked 340 students to rate four news stories attributed to
eight different news sources on an 11 semantic differential scale.
The stories were rotated so that each was assigned to one of these
sources. The news sources were labelled personal as in NBC's
Huntlev-Brinklev Report, and impersonal as in Time. Her findings
suggest that there are "essential differences in the way personal
news sources are received as compared with impersonal sources"
(40). Sargent's findings show "no significant sex-related
difference in attitudes toward personalization" among the
respondents and that personal sources rate higher on the ethical
factor which includes accuracy, sincerity, responsibility, and
impartiality (42).
Audience perception of newscaster appeal and credibility is
examined in connection with camera angles. Lee M. Mandell and
Donald L. Shaw (1973) study the effects of camera angles on
newscasters' activity in their study "Judging People in the News
Unconsciously: Effect of Camera Angle and Bodily Activity."
Mandell and Shaw question the judgments audience members
pass on newscasters as a result of the visual representation of the
camera angles. They asked 143 students to respond to a
questionnaire after viewing newscasts taped with vertical camera
angle manipulations; high, normal, and low. Their findings suggest
that slight camera manipulations are subconsciously perceived by
the audience and affect audience perception of newscaster's
activity and potency.
Robert K. Tiemens (1970) also addresses the effect of camera
angle on newscaster's credibility in his study "Some Relationships
27


of Camera Angle to Communicator Credibility." His findings show
"minimal support to the principle that camera angle influences the
perceived credibility of the communicator" (Tiemens 1970, 488).
Thomas McCain, Joseph Chilberg and Jacob Wakshlag (1977)
address the role of the camera in affecting newscaster appeal and
credibility in their study "The Effects of Camera Angle on Source
Credibility and Attraction." McCain, Chilberg, and Wakshlag
experiment with eye level, high, and low vertical camera angles.
Their findings suggest that newscasters shown through high angle
shots are perceived to project sociability, competence and
composure.
Findings on the role of newscaster gender in influencing
audience perception of appeal and credibility suggest that
generally people do not discriminate in their preference for
newscasters on the basis of gender alone. However,
discrimination on the basis of race does occur, black male
reporters were rated less favorably. Findings on the nonverbal
cues and newscasters suggest that eyebrow cues more than smiles
project impressions of bias and lack of credibility on the part of
newscasters. Findings on source affiliation suggest that personal
versus impersonal news sources project credibility. Findings on
camera angles which portrays newscasters generally suggest that
camera angle manipulations are perceived by people and that
high angle shots communicate positive traits about newscasters.
This was not confirmed by Tiemens.
Commentary. This literature review evaluates research on
audience interaction with television news, television news market
differentiation, and audience perception of news programs.
Research studies on audience interaction with television news
programs examine audience motives and interaction, and audience
search for means of gratification through exposure to television
news. The general findings generated by those studies suggest
that exposure to television news is an intentional activity and its
purposes are to obtain psychological and informational
28


gratifications. Those findings also suggest that para-social
interactions between the audience and newscasters exist and
reflect the need of audience members to compensate for their
loneliness or to obtain specific news gratifications. The findings of
those studies address primarily the direct personal gratifications
people obtain from watching the news but do not address
audience perception of news programs' identity as a reason for
audience attendance.
Research studies on the relationship between market
differentiation and audience attendance to news programs
evaluate the effects of news quality, market structure, program
schedule, station ownership and network affiliation on audience
attendance to news programs. The findings of those studies
highlight the importance of local news, local channel loyalty, the
significance of program schedule, and the negative impact of cable
presence on local news programs. Those findings address specific
market aspects of television news operation but do not address
audience perception of news programs as a reason for attendance.
Studies on audience perception of television news programs
focus primarily on the perception of newscasters. The appeal and
credibility of newscasters as affected by their voice and manner
of speech, gender, race, and camera looks, are the topics those
studies address. The general findings of those studies suggest that
newscaster appeal and credibility depend on conservative looks,
trustworthiness, composure, and good communication skills.
Those findings outline general desirable characteristics of the
ideal newscaster but do not take into account other elements of
perception that are communicated by a news program.
This study argues that while newscasters are fundamental
components of news programs, elements such as the news team,
set, jingle, text, and visuals, the station's promotions, market
reputation and community involvement, play a decisive role in
shaping audience perception of the whole identity of a news
program. This audience perception can be defined as a rhetorical
29


vision viewers form about the news programs they prefer.
Research on newscaster characteristics alone cannot explain
audience preference for particular news programs within a
market setting, nor can they suggest broader interpretations of
audience perception of local television news programs.
The majority of the studies evaluated in this review
fundamentally deal with isolated components of the broader
relationship between television news programs and their
audience. The generally narrow scope of analysis those studies
employ renders the explanatory capability of their results
somewhat limited. This study suggests that audience perception
of television news programs combines elements of news quality,
audience motives in watching the news, audience sought
gratifications through news exposure, para-social interaction, and
audience perception of newscasters and other components of the
news environment. In essence, the question of audience
perception of television news programs is seen by this study as a
question of symbolic convergence manifest through the rhetorical
visions audiences form about local news programs.
30


CHAPTER 2
METHOD
This study employs Ernest G. Bormann's theory of symbolic
convergence to explain the difference in the ratings of the 10 P.M.
news programs on Channel 4 and Channel 7 in Denver, Colorado.
This study generates the data by employing Q-technique and
tabulates the data utilizing factor analysis.
This study asks the following questions:
1. What are the constituents of the rhetorical visions
associated with the 10 P.M. news programs on Channel 4
and Channel 7 as held by a sample audience?
2. Is there a relationship between the ratings of those two
local news programs and the rhetorical visions associated
with each of them as held by a sample audience?
The researcher contacted Brook Willardsen from Petry
Television Inc., a Denver television station's representative
company, and asked for current ratings for the 10 P.M. news
programs on Channel 4 and Channel 7. Willardsen said that over
the past ten years Night Beat, the 10 P.M. news program on CBS
affiliate Channel 7, has been trailing in the ratings in comparison
with Late Edition, the 10 P.M. news program on NBC affiliate
Channel 4. Currently, Willardsen added, Night Beat has an
average rating of 5 which reflects 5% of the viewing population,
while Late Edition has a rating of 13 or 13% of the viewing
population. In addition, the researcher conducted a telephone
interview with Paul Talmey, president of Talmey Research and
Predictions, who stated that Night Beat, has been ineffective in the
ratings race. When asked to explain why, his comment was "they
are in Siberia," suggesting that the program is out of touch with its


audience. The researcher also interviewed Dusty Saunders, a local
media specialist from the Rocky Mountain News who expressed
that Channel 7's news program is the least popular among the
three network affiliates in Denver.
On the basis of this information, this study accepts that, for
the past several years, Channel 7's Night Beat consistently has
acquired lower ratings than Channel 4's Late Edition and is
therefore less popular.
The study adopts Cragan and Shields' research procedures in
their evaluation of Bormann's theory of Symbolic Convergence.
The study gathers data from a focus group interview and video
tape analysis of three consecutive broadcasts of each news
program under study. It employs Q-technique to generate the
type of thematic responses necessary for rhetorical vision analysis
and factor analysis to tabulate the data generated by the Q-Sort
deck.
Rhetorical Vision Analysis: Research Perspective
This section addresses the theoretical application of focus
group interviews, Q-technique, and factor analysis. The
application of this methodology in the case of this study will be
addressed later.
John F. Cragan and Donald C. Shields (1981) in their book
Applied Communication Research: A Dramatistic Approach, outline
three key steps to conducting rhetorical vision analysis; (1) a focus
group interview; (2) Q-technique; (3) factor analysis.
Cragan and Shields explain that
focus group interviews are an exploratory research tool most
useful in generating insight into the way people perceive a
product, or perceive a company. They get at attitudes in the
form of capturing dramas or visions held by the respondents


