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Extra-Media Data

Wolfgang Donsbach


The term “extra-media data” describes a methodological approach to assessing the quality of media content. The phrase was coined in the early 1970s by Swedish scholar Karl Erik Rosengren (1970) during a controversy about the criteria needed to assess bias in the news. Scandinavian researchers Galtung and Ruge (1965) had criticized the coverage of foreign countries in the Norwegian press for highlighting certain news factors and thus creating a distorted picture of these countries. The researchers’ conclusion was based exclusively on the occurrence of news factors like personalization and negativism (→  News Values ). Rosengren instead suggested that researchers should evaluate the performance of news media by comparing their coverage to external, primarily statistical indicators. In his own study Rosengren investigated how newspapers in three different countries covered parliamentary elections in countries around the world. He then related the coverage to information about the countries and about the respective elections as listed in contemporary archives. By doing this, he was able to compare media coverage of the events with their “objective” news value according to, e.g., country size, GNP, or whether an election brought about a new majority. In communication research today we can find at least three different approaches to assessing the quality of media content by sources ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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