Report: K-12 education news coverage on the rise

Mainstream media drives conversations so analyzing what is being covered in the news gives a general indication of public perception on issues.

A new report from leading education reform policy strategist Andrew R. Campanella titled “Leading the News – 25 Years of Education Coverage” reveals how news media has presented K-12 education stories over the past quarter century. So what does education news coverage look like?

In short, coverage of K-12 education in the news media is on the rise — up 7.7 percent in 2014 over the average of the 25-year span.

Not surprisingly, local news outlets provide the most education news coverage. In fact, local news outlets commit 6.82 percent of their air time to cover K-12 education or schools. That’s nearly three times higher than the national news coverage average at just 2.3 percent. What’s more is that local education news coverage appears to be on the rise.

From 2010 to 2014, the top education news story topic (by far) was sports, garnering 13.6 percent. At a distant second was special events (5.1 percent), followed by education funding (5 percent) and academic subjects (4.65 percent).

As far as groups of people, students get the most mentions at 62 percent, followed by administrators (42.7 percent), teachers (28.3 percent) and parents (23.5 percent).

Coverage of educational policy is on the decline though — down 36 percent in 2014 over the 25-year average. Within the education policy category, funding and school choice were the most-covered topics. These two topics garnered 2.5 times MORE coverage than all other educational policy reporting combined (10 other specific issues).

Looking ahead, the report forecasts that school choice, school safety and state education standards will continue to rise in news coverage. Teacher issues, funding, federal programs and class sizes will continue to decline.

This is just a snapshot of all the report entails. You can read the rest of it by clicking here. 

I can’t say I’m very surprised that local outlets provide K-12 education the most coverage, but I was surprised to see that funding and federal programs are seeing less air time. I’d be interested to see an update of this report in another 5 years to find out if the trends in K-12 educational coverage continue on the same path.

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