about the product or company in question. The data elicited
from the focus group interviews. . .can be confirmed and
validated by content analysis of the fantasy themes and
concurrent validations across groupings. Constitutive
meanings of the dramas can be checked empirically by the
administration of Q-sorts containing dramatic depictions of
the relevant fantasy themes. Respondent sorting behavior
can then be factor analyzed by the use of Q-type factor
analysis to provide Q-arrays of the descending importance of
the content themes (Cragan and Shields 1981, 319).
Q-technique is a fundamental step to conducting rhetorical
vision analysis. As a method for data generation, Q-technique
is a forced-choice scaling procedure for ordering items upon
a continuum in response to a given research question. The
purpose of Q-technique is to gather respondents reactions to
a number of stimuli in interaction. The stimuli may be
words, statements, pictures, phrases, themes, ad copy,
scenarios, etc. As such, the items in the Q-deck are a
representative sample of the universe of ideas on a given
subject. Discriminant analysis can then be used to identify
those observable attributes which differentiate people in one
vision from those in another (Cragan and Shields 1981, 353).
Central to Q-technique, is the Q-sort deck. As a research
instrument, the deck allows "the researcher to capture the
rhetorical dramas in which people participate. Methodologically,
Cragan and Shields explain that
The deck is administered. The data retrieved and coded and
analyzed via factor analysis. The factor analysis groups
people who reacted to the messages in the Q-deck in a
similar way. Then, depending on the nature of the research
problem, output may be analyzed either to find the dramas
or fantasy themes to which people most resonate or to
segment and differentiate people based upon their
participation in different rhetorical dramas (Cragan and
Shields 1981, 9).


Frederick Williams (1986) explains factor analysis as follows:
"Factor analytic procedure takes the variance defined by the
intercorrelations among a set of measures and attempts to allocate
it in terms of fewer underlying hypothetical variables. These
variables are called factors" (166).
Philip Emmert and William Brooks (1970) elaborate on the
use of factor analysis by saying:
It is often to the experimenter's advantage, especially in
exploratory studies, to group subjects on the basis of their
Q-sorts and then to analyze the independent sources of
information in order to determine the correlations of group
membership. Factor analysis enables one to reduce the
number of variables to those few which appear to be most
responsible or most active in the process he is studying
(174).
Now that each major step in conducting a rhetorical vision
analysis has been discussed, it is appropriate to go back and look
at each step more closely. In the case of this study, a focus group
interview was conducted to help develop an understanding of how
certain members of a local audience perceive local news programs.
The interview was not highly structured since its primary
function was to explore the range of ideas associated with local
television news.
Ten students from an introductory communication course
were randomly chosen to participate in a focus group interview.
The students were divided in two groups with five members in
each. One group was assigned to watch Channel 4's 10 P.M. news
program, the other group Channel 7s. Both groups were asked to
watch their assigned program from Monday to Friday. After one
week, all 10 students met with the researcher for a 90 minute
focus group interview. The content of this interview was
thoroughly documented by the researcher in writing.
34


The researcher initiated the interview by asking the
following opening question: why do you watch local news? In the
course of discussions, the researcher also responded to the
participants by asking leading questions throughout the interview.
The outcome of this interview is discussed in the following
segment. The data gathered from both the focus group interview
and broadcast analysis represented the pool of information from
which the Q-deck was developed.
The term professional was mentioned repeatedly in
connection with four aspects of news programs; news content,
program cosmetics, news personalities, and program performance.
In the next few paragraphs, these components of professionalism
will be examined in more detail.
Two participants maintained that professional news making
relies on relevant content and in-depth analysis of the news. In
response, one participant expressed the view that local news
programs are seldom professional because professional news
making can only be achieved at the network level. The terms
straight news, feature stories is what is important, soap opera, and
National Enquirer were mentioned in support of this definition.
The researcher further examined three videotaped
broadcasts of Channel 4's and Channel 7's 10 P.M. news programs
and content analysis was performed. The content of both news
programs was quantified according to the number and type of all
stories broadcast. News stories were grouped under the following
categories: local, national, international, weather, sports, and
graphic displays (see Table 2.1).


Table 2.1 Story Content of Three Broadcasts of the 10 P.M. News
Programs on Channel 4 and Channel 7.
TYPE OF STORIES NUMBER OF STORIES
Channel 4 Channel 7
Local News 29 27 t
National News 12 7 16 ~ 5 06
International News 09
Weather 03 03 > 22 ' itf ni flu Ml
Sports 28
Statements (Graphic Displays) 12
TOTAL 93 77
Content analysis shows Channel 4 with a total of 93 stories
and Channel 7 with 77. Channel 4 leads in the local, international,
sports, and graphically displayed types of stories. Channel 7 leads
in national stories.
This segment addresses the second component of
professionalism which focuses on the news personalities and their
performance. One focus group participant expressed the view that
a news program is professional only when its personalities look
professional. The name Ted Koppel and 'the terms clothing, dark
suits, attractive, and conservative appeal, were used in the context
of qualifying professionalism through the appearance of a news
team. There were discussions about the way audience members
perceive of local news personalities. One participant mentioned
that people grow loyal to a particular news program because they
begin to look at the news people as friends. Others expressed the
idea that the Channel 7 sports anchor would get dirty on the field.
The terms I like the people, stiff shirt, sophisticated, and neighbor
like were also mentioned in this context. In addressing the
performance of newscasters, a number of participants said that
the performance and behavior of the news anchors determine
whether a news program is professional. To some, the joking,
playful approach indicates lack of professionalism, while others
disagreed. The terms organization, smooth delivery, lack of jokes.
36


wholesomeness, and folksy were mentioned as characteristics of a
professional news person. Along a similar vein, one participant
suggested that the aggressive and arrogant anchor person often
alienates a majority of viewers. Then stories were told of news
personalities who were unsuccessful in gaining the acceptance of
this local audience and statements such as respect for the
audience, and it takes time to know somebody were mentioned in
support of this position.
As part of content analysis, the researcher observed that
Channel 7's news team engaged more in banter than Channel 4's.
It also was observed that Channel 7s broadcasts included
technical problems especially with the weather reports. In
regards to attire, no significant difference was noticeable between
the dress of either news team.
This segment addresses the third component of
professionalism which focuses on the cosmetics of a news
program. To a number of participants, the design and looks of the
news set, or what one participant called the atmosphere of a
channel, indicates whether a program is professional. The
statement Channel 7 has a bad set, it's flat, was mentioned in
support of cosmetics as indicators of professionalism.
As part of content analysis, the researcher observed that
Channel 4's news set incorporated the colors blue and silver while
Channel 7s set incorporated the colors gold and brown. The
researcher also observed that Channel 4's news team shared a
well designed desk structure, while Channel 7's team shared a less
pleasant desk structure.
The Development of the O-Deck
The data gathered from both the focus group interview and
broadcast analysis represented the pool of information from
which the Q-deck was developed.


The development of the final version of the Q-deck required
the implementation of several developmental phases. Phase one
involved developing the Q-deck for the pilot study. The first
version of the pilot deck consisted of 99 statement-cards
reflecting the experience of watching local news programs. Upon
the development of the first Q-deck, a pilot study was conducted.
Three students from an introductory communication course were
randomly assigned to watch Channel 4 or Channel 7 for three
consecutive evenings. After watching their assigned programs,
the students met separately with the researcher and sorted the 99
statements. Every statement was assigned a number from 1 to
99. The participants were asked to sort all 99 cards and register
their numbers on a scale ranging from AGREE, NEUTRAL, to
DISAGREE. Then, the participants were asked to sort the AGREE
statements on a scale ranging from SOMEWHAT AGREE, AGREE,
and STRONGLY AGREE. The same procedure applied to the
NEUTRAL statements which were sorted as LEANING TOWARD
AGREEMENT, NEUTRAL, LEANING TOWARD DISAGREEMENT, and
the DISAGREE statements which were sorted as SOMEWHAT
DISAGREE, DISAGREE, and STRONGLY DISAGREE.
The researcher requested evaluations from all three
participants regarding the comprehensiveness and precision of the
deck. These evaluations helped reduce the 99 statements to 84.
Nineteen statements were deleted in view of their redundancy
and four statements addressing areas previously not covered
were introduced.
The 84 statements which compose the Q-sort deck represent
four broad categories; personalities, program appeal, program
substance and performance, and "I" statements. The personalities
category consists of 26 statements which address the looks,
credibility, sociability, locality, and competence of the newscasters
on the news programs under study. The program appeal category
consists of 24 statements which address the image of both news


