Cynthia-Lou Coleman

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication



Physical Description

1 online resource (119 p.)


Television broadcasting of news -- Oregon -- Portland, Television -- Production and direction -- Oregon -- Portland




This study examines the infotainment versus social responsibility debate as it applies to local television newscasts in the United States. An overview of the concerns surrounding infotainment as news follows, including a look at a newsroom's traditional responsibilities to its viewers, as well as its current role in adding to parent company profit. Socially responsible hard news and infotainment characteristics are defined as they apply to television news broadcasts, both within the context of news story content and in presentation style.

A descriptive content analysis examines these characteristics within the late night local newscasts airing in Portland, Oregon. Portland is a large broadcast news market with over one million potential local news viewers. It is also a community with an exceptionally high rate of civic engagement (Abbott, 2001; Putnam & Feldstein, 2003). Its media coverage of the city, however, has been the subject of criticism by local columnists and national journalism scholars. A socially responsible news product would provide the city's residents with the information needed to continue the trend of participation, community betterment, and overall citizenship knowledge.


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