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Balance in Campaign Coverage
Unformatted Document Text:  Coverage Balance 13 campaign coverage measured the respondents’ relative involvement in Bush campaign reporting, which was determined on a three-point scale: 1) covered mostly Gore; 2) covered Bush, Gore or third party candidates as needed; 3) covered mostly Bush. The variable of frequency of Gore campaign coverage was not adopted for the analysis because it was highly correlated with the variable of frequency of Bush coverage (r = -.73, p<.01). Respondents were asked to distinguish the presidential campaign from the gubernatorial or congressional campaigns. The survey also asked the name of the state where respondents worked most during the campaign; this was useful in distinguishing Washington-based reporters from others. 41 Finally, an OLS multiple regression was conducted to evaluate independent variables’ prediction of the variance of the dependent variable, controlling for the other independent variables. 42 The dependent variable was journalists’ perceptions of the level of overall media favorability for Bush. The independent variables were: 1) demographics, 2) working conditions, and 3) respondents’ perceptions of the level of media favorability on the four particular campaign issues. The direction of causality among reporters’ perception variables is justifiable because a respondent’s perception of coverage of a specific campaign issue is likely to affect her or his evaluations of the overall media coverage rather than vice versa. The backward cause- effect inference is less likely because the notion of overall media coverage is far greater than a summation of coverage of certain issues. All the correlation values among the independent variables were moderately low. Missing data accounted for one percent of all data collected. Missing data were not replaced with other scores. In-depth Interview. The interviews were set up in two steps. First, the author made random telephone calls to the originally sampled journalists in the survey and asked about their willingness to be interviewed. Second, for those who volunteered, an appointment was scheduled

Authors: Son, Young Jun. and Weaver, David.
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Coverage Balance 13
campaign coverage measured the respondents’ relative involvement in Bush campaign reporting,
which was determined on a three-point scale: 1) covered mostly Gore; 2) covered Bush, Gore or
third party candidates as needed; 3) covered mostly Bush. The variable of frequency of Gore
campaign coverage was not adopted for the analysis because it was highly correlated with the
variable of frequency of Bush coverage (r = -.73, p<.01). Respondents were asked to distinguish
the presidential campaign from the gubernatorial or congressional campaigns. The survey also
asked the name of the state where respondents worked most during the campaign; this was useful
in distinguishing Washington-based reporters from others.
41
Finally, an OLS multiple regression was conducted to evaluate independent variables’
prediction of the variance of the dependent variable, controlling for the other independent
variables.
42
The dependent variable was journalists’ perceptions of the level of overall media
favorability for Bush. The independent variables were: 1) demographics, 2) working conditions,
and 3) respondents’ perceptions of the level of media favorability on the four particular
campaign issues. The direction of causality among reporters’ perception variables is justifiable
because a respondent’s perception of coverage of a specific campaign issue is likely to affect her
or his evaluations of the overall media coverage rather than vice versa. The backward cause-
effect inference is less likely because the notion of overall media coverage is far greater than a
summation of coverage of certain issues. All the correlation values among the independent
variables were moderately low. Missing data accounted for one percent of all data collected.
Missing data were not replaced with other scores.
In-depth Interview. The interviews were set up in two steps. First, the author made
random telephone calls to the originally sampled journalists in the survey and asked about their
willingness to be interviewed. Second, for those who volunteered, an appointment was scheduled


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