programs under study, the interest they generate, the reputation
they have, and the population to which they appeal. The program
substance category consists of 19 statements which address issues
of news quality, community related news, news relevance,
sensational reporting, quality of videography, and technical
performance associated with Channel 4 and Channel 7. The "I"
category consists of 15 statements which express the audience's
personal involvement in evaluating the news programs under
study (see Appendix).
A reading of the deck will show that the wording of some
statements is strictly descriptive of the categories related to the
10 P.M. news programs on Channel 4 and Channel 7, while others
are written from a judgmental stand point. The judgment
statements are meant to reflect the attitudes of the audience
members independent from exposure to the two news programs
under study. A reading of the deck also will show that a number
of cards express only minor variations on the four principle
content categories which comprise the Q-deck. There are three
reasons for this; (1) the exploratory nature of this study in
divising its own testing instrument; (2) the attempt to insure a
thorough coverage on the subtleties of all variables; (3) a cross
check for consistency in the opinions of all participants.
The Study
The study was conducted after all changes and revisions
were implemented on the Q-deck.
Subjects. A total of 66 graduate and undergraduate students,
43 females and 23 males, were randomly assigned to watch the
10 P.M. news program on either Channel 4 or Channel 7, but not
both, for one week. Of those, 31 watched Channel 4 and 35
watched Channel 7. In age, 45.4% were between 18 and 24, 48.5%
between 25 and 44, and 6.1% were 45 and over. Ethnically, 83.3%


were white, 9.2% Hispanic, 4.5% Asian, and 3.0% categorized
themselves as other.
Procedures. Lists of the names and telephone numbers of 66
volunteer students from graduate and undergraduate
communication classes were made available by professors in the
Department of Communication at the University of Colorado at
Denver. The researcher contacted all 66 subjects and randomly
assigned them to watch in their homes the 10 P.M. news program
on either Channel 4 or Channel 7, but not both, from Monday to
Friday. At the end of that week all subjects were called again to
confirm that they had watched their assigned news programs, and
to schedule a time for them to sort the Q-deck. The subjects were
asked to sort the randomly shuffled Q-deck at the Department of
Communication, and were scheduled to appear in small groups of
five. Three weeks were required for the data to be collected.
Data Analysis. The data were coded and entered into a main
frame computer using EMACS at the Computing Services at the
University of Colorado at Denver. EMACS is a computer program
which allows the storage of data along columns and rows. The
data were then tabulated and factor analysis was employed by
using SPSSx, a statistical program which allows the generation of
different types of statistical matrices. The first factor run
consisted of a principles components run where every card is
reported as a factor. Varimax rotation was employed and a total
of twenty one factors were generated. For purposes of meaningful
analysis, a second run with a five-factor limit was implemented.
This run displayed higher factor loadings in all five factors which
resulted in a strong factor 1, a relatively strong factor 2, a slightly
weaker factor 3, and weak factors 4, and 5. Upon further
evaluation, a third run with a four-factor limit using Varimax
rotation was implemented. This run generated four relatively
strong factors. Then two separate runs, one for each news
program, were implemented. These runs generated four
40


relatively strong but unfocused factors. In view of the poor
contribution of a number of cards with loadings <.5000, 41 cards
were excluded from Channel 4's final run and 45 from Channel 7's.
The final run for Channel 4 resulted in four strong factors. Factor
1 was the strongest and included nineteen cards. Factor 2, was
the second strongest and included seven cards. Factor 4 was the
third strongest with six cards, and factor 3 with five. The run for
Channel 7 also resulted in four strong factors. Factor 1 included
sixteen cards. Factor 2 included nine cards. Factor 3 included
seven cards, and factor 4 included two. Table 2.2 displays the
Eigenvalue, percentage of variance, and number of cards of all
four factors generated by the final factor analysis run for Channel
4 and Channel 7 using Varimax rotation.
Table 2.2 Varimax Rotation of the Four Factors Extracted for
Channel 4 and Channel 7.
Channel 4 Channel 7
Factor 1
Eigenvalue 10.33474 10.09686
% of Variance 24.0 26.6
# of Cards 19 16
Factor 2
Eigenvalue 5.02263 4.20341
% of Variance 11.7 11.1
# of Cards 7 9
Factor 3
Eigenvalue 3.78996 3.52166
% of Variance 8.8 9.3
# of Cards 5 7
Factor 4
Eigenvalue 3.48277 2.86992
% of Variance 8.1 7.6
# of Cards 6 2
Further evaluation of all factors is discussed in chapter 3.


CHAPTER 3
RESULTS
This study employs Ernest G. Bormanns theory of symbolic
convergence to explain the difference in the ratings of the 10 P.M.
news programs on Channel 4 and Channel 7 in Denver, Colorado.
The study generates the data by employing Q-technique and
tabulates the data utilizing factor analysis.
A total of 66 students, 43 females and 23 males, were
randomly divided and assigned to watch the 10 P.M. news
program on either Channel 4 or Channel 7, but not both, for one
week. All subjects were then asked to respond to a Q-sort deck
consisting of 84 statements developed from a focus group
interview and content analysis of three videotaped broadcasts of
the news programs under study.
The data were coded and entered into a main frame
computer by using EMACS at the Computing Services at the
University of Colorado at Denver, and factor analysis was
employed utilizing SPSSx.
Tables 3.1 to 3.8 display four factor solutions for the 10 P.M.
news programs on Channel 4 and Channel 7. The order of the
factors is such that factor 1 for Channel 4 is followed by factor 1
for Channel 7 and so forth. Each table includes the random
number assigned to a statement from 1 to 84, the statement's
factor loading, which indicates the strength of its contribution to a
factor, and the statements text. The placement of the statements
within the factors is determined by the numerical value of their
factor loadings. The negative signs preceding some factor loadings
indicate an inverse relationship, the statements may be reversed
to interpret their contribution to the factors. All tables are


followed by analytic segments which describe the content of each
factor. These analyses do not evaluate the meaning of each factor,
which is dealt with in Chapter 4.


Table 3 1
FACTOR 1 CHANNEL 4
CARD FACTOR CARD
NUMBER LOADING STATEMENT
63 .84109 When I want to know the news I tune to the news program I watched.
*58 .80294 If I am asked about the best local news program in Denver, the one I watched would be my choice.
43 .78521 The news program I watched appeals to people like me.
75 .78151 The team on the news program I watched reflects the image of Colorado.
*29 .71975 I am interested in the news program I watched.
*21 .70115 The news program I watched is an example of professionalism.
*53 .69501 The news program I watched is fun.
*64 .68774 When I want investigative news, I tune to the news program I watched.
#5 1 -.67652 The news program I watched fails to keep interest.
*03 .65423 The news program I watched is performed with few mistakes.
#07 .64253 The personalities on the news program I watched are friendly.
#47 .62689 The anchors on the news program I watched make the delivery of the news look so easy.
08 .62200 I identify with the personalities on the news program I watched.
#52 -.58496 The news program I watched is pretentious and superficial.
#10 .58444 The personalities on the news program I watched represent the Denver community.
17 .58145 The main male anchor on the news program I watched brings a warm fatherly feeling to the program.
*23 .57696 The team on the news program I watched looks very professional.
#80 -.56916 The anchors on the news program I watched seem distant; as if they are standing far apart in a disjointed room.
oo * .55224 The news program I watched seems to appeal to an affluent segment of this community.
Variance explained: 24.0%
Eigenvalue: 10.33474
(*) indicates that the card : is shared with factor 1 of Channel 7.
(#) indicates that the card appears in Channel 7's factor structure.
44


Factor 1 for Channel 4 consists of nineteen statements, eight
of which are shared by Channel 7's factor 1, six appear in Channel
7's factor structure, and five are unique. This factor explains 24%
of the total variance and has an Eigenvalue of 10.33474. The
statements which compose this factor represent the four content
categories of the Q-sort deck: "I" statements, program appeal,
personalities, and program substance.
The content of the "I" category consists of statements 63, 58,
43, 29, 64, and 08. In this category, the Channel 4 group
expressed that the 10 P.M. news program on Channel 4 is the one
to watch when wanting the news, it represents their best choice in
Denver, it appeals to people like them, it is interesting to them, it
represents their choice as an investigative news source, and that
they identify with the personalities on this news program.
The content of the program appeal category consists of
statements 21, 53, 51, 52, and 48. In this category the Channel 4
group expressed that Channel 4 news is an example of
professionalism, that it is interesting, not pretentious and
superficial, and that it appeals to an affluent segment of the local
community.
The content of the personalities category consists of
statements 75, 07, 47, 10,17, and 23. In this category the Channel
4 group expressed that the Channel 4 news personalities reflect
the image of Colorado, that they are friendly, skilled in making the
news presentation look so easy, that they represent the Denver
community, that the main male anchor is fatherly, and very
professional.
The content of the program substance category consists of
statements 03, and 80. In this category the Channel 4 group
expressed that Channel 4 news is performed with few mistakes,
and that the anchors do not look distant in a disjointed room.


