Yettick Empirical Educational Research and News Media Coverage

Yettick, H. (2015). One small droplet: News media coverage of peer-reviewed and university-based education research and academic expertise. Educational Researcher, 44(3), 173-184. DOI: 10.3102/0013189X15574903


Summary: This mixed-methods study drew upon gate-keeping theory and used content from news media coverage, journalists, and bloggers to examine how educational research was used in or influenced that coverage. The study found that peer-reviewed academic journals are not influential in the news media coverage of educational events. Reasons for this lack of impact stem from journals discomfort with finding, reading, and interpreting educational research, cost to get access to these articles, time constraints, academic journals do not aggressively promote their research unlike other fields, and misalignment between findings of empirical studies and personal theories. They also cite the university’s priority on publishing in peer-reviewed journals for tenure and promotion as another obstacle.

Research Questions:

  • What is the prevalence of peer-reviewed research and academic research and expertise in U.S. print news media coverage of education?
  • How do the journalistic decision-making processes help us understand the prevalence of academic and peer-reviewed research and expertise in news media coverage of education?


Important Quotes:

* “If university researchers wish to reach the public via the news media, they need to figure out how to demonstrate that their work is relevant to specific localities. They need to embrace simplicity and clarity by writing lucid, concise news releases about their work” (p. 182).