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Scripps grad student research: Bill Schulte

E.W. Scripps School of Journalism PhD student Bill Schulte will present his original research about newspaper graphics in May at an international conference.

Schulte’s paper, “Visual Evolution: A Look at Graphic Elements on the Front Page of Elite Newspapers over 30 Years,” has been accepted for presentation at the 9th International Symposium on Communication in the Millennium at San Diego State University..

Schulte’s paper is a content analysis, informed by the theory of social construction of reality and framing. It examined the ways in which graphic elements were used to frame information over time at several elite newspapers in the United States. The study looked at the years when USA Today’s bold visual style was meeting success (1978-2008).

To track the trend of graphic elements in elite newspapers this study looked at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Chicago Tribune.

The analysis revealed that these newspapers saw value in visual change, however, though these were distinct and dynamic changes, they did not conform to the bold visual style indicative of USA Today during these years. The elite newspapers favored index information and logos rather that infographics in the 1980s and middle 1990s and these elements became less prominent over time.

This suggested that graphics are not a strong operational norm and are not seen as a consistent tool for newsrooms to frame reality.

posted in: Bill Schulte Scripps PhD research graphics newspapers
February 25, 2011

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