Table 3.2
FACTOR 1 CHANNEL 7
CARD FACTOR CARD
NUMBER LOADING STATEMENT
*21 .85745 The news program I watched is an example of professionalism.
*23 .83652 The team on the news program I watched looks very professional.
#30 -.73810 The news program I watched appeals to minority,transient, and lower income groups in Colorado.
*29 .70982 I am interested in the news program I watched.
49 .67123 The anchors on the news program I watched are the successful type of people.
82 .62509 The anchors on the news program I watched are enthusiastic; something I appreciate.
*48 .62353 The news program I watched seems to appeal to an affluent segment of this community.
*53 .62089 The news program I watched is fun.
#09 .59264 The anchors on the news program I watched are physically attractive.
*03 .58430 The news program I watched is performed with few mistakes.
*64 .57768 When I want investigative news, I tune to the news program I watched.
01 -.57112 The set of the news program I watched is poor in its design.
02 .57083 The jingle of the news program I watched is musically distinctive.
#56 .56342 The news program I watched represents a wealthy organization.
06 .52994 The set of the news program I watched reflects a successful image.
*58 .50508 If I am asked about the best local news program in Denver, the one I watched would my choice.
Variance explained: 26.6%
Eigenvalue: 10.09686.
(*) indicates that the card i is shared with factor 1 of Channel 4.
(#) indicates that the card appears in Channel 4's factor structure.
46


Factor 1 for Channel 7 consists of sixteen statements, eight of
which are shared by Channel 4's factor 1, three appear in Channel
4's factor structure, and five are unique. This factor explains
26.6% of the total variance and has an Eigenvalue of 10.09686.
The statements which compose this factor represent all four
categories of the Q-sort deck; "I" statements; program appeal;
personalities; and program substance.
The content of the "I" category consists of statements 29, 64,
and 58. In this category the Channel 7 group expressed that they
are interested in Channel 7 news, that it represents their choice as
an investigative news source, and that it is their choice for best in
Denver.
The content of the program appeal category consists of
statements 21, 30, 48, 53, 01, 02, 56, and 06. In this category the
Channel 7 group expressed that this news program is an example
of professionalism, that it does not appeal to minorities, that it
appeals to an affluent segment of the community, that it is fun,
and has a good set design, a distinctive jingle, that it represents a
wealthy organization and reflects a successful image.
The content of the personalities category consists of
statements 23, 49, 82, and 09. In this category the Channel 7
group expressed that the personalities on this program look very
professional, that they are the successful type of people, that they
are enthusiastic and physically attractive.
The content of the program substance category consists of
statement 03 which states that this news program is performed
with few mistakes.


Tabic 3.3 FACTOR 2 CHANNEL4
CARD FACTOR CARD
NUMBER LOADING STATEMENT
#30 .74698 The news program I watched appeals to minority, transient, and lower income groups in Colorado.
*62 .67883 The news program I watched broadcasts many feature stories; something special about this channel.
#09 -.67698 The anchors on the news program I watched are physically attractive.
#56 -.63624 The news program I watched represents a wealthy organization.
66 .57777 The news program I watched reports the real Issues in Colorado; crime and unemployment.
*46 .57521 The personalities on the news program I watched seem to work hard to do a good job.
57 .51076 The news program I watched lets me understand the significance of the news.
Variance explained: 11.7%
Eigenvalue: 5.02263.
(*) indicates that the card is shared with factor 2 of Channel 7.
(#) indicates that the card appears in Channel 7's factor structure.
Factor 2 for Channel 4 consists of seven statements, two of
which are shared by Channel 7's factor 2, three appear in Channel
7's factor structure, and two are unique. This factor explains
11.7% of the total variance and has an Eigenvalue of 5.02263. The
statements which compose Channel 4's factor 2 represent all four
categories of the Q-sort deck; program appeal; personalities;
program substance; and "I" statements.
The program appeal category consists of statements 30, and
56. In this category the Channel 4 group expressed that this
program appeals to minority groups in Colorado, and that it does
not represent a wealthy organization.
The personalities category consists of statements 09, and 46.
In this category the Channel 4 group expressed that the anchors
48


on this program are not physically attractive, and that they work
hard to do a good job.
The program substance category consists of statements 62,
and 66. In this category the Channel 4 group expressed that this
program broadcasts many feature stories, and that it reports the
real issues in Colorado; crime and unemployment.
The "I" statement category consists of statement 57 which
states that this program lets the audience understand the
significance of the news.


Table 3.4
FACTOR 2 CHANNEL 7
CARD FACTOR CARD
NUMBER LOADING STATEMENT
#51 -.76407 The news program I watched fails to keep interest.
#80 .69987 The anchors on the news program I watched seem distant; as if they are standing far apart in a disjointed room.
#07 .69926 The personalities on the news program I watched are friendly.
15 -.68051 The weatherman on the news program I watched is serious about his work.
20 .61585 The personalities on the news program 1 watched look and act like next door people.
#52 -.59248 The news program I watched is pretentious, and superficial.
*62 .55037 The news program I watched broadcasts many feature stories; something special about this channel.
#10 .54883 The personalities on the news program I watched represent the Denver community.
*46 .52459 The personalities on the news program I watched seem to work hard to do a good job.
Variance explained: 11.1%
Eigenvalue: 4.20341.
(*) indicates that the card : is shared with factor 2 of Channel 4.
(#) indicates that the card appears in Channel 4's factor structure.
Factor 2 for Channel 7 consists of nine statements, two of
which are shared by Channel 4's factor 2, four appear in Channel
4's factor structure, and two are unique. This factor explains
11.1% of the total variance and has an Eigenvalue of 4.20341. The
statements which compose this factor represent three categories
of the Q-deck: program appeal: personalities: and program
substance.
The program appeal category consists of statements 51, and
52. In this category the Channel 7 group expressed that this news
program does not fail to keep interest, and that it is not
pretentious and superficial.
50


The personalities category consists of statements 07, 15, 20,
10, and 46. In this category the Channel 7 group expressed that
the personalities on this program are friendly, that the
weatherman is serious about his work, that the personalities act
like next door people, and that they work hard to do a good job.
The program substance category consists of statements 80
and 62. In this category the Channel 7 group expressed that the
anchors on this program do not seem visually distant, and that
this program broadcasts many feature stories.


Table 3.5
FACTOR 3 CHANNEL 4
CARD FACTOR CARD
NUMBER LOADING STATEMENT
42 .77507 A good local news program lets the audience feel better about their state.
76 .72372 Members of a news team should be friendly with one another.
39 .66061 One way to define professionalism in a news program is to let its anchors be attractive and well dressed.
*84 .64902 It is not the news that matters, but choosing a news program from all available choices is like choosing a friend.
*22 .58808 Clothing is a qualifying factor to a good news anchor.
Variance explained: 8.8%
Eigenvalue: 3.78996.
(*) indicates that card is shared with factor 3 of Channel 7.
Factor 3 for Channel 4 consists of five statements, two of
which are shared by Channel 7's factor 3, and three are unique.
This factor explains 8.8% of the total variance and has an
Eigenvalue of 3.78996. The content of the statements which
compose this factor reflect the personalities, program substance,
and "I" statements categories.
The personalities category consists of statements 76, 39, and
22. In this category the Channel 4 group expressed that members
of a news team should be friendly with one another, that
professional news anchors are well dressed and physically
attractive, and that clothing is a qualifying factor for a news
anchor.
The program substance category consists of statement 42
which states that a good local news program lets the audience feel
good about their state.
The "I" category consists of statement 84 which expresses
that choosing a news program is like choosing a friend.


