Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kevin Welner

Second Advisor

Derek Briggs

Third Advisor

Ken Howe

Fourth Advisor

Janette Klingner

Fifth Advisor

Janice Peck


This doctoral dissertation uses content analysis and logistic regression to examine the educational research and researchers mentioned in American news media outlets. Additionally, it explores how 33 journalists who write for these outlets select educational research and experts to mention. The theoretical lenses for this study are Lewin’s field theory and Shoemaker & Vos’s multi-level model for mass media gate keeping. The study found that journalistic norms generally determine which research and expertise gets mentioned in different types of news media outlets. Additionally, peer-reviewed research is virtually non-existent in news media education coverage partially because many education reporters do not know what it is. The significance of these conclusions is that policymakers, parents, practioners and others who get their information from the news media are making important decisions about education based on research and expertise that is too often far from the best available evidence.