Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Michael Castro

Second Advisor

Dave Dugan

Third Advisor

Carolyn Scott


Research shows that television is regarded by the public as its main source of information about politics, and current events and also entertainment. While most studies show that television has the ability to adequately inform people about entertaining events and personalities, more and more viewers of television news are becoming less knowledgeable about legitimate issues which have a great impact on society . In essence, people who claim that television is their main source of news, know less about a greater number of topics.

Numerous studies, as illustrated in this thesis, also show that the tactics used in syndicated "sleaze" journalism to entice viewers to watch their programs, are currently finding their way into the traditional national and local evening news formats. Topics presenting sex, scandal, gossip and graphic video footage are more likely to lead a newscast, than subjects which directly affect a large portion of the viewing audience. This has media critics worried, because while research shows that television has an awesome power to persuade, it is still a relatively new medium. The impact of the television medium's bottom line dollar versus the FCC's stance of operating in t he public interests has yet to be determined.

This thesis deals with the rising trend of sensationalized tabloid television news within the traditional evening news format. The research presented in this paper will dispel the myth that television news programs are a credible source of information .