Table 3.6
FACTOR 3 CHANNEL 7
CARD FACTOR CARD
NUMBER LOADING STATEMENT
*22 .74099 Clothing is a qualifying factor to a good news anchor.
79 .69617 The anchors on the news program I watched seem physically close, as if the camera reveals more of them.
05 .68647 The concept, design, and colors of the set a news program incorporates dictate its success.
*84 .66673 It is not the news that matters, but choosing a news program from all available choices is like choosing a friend.
19 .65567 Hearing a story from the news anchors on the news program I watched dissipates my doubts about it.
72 .59284 With the news program I watched, I always count on a charming uplifting story at the end.
#47 .53486 The anchors on the news program I watched make the delivery of the news look so easy.
Variance explained: 9.3%
Eigenvalue: 3.52166.
(*) indicates that the card is shared with factor 3 of Channel 4.
(#) indicates that the card appears in Channel 4's factor structure.
Factor 3 for Channel 7 consists of seven statements, two of
which are shared by Channel 4's factor 3, one appears in Channel
4's factor structure, and four are unique. This factor explains 9.3%
of the total variance and has an Eigenvalue of 3.52166. The
statements which compose this factor reflect all four factors of the
Q-deck: "I" statements, personalities, program appeal, and
program substance.
The program appeal category consists of statement 05. In
this category the Channel 7 group expressed that the concept and
design of a news program dictate its success.


The personalities category consists of statements 22,19, and
47. In this category the Channel 7 group expressed that clothing
is a qualifying factor for a news person, that hearing a story from
a news person on the Channel 7 news program dissipates doubt
about the news, and that the personalities on this program make
the delivery of the news look so easy.
The program substance category consists of statements 79,
and 72. In this category the Channel 7 group expressed that the
personalities on this program seem physically close on camera,
and that this program always presents a charming story at the
end.
The "I" category consists of statement 84 which states that
choosing a news program is like choosing a friend.
Table 3.7 FACTOR 4 CHANNEL 4
CARD FACTOR CARD
NUMBER LOADING STATEMENT
*25 .72586 A professional news crew must be serious and not overly playful.
55 .68113 The news program I watched seems to be overly concerned about loosing the audience during the broadcast.
68 .62828 Whenever special events occur, I can count on the news program I watched to cover them.
12 -.60919 The sports anchor on the news program I watched explains sports events in an appealing way.
*24 .55423 It matters that the news program I watch be very professional.
59 -.52859 The news program I watched is a family oriented program.
Variance explained: 8. Eigenvalue: 3.48277. 1%
(*) indicates that card is shared with factor 4 of Channel 7.
Factor 4 for Channel 4 consists of six statements, two of
which are shared by Channel 7's factor 4, and four are unique.
54


This factor explains 8.1% of the total variance and has an
Eigenvalue of 3.48277. The statements which compose this factor
reflect the personalities, program appeal, and "I" categories.
The personalities category consists of statements 25, and 12.
In this category the Channel 4 group expressed that a professional
news crew must be serious and not overly playful, and that the
sports anchor on this program does not explain the sports in an
appealing way.
The program appeal category consists of statements 55, 24,
and 59. In this category the Channel 4 group expressed that this
news program is overly concerned with loosing the audience, that
it matters to watch a professional news program, and that Channel
4 news is not a family oriented program.
The "I" category consist of statement 68. In this category the
Channel 4 group expressed that whenever a special event occurs
they can count on Channel 4 to cover it.
Table 3.8 FACTOR 4 CHANNEL 7
CARD NUMBER FACTOR LOADING CARD STATEMENT
*24 .76178 It matters that the news program I watch be
*25 .70948 very professional. A professional news crew must be serious and
Variance ex Eigenvalue: (*) indicates plained: 7.6% 2.86992. that card is not overly playful, shared with factor 4 of Channel 4.
Factor 4 for Channel 7 consists of two statements which are
shared by Channel 4's factor 4. This factor explains 7.6% of the
total variance with an Eigenvalue of 2.86992. The statements
which compose this factor reflect the program appeal, and
personalities categories.


The program appeal category consists of statement 24 in
which the Channel 7 group expressed that it matters to watch a
professional news program.
The personalities category consists of statement 25 in which
the Channel 7 group expressed that a professional news team
must be serious and not overly playful.
Evaluation
Each factor presented in this chapter shares a number of
statements either with the other channel's corresponding factor
i.e., factors 1 for Channel 4 and Channel 7, or the other channels
factor structure. Despite this overlap, the content of each factor
structure remains substantially different as reflected in the
overall statement composition and factor loadings which compose
each factor. It is noted, however, that the focus of the four factors
extracted for each channel is not uniform throughout the Channel
4 and Channel 7 factor structures. While factors 1 and 2 for each
channel represent focused and interpretable set of statements,
which together explain approximately 36% of the total variance,
factors 3 and 4 are not as focused and interpretable. The
conclusion of this study, therefore, will address the first and
second factors generated by factor analysis for Channel 4 and
Channel 7. Chapter 4 focuses on the interpretation of the results
presented here and provides analyses for the conclusion of this
study.
56


CHAPTER 4
CONCLUSION
This study employs Ernest G. Bormann's theory of symbolic
convergence to explain the difference in the ratings of the 10 P.M.
news programs on Channel 4 and Channel 7 in Denver, Colorado.
The data were obtained from a focus group interview,
Q-technique, and content analysis of three videotaped broadcasts
of each news program under study. Factor analysis was employed
and four factors were generated for each channel. The subject
population consists of 66 graduate and undergraduate students
randomly divided in two groups, asked to watch the 10 P.M. news
program on either Channel 4 or Channel 7, but not both, for one
week. Students were then asked to sort a randomly shuffled Q-
deck composed of 84 statements.
This study asks the following questions:
1. What are the constituents of the rhetorical visions
associated with the 10 P.M. news programs on Channel 4
and Channel 7 as held by a sample audience?
2. Is there a relationship between the ratings of those two
local news programs and the rhetorical vision associated
with each of them as held by a sample audience?
The employment of the theory of symbolic convergence in
this case reflects this studys assumption that ratings indicate the
quality of rhetorical visions audiences compose about news
programs. This study also assumes that audience preference for a
news program represents an acceptance of this program's
character and appeal. The extraction of four factors for Channel 4
and Channel 7 reflects this study's expectation that each factor
would consist primarily of statements representing one of the four


content categories of the Q-deck. In which case each factor would
represent a fantasy theme, and each factor structure would
compose the rhetorical vision associated with each news program
under study. However, the results of factor analysis did not
conform to those expectations. Instead, each factor contained
items from all four categories of the Q-deck: "I" statements,
personalities, program appeal, and program substance.
This study concludes by interpreting factors 1 and 2 which
explain approximately 36% of the total variance; factors 3 and 4
will not be addressed due to their lack of focus. The analyses
interpret the statements which compose factors 1 for Channel 4
and Channel 7 to be primary observations of those programs, and
the statements which compose factors 2 to be secondary. Tables
4.1 to 4.8 display the comparative analyses of the content of
factors 1 and 2 for Channel 4 and Channel 7 according to the four
content categories of the Q-sort deck. Each table consists of the
statements numbers, their text, and their comparative factor
loadings. The dash marks indicate that the statements are not part
of this Channel's factor. The purpose of the comparative analyses
is not to introduce new knowledge as such but to expose key
differences in the descriptions of each news program which would
in turn facilitate the composition of distinct rhetorical visions
associated with them.
Table 4.1 compares the content of the "I" statements
category for Channel 4 and Channel 7.


Table 4.1
Factor 1 category 1 ("I" statements)
Combined Statements for Channel 4 and Channel 7
CARD FACTOR LOADINGS
NUMBER CARD STATEMENT Channel 4 Channel
63 When I want to know the news I tune to news program I watched. .84109
58 If I am asked about the best local news program in Denver, the one I watched would be my choice. .80294 .50508
43 The news program I watched appeals to people like me. .78521
29 I am interested in the news program I watched. .71975 .70982
64 When I want investigative news, I tune to the news program I watched. .68774 .57768
08 I identify with the personalities on the news program I watched. .62200 _
The content of this category shows a clear difference in the
number, range, and intensity of the "I" statements associated with
both news programs. This category highlights strong personal
associations Channel 4 news acquired from its viewers which are
best expressed in statement 63, a declaration of loyalty to this
news program, statement 43, a perception of personal association
with the appeal of this program, and statement 08, a personal
identification with the newscasters of this program. It is noted
that none of those statements appeared in Channel 7s factor
structure. In comparison, Channel 7 news acquired half the
number of "I" statements, with weaker factor loadings and
narrower content range.


