Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Price, Granville||Brewer, Donald J. (Professor of journalism)||Greene, Anne (Professor of English)

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Journalism||Department of English


News agencies; Newspaper reading; Radio audiences


The subject of this thesis was prompted by a study, "Readership of the Freeport Journal-Standard, Freeport, Ill., Issue of Apr. 10, 1964," conducted by the Department of Journalism, Northern Illinois University. Findings showed that the majority of radio believers, representing the entire sample of 313, listened to one station, generally WLS, or none, and those who preferred WLS preferred to believe that station and no other. Teenage response showed, that 76.5 per cent of male teens and 75 per cent of female teens were avid followers of WLS with 47.1 per cent of the boys indicating WLS as the most reliable source of news. Because the attitude of the one-station believer is of importance to the printed media, this study was designed to prove or disprove the Freeport Study's paradoxical findings about WLS, and to determine if there are any differences between those who prefer the newspaper over the radio version. A questionnaire, structured to obtain radio and newspaper preference and to isolates listening and reading given to 325 high school seniors. The final sample was made up of the largest preference combination-response, WLS-Chicago Tribune. The sample then was divided into two groups: A, those who preferred to believe the radio and B, those who preferred to believe the newspaper. Vocabulary, comprehension and mental ability of both groups were studied through scores obtained from the Education Testing Service Co-op Reading Test end the Primary Menial Abilities Test. Medians, means, standard deviations and standard errors of the difference were run for these three variables. Other factors compiled were sex difference, class rank, socio-economic background, parents’ education, chief source of news, and time spent listening to radio or reading the newspaper. Comprehension and IQ showed no significant difference between the two groups, but vocabulary, at the 5 per cent level of confidence, was a significant variable. Of the other factors explored, sex difference showed almost twice as many girls as boys preferring WLS's version of the news. There was no difference in class rank between the two groups and no difference in exposure to media. Heavy radio listeners and light readers tended to turn to WLS for news, to believe that station, and to consider it their chief source of news. The newspaper believers had no heavy readers nor listeners, even though 64 per cent indicated their chief source of news was radio, rather than newspaper. Newspaper believers' parents had slightly more education than radio believers' parents but not significantly so. Socio-economic background also made no difference. This study does conclude that teenagers are avid listeners of WLS but do not necessarily depend upon that station for their interpretation of the news, as was indicated in the Freeport study. Also in contrast to the earlier study, these subjects differed in preference according to sex; here more girls than boys turned to radio for news. Since only one variable, vocabulary, indicated a significant enough difference to distinguish between the radio believers and the newspaper believers' groups, further study was recommended into the homes of subjects.


Includes bibliographical references.


iv, 57 pages




Northern Illinois University

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