The Structure of News Sources on Television: A Network Analysis of “CBS News,”“Nightline,”“MacNeil/Lehrer,” and “This Week with David Brinkley”

  • Reese S
  • Grant A
  • Danielian L
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Abstract

Behind the “conventional wisdom” of mainstream television news lies a structured pattern of sources: newsmakers, experts, and commentators. This study uses network analysis to examine the interconnections of these sources-defined as joint appearances—within and across programs to produce a cohesive “framework,” Supporting an elite model, a single cohesive “insiders” group, knit together by officials, accounts for most of these sources and spans a number of key national issues. This news framework provides an important conceptual approach to understanding how the boundaries of public affairs discourse are staked out by the choice and positioning of news sources.

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