Table 4.2
Factor 1 Category 2 (Personalities)
Combined Statements for Channel 4 and Channel 7
CARD FACTOR LOADINGS
NUMBER CARD STATEMENT Channel 4 Channel 7
75 The team on the news program I watched
reflects the image of Colorado. .78151
10 The personalities on the news program I
watched represent the Denver .58444
community.
07 The personalities on the news program I
watched arc friendly. .64253
47 The anchors on the news program I
watched make the delivery of the news
look so easy. .62689
17 The main male anchor on the news
program I watched brings a warm
fatherly feeling to the program. .58145
23 The crew on the news program I watched
looks very professional. .57696
49 The anchors on the news program I
watched are the successful type of people.
82 The anchors on the news program I
watched are enthusiastic; something
I appreciate.
09 The anchors on the news program I
watched are physically attractive.
.83652
.67123
.62509
.59264
This category suggests that while both news teams were
described as looking very professional, statement 23 (note that
Channel 7 has a much higher factor loading on this statement),
Channel 4's personalities were seen to reflect the image of
Colorado, statement 75, to represent the Denver community,
statement 10, to be friendly, proficient, and fatherly, statements
07, 47, and 17. In comparison, the Channel 7' team was described
as representing successful types of people, as enthusiastic, and
physically attractive, statements 49, 82, and 09. This category
indicates that the primary component of audience perception of
the personalities on Channel 4 news were associated with notions
of adequate communal appeal, friendliness, and fatherliness which
indicate a perception of this team's "character-sociability"
(McCroskey and Jensen, 1975). In comparison, the personalities
60


on Channel 7 news were associated with statements which
predominantly focus on their appearance. To be described as
looking successful and being physically attractive represent
positive observations which lack the personal rapport that the
Channel 4 statements communicate.
Table 4.3 Factor 1 category 3 (Program Appeal)
Combined Statements for Channel 4 and Channel 7
CARD FACTOR LOADINGS
NUMBER CARD STATEMENT Channel 4 Channel 7
21 The news program I watched is an
example of professionalism. .70115
53 The news program I watched is fun. .69501
51 The news program I watched fails to
keep interest. -.67652
52 The news program I watched is
pretentious and superficial. -.58496
48 The news program I watched seems
to appeal to an affluent segment
of this community. .55224
30 The news program I watched appeals
to minority, transient, and lower
income groups in Colorado.
01 The set of the news program I watched
is poor in its design.
02 The jingle of the news program I watched
is musically distinctive.
5 6 The news program I watched represents
a wealthy organization.
06 The set of the news program I watched
reflects a successful image.
.85745
.62089
.62353
-.73810
-.57112
.57083
.56342
.52994
The pattern of items in this category indicates that the
difference in the descriptions associated with Channel 4 and
Channel 7 news revolves around the issue of personal associations
as related to program appeal. The statements which describe the
news program on Channel 4 relate to the essence of this program
and describe it as interesting and not superficial. In comparison,
Channel 7 news was associated with statements descriptive


mostly of cosmetic aspects of this program, its set, jingle, looks,
and image.
Table 4.4 Factor 1 category 4 .(Program Substance)
Combined Statements for Channel 4 and Channel 7
CARD FACTOR LOADINGS
NUMBER CARD STATEMENT Channel 4 Channel 7
03 The news program I watched is
performed with few mistakes. .65423 .58430
80 The anchors on the news program
I watched seem distant in a
disjointed room. -.56916
This category shows that both news programs were seen as
performed with few mistakes, statement 03, while the Channel 4
news personalities were not visually seen as standing far apart in
a disjointed room.
In summary, the content of factors 1 for Channel 4 and
Channel 7 indicates that both news programs were thought to be
the best choice in Denver, to be interesting, and to represent a
good source for investigative news. Both programs were also
thought to appeal to an affluent segment of the local community,
to be examples of professionalism, fun, well performed, and their
personalities to be very professional. Those mutual descriptions
reflect the professional compatibility of both news programs in
terms of their network affiliation, purpose, time of broadcast, and
format. The remaining portions of factors 1 for each channel
display substantially different descriptions of each program. The
"I" statements category indicates that involvement and personal
association with Channel 4 news is a primary component of
audience perception of this program, which is less emphasized
with Channel 7. As a fantasy theme, this category revolves
primarily around the notion of personal identification most
developed with Channel 4. The personalities category indicates
that audience perception of the character-sociability of the


Channel 4 news team is primary. The descriptions of the Channel
7 personalities depict primarily the visual appearance and
attractiveness of this team. As a fantasy theme, Channel 4's
revolved around character, Channel 7's revolved around looks.
The program appeal category indicates that the interest of
Channel 4 news and its worth are the primary descriptions of this
program. In comparison, the primary perception of Channel 7
news revolved around the visual appearance of this program. The
direction of statements in this category is consistent with the
personalities category before, in that Channel 4 as a news program
was described from a substance perspective, Channel 7 was
described from a cosmetic stance. ^As a fantasy theme the
difference is that Channel 4 revolves around character_and
substance, Channel 7 revolves around visual cosmetics. The
program substance category indicates that Channel THews
portrays its personalities in a close visual environment, not the
case with Channel 7. Essentially, Channel 4 news was described
from a personalized stand point, which emphasized the sociability
and worth of this program. Channel 7 news was described from a
descriptive stance which emphasized the glittery image of this
program. As primary scripts of descriptions, Channel 4' primary
characteristic is its character, Channel 7's primary characteristic is
its looks.
63


FACTOR 2
The content of factors 2 for Channel 4 and Channel 7
represents the four content categories of the Q-deck. Tables 4.5 to
4.8 display the content of this factor's four categories; "I"
statements, personalities, program appeal, and program substance.
Table 4.5 FACTOR 2 CATEGORY 1 ("I" Statements)
CARD FACTOR LOADINGS'
NUMBER CARD STATEMENT Channel 4 Channel 7
57 The news program I watched lets me
understand the significance of the news. .51076
The content of the "I" statements category, factor 2 category
1, consists of statement 57 which states that Channel 4 news lets
the audience understand the significance of the news. The
emphasis here is consistent with the primary descriptions where
content prevails over looks.
Table 4.6 Factor 2 Category 2 (Personalities)
CARD
NUMBER
CARD STATEMENT
09 The anchors on the news program
I watched are physically attractive.
46 The personalities on the news program
I watched seem to work hard to do a
good job.
07 The personalities on the news program
I watched are friendly.
15 The weatherman on the news program
I watched is not serious about his work..
20 The personalities on the news program
I watched look and act like next door
people.
10 The personalities on the news program
FACTOR LOADINGS
Channel 4 Channel 7
-.67698
.57521 .52459
- .69926
- -.68051
- .61585
r _ .54883
This category points out a significant notion expressed by the
Channel 4 respondents which down plays the physical attraction
64


of this team's personalities; a trait thought to be fundamental to
professional newscasters. In comparison, the descriptions of the
Channel 7 personalities mirror to a great extent the descriptions of
the Channel 4 team in factor 1 excluding the "I" statements
associated with the Channel 4 team.
Table 4.7 FACTOR 2 CATEGORY 3 (Program Appeal)
CARD FACTOR LOADINGS
NUMBER CARD STATEMENT Channel 4 Channel 7
56 The news program I watched represents
a wealthy organization. -.63624 -
51 The news program 1 watched fails to
keep interest. - -.76404
52 The news program I watched is
pretentious and superficial. - -.59248
30 The news program I watched appeals
to minority, transient, and lower
income groups in Colorado. .74698
This category reflects the respondents' perception of the
modest appearance of Channel 4 and its broad appeal to different
segments of this community. These descriptions appear only in
Channel 4's factor structure and statement 30 was negatively
loaded with Channel 7 news in factor 1. The descriptions of
Channel 7 news in this category mirror the descriptions of Channel
4 news in factor 1. The difference in this case is that with Channel
7, the perception of this program's substantial appeal is a
secondary notion.
65


Table 4.8 Factor 2 Category 4 (Program Substance)
CARD FACTOR LOADINGS
NUMBER CARD STATEMENT Channel 4 Channel 7
62 The news program I watched broadcasts many feature stories. .67883 .55037
66 The news program I watched reports the real issues in Colorado; crime and unemployment. .57777
80 The anchors on the news program I watched seem distant. -.69987
This category also indicates that both news programs
broadcast feature stories. The focus of the statements descriptive
of Channel 4 news stresses the worthiness of the news this
program broadcasts. In comparison, Channel 7 news anchors were
seen to be personable and not distant.
In summary, factors 2 for Channel 4 and Channel 7 indicate
that both news teams were thought to be friendly and work hard
to do a good job, and both programs were thought to broadcast
many feature stories. The overall content of factors 2 describes
Channel 4 news as a program with broad appeal, yet not
glamorous looking, it addresses substantial news issues, and is
skilled in letting the audience understand the news. In
comparison, factor 2 describes Channel 7 news as interesting, its
personalities as friendly, neighborly, that they represent the
Denver community, and they are visually close. While the
statements descriptive of Channel 4 focus primarily on the
substance of this program, the cluster of statements descriptive of
the Channel 7 news team mirrors to an extent the descriptions of
the Channel 4 news team in factor 1. The "I" statements category
reflects a fantasy theme which communicates rapport between
the Channel 4 audience and the news presentation of this
program. As a fantasy theme, the personalities category reflects
the lack of glamour associated with Channel 4's anchors and the
perception of personability and locality of the Channel 7
personalities. The fantasy theme expressed in the program appeal
66


category stresses the modesty and broad appeal of Channel 4
news and the interest and seriousness of Channel 7's news
program.
At this point this study will address the questions it poses:
1. What are the constituents of the rhetorical visions
associated with the 10 P.M. news programs on Channel 4
and Channel 7 as held by a sample audience?
The comparative analyses and fantasy theme interpretations
discussed earlier compose distinct rhetorical visions about each
program under study. Those rhetorical visions differ in terms of
the primary and secondary statements which compose factors 1
and 2, and the unique statements which appear in each channel's
factor structure.
The essence of the rhetorical vision associated with Channel
4 news describes this program primarily as being very
professional, worthy of loyalty, personable, admirable and
interesting. Secondarily, it describes this program as being
substantial, modest looking, and appealing to a broad sector of the
local community. The rhetorical vision associated with Channel 7
news describes this program primarily as good looking, very
professional, and presented by attractive news personalities.
Secondarily, it describes this program as interesting and having
personable newscasters. These rhetorical visions suggest that for
an average Channel 4 news watcher, the rapport this program
successfully establishes with its viewers stands as a primary and
strong perceptual outcome of this experience. This rapport
translates into feelings of admiration and personal identification
with this program. Secondarily, an average Channel 4 watcher
perceives the substance of the news this program broadcasts. For
an average Channel 7 watcher, the perception of a professional
image stands as the primary outcome of this experience.
Secondarily, an average Channel 7 watcher perceives the
personability of this programs anchors. There is a significant
difference in the nature of these rhetorical visions. Channel 4's


rhetorical vision is involved and is generally character/substance
based. Channel 7's rhetorical vision is descriptive and is generally
cosmetics/personality based. Having established this difference,
this study addresses the second question:
2. Is there a relationship between the ratings of these two
local news programs and the rhetorical visions associated
with each of them as held by a sample audience?
In order to establish a relationship between news ratings
and the quality of the rhetorical visions associated with each
program under study, it is essential to relate the findings
generated by this study to research in this area. The "I"
statements categories which defined a significant part of factors 1
and 2 for Channel 4 and Channel 7, reflect expressions of para-
social interactions between the audience and both news programs.
Statements such as the news program I watched appeals to people
like me. and I identify with the personalities on the news program
I watched, were associated exclusively with Channel 4 and
provide good examples on the manifestation of para-social
interactions with this program. Those expressions reflect a state
of active involvement on the part of that audience; a purposeful
activity which could easily translate into channel loyalty. Those
interactions do not reflect a state of compensation for loneliness as
suggested by Levy (1979), but support Rubin and Perse's (1987)
conclusion that para-social interactions are purposeful and
express desires for personal identification with television
newscasters, in this case with the news program as a whole. It is
plausible to suggest that the popularity of Channel 4 news can be
linked in part to the quality of para-social interactions audience
members engage in while watching this program.
Factor 2 shows that Channel 4 news was described as
broadcasting real issues in Colorado, as letting the audience
understand the significance of the news and that it broadcasts
many feature stories. In comparison, Channel 7s descriptions
were limited to the feature stories this program broadcasts. This
68


outcome supports Wulfemeyer's (1983) conclusion that the
quality of the news a program broadcasts is related to its market
performance. It is, therefore, plausible to link the popularity of
Channel 4 news to the perceived quality in the news this program
broadcasts and the way it presents the news.
The market performance of Channel 7's news program has
been static for a relatively long period of time. The market
ratings for the three network affiliates in Denver also show only
minor changes over time, even though the national ratings for the
three networks change constantly. This rating stability suggests
that the popularity of the affiliate news programs in Denver is a
direct reflection of their local perception. This reality is in line
with Prisuta's (1979) oligopolistic theory which suggests that little
differentiation takes place in local television markets over time.
This reality also suggests that channel loyalty is one reason for its
manifestation, which could explain the difference in popularity
between Channel 4 and channel 7 news; with Channel 4 being
successful in recruiting a growing loyal audience. This is in line
with Wakshlag et al.'s (1983) conclusion that channel loyalty is
stronger than network loyalty, and Webster and Newton's (1988)
findings that local news programs are the providers of ratings for
network program ratings in local markets.
In regards to audience perception of newscasters, items
related to newscasters appearance showed up in larger numbers,
and loaded higher with Channel 7's personalities category, while
items related to newscasters' character and style of presentation
were primary with Channel 4 news. The comparative descriptions
of the newscasters on Channel 4 and Channel 7 support three of
Lynch and Sassenrath's (1965-66) four categories of favorable
characteristics of newscasters; presentation, appearance, and
humanism. While Channel 7's descriptions were heavily focused
on appearance, Channel 4's descriptions were more encompassing
of the array of characteristics associated with ideal newscasters.
The descriptions of Channel 4's personalities in factor 1 support
69


some of Cathcart's (1969-70) traits of the most desirable
characteristics of newscasters; particularly in regards to
trustworthiness, and informativeness. However, the difference in
the findings presented by this study suggests that character
personability is of more importance. Those descriptions also
support one of McCroskey and Jensen's (1975) four factors for
best newscasters; "character-sociability" which is descriptive of
the Channel 4 news program. The comparative descriptions also
support Shosteck's (1973-74) conclusion that newscaster appeal
requires more than being good, a newscaster has to be either good
looking or brilliant. In the context of this study, Shosteck's
statement suggests that program appeal requires more than
professional appearance, it requires character.
Finally, this study suggests that the success of a news
program in letting the audience perceive the personability of its
anchors, and further identify with those personalities and the
program as a whole can be positively linked to market success.
Conclusion
This study concludes that the employment of symbolic
convergence theory to explain market performance for news
programs is a viable research approach. The study represents an
initial step toward a developing research methodology which
would look at television news ratings as a direct reflection of
audience perception of the identity of news programs. The
findings of this study suggest that market success for a local news
program depends on the ability of this program to project a
rhetorical vision which revolves around positive and admirable
character traits such as sociability, competence, and locality.
On the basis of these findings, this study suggests that
program cosmetics and professional appearance cannot alone
translate into market success. Analysis has shown that in the


absence of a strong program character, program appearance rises
as the primary criterion of audience perception; as is the case with
Channel 7 news. Analysis also suggests that the rhetorical vision
associated with Channel 7 news, though positively stated, reflects
a negative commentary on this program's inability to connect with
the local audience, which accounts for this programs poor market
performance.
Limitations
Clearly, a larger sample of subjects would have helped yield
more precise and reliable results. The subjects' representation of
the Denver community is also a limitation. A varied more
stratified sample would have contributed to a more
comprehensive assessment of audience perceptions of news
programs in the Denver market. The replication of at least three
focus group interviews would have helped sharpen the variables
associated with audience perception of news programs, and in
turn the precision and comprehensiveness of the Q-sort deck.
Further Research
This study demonstrates that the difference in popularity for
two news programs can be linked to a difference in audience
perception of these programs. But questions relating to how these
perceptions come about, why it is hard to change them need to be
addressed in order to establish a comprehensive understanding of
this perceptual relationship between news programs and local
audiences.
On the basis of the findings generated by this study the
following concerns need to be addressed. Program identity is an
important element of market performance for every news


program and seems to be a primary element of difference
between the 10 P.M. news programs on Channel 4 and Channel 7.
What constitutes program identity and what contributes to its
creation? It is noted that in local markets many anchors shift
their station affiliation. In Denver, a number of anchors who are
now with channel 7 were once part of the channel 4 team. What
then causes audiences to change perceptions about a channel or a
news program? On what level does this perceptual change occur
and which area of change is most crucial to this process? Those
questions can be addressed from an organizational/management
approach which takes into account the promotions, hiring,
marketing, and budgeting policies a station adopts, and how they
affect audience perception of the news product. Another
approach is the program output, or the televised image, as the
synthesized outcome of all those policies. In this case the
importance of all the visual, aural, textual, presentational
elements would be tested to establish their contribution in
creating a program identity.
Finally, the understanding of audience perception of
television news program is a complex multivariate process. But it
is important to begin to understand the perceptual dynamics
which account for the relationship between news output and
audience perception. This understanding will help all involved to
draw increased benefits from the function of television in every
social setting.


APPENDIX
The following statements constitute the content of the Q-sort
deck
Number Category Statement
0 1 Program appeal The set of the news program I watched is poor in its design.
02 Program appeal The jingle of the news program I watched is musically distinctive.
03 Program substance The news program I watched is performed with few mistakes.
04 Program substance The program prior or after the 10 P.M. news does not affect my choice of a news program.
05 Program appeal The concept, design, and colors of the set a news program incorporates dictate its success.
06 Program appeal The set of the news program I watched reflects a successful image.
07 Personalities The personalities on the news program I watched are friendly.
08 "I" statement I identify with the personalities on the news program I watched.
09 Personalities The anchors on the news program I watched are physically attractive.
1 0 Personalities The personalities on the news program I watched represent the Denver community.
1 1 "I" statement I relate to the anchors on the news program I watched as friends.


Number Category
Statement
1 2
1 3
1 4
1 5
1 6
1 7
1 8
1 9
20
2 1
22
23
2 4
25
Personalities
Personalities
Personalities
Personalities
Personalities
Personalities
Personalities
Personalities
Personalities
Program appeal
Personalities
Personalities
Program appeal
Personalities
The sports anchor on the news
program I watched explains sports
events in an appealing way.
The sports anchor on the news
program I watched acts like a cold
and distant professional.
The sports anchor on the news
program I watched would get
dirty on the field with the players.
The weatherman on the program I
watched is not serious about his
work.
The weatherman on the news
program I watched is composed,
informative and professional.
The main male anchor on the
news program I watched brings a
warm fatherly feeling to the
program.
The anchors on the news program
I watched reflect a young and
experimental image.
Hearing a story from the news
anchors on the program I watched
dissipates my doubts about it.
The anchors on the news program
I watched look and act like next
door people.
The news program I watched is an
example of professionalism.
Clothing is a qualifying factor to a
good news anchor.
The team on the news program I
watched looks very professional.
It matters that the news program
I watch be very professional.
A professional news team must be
serious and not overly playful.
7 4


umber Category Statement
26 Program appeal A news program looks professional when female anchors dress in business suits and male anchors in dark suits.
27 Program appeal The news program I watched has a negative reputation in Denver.
28 "I" statement I dislike the fact that the news program I watched lacks a consistent team of anchors.
29 "I" statement I am interested in the news program I watched.
30 Program appeal The news program I watched appeals to minority, transient, and lower income groups in Colorado.
3 1 Program appeal The news program I watched gave me the feeling that I was watching a soap opera.
32 Program appeal The news program I watched portrays a conservative image.
33 program appeal The news program I watched tends to make emotional statements about news stories.
34 "I" statement I watch local news, in part, because I want to see good looking people.
35 Program appeal The news program I watched gave me the feeling that Denver and the world are dangerous places.
36 Program appeal Watching my assigned news program gave me a pleasant feeling about Denver and the world.
37 Personalities The anchors on the news program
I watched seem like active
members in the community; they
care.
7 5


Number
Statement
Category
38 Personalities Professional news persons minimize jokes and flattering remarks during broadcasts.
39 Personalities One way to define professionalism in a news program is to let its anchors be attractive and well dressed.
40 Program substance A good local news program gives its viewers more community news.
4 1 Personalities A good team consists of anchors who chat spontaneously and bring themselves closer to people.
42 Program substance A good local news program lets the audience feel better about their state.
43 "I" statement The news program I watched appeals to people like me.
44 Program appeal The news program I watched seems cold, self-conscious, and controlled.
45 Program appeal The news program I watched seems warm, spontaneous, and occasionally unpolished.
46 Personalities The personalities on the news program I watched seem to work hard to do a good job.
47 Personalities The anchors on the news program I watched make the delivery of the news look so easy.
48 Program appeal The news program I watched seems to appeal to an affluent segment of this community.
49 Personalities The anchors on the news program
I watched are the successful type
of people.
7 6


umber Catesorv Statement
50 Personalities The reporters on the news program I watched are out to get criminals, they are good watchdogs.
5 1 Program appeal The news program I watched fails to keep interest.
52 Program appeal The news program I watched is pretentious and superficial.
53 Program appeal The news program I watched is fun.
54 "I" statement I like it when the news anchors thank me for watching them.
55 Program appeal The news program I watched seems to be overly concerned about loosing the audience during the broadcast.
56 Program appeal The news program I watched represents a wealthy organization.
57 "I" statement The news program I watched lets me understand the significance of the news.
58 "I" statement If I am asked about the best local news program in Denver, the one I watched would be my choice.
59 Program appeal The news program I watched is a family oriented program.
60 Program substance The news program I watched often engages in sensational reporting.
6 1 Program substance Feature stories are what make news programs better.
62 Program substance The news program I watched broadcasts many feature stories; something special about this channel.
63 "I" statement When I want to know the news I
tune to the news program I
watched.
77


Number Catecorv Statement
64 "I" statement When I want investigative news, I tune to the news program I watched.
65 Program substance The news program I watched provides more news about international affairs and world issues.
66 Program substance The news program I watched reports the real issues in Colorado; crime and unemployment.
67 "I" statement The news program I watched tells me all I need to know.
68 "I" statement Whenever special events occur, I can count on the news program I watched to cover them.
69 Program substance The news program I watched presents the news logically and consistently.
70 Program substance The news program I watched gives local cultural affairs a prime significance.
7 1 Program substance The news program I watched predicts and explains the weather very well.
72 Program substance With the news program I watched, I always count on a charming uplifting story at the end.
73 Program substance The news program I watched is filled with commercials.
74 Program appeal The composition of a news team tells about the local community it addresses.
75 Personalities The team on the news program I watched reflects the image of Colorado.
76 Personalities Members of a news team should be friendly with one another.
78


Number
Category
Statement
77 Program substance The news program I watched covers most of the news with good photography; a qualifying factor.
78 Program substance The quality of photography on the news program I watched is very high. The news videos reflect talent.
79 Program substance The anchors on the news program I watched seem close, as if the camera reveals more of them.
80 Program substance The anchors on the news program I watched seem distant; as if they are standing far apart in a disjointed room.
8 1 Program substance The graphics on the news program I watched are high in quality.
82 Personalities The anchors on the news program I watched are enthusiastic; something I appreciate.
83 "1" statement As a television viewer, local news is an important program of my day.
84 "I" statement It is not the news that matters,
but choosing a news program from
all available choices is like
choosing a friend.
7 9


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