Evaluation of a Public Awareness Campaign to Prevent High School Dropout.
Many advocacy organizations devote time and resources to increasing community awareness and educating the public in an effort to gain support for their issue. One such effort, the Dropout Prevention Campaign by America's Promise Alliance, aimed to increase the visibility of the high school dropout problem and mobilize the community to take action. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the framing of the Dropout Prevention Campaign in television news media. To evaluate this campaign, television news coverage about high school dropout in 12 U.S. communities (N = 982) was examined. A content analysis of news transcripts was conducted and coded to determine the definition of the problem, the reasons for dropout and the possible solutions. Findings indicated that the high school dropout problem was most often framed (30 % of news segments) in terms of the economic and societal implications for the community. Individual student factors as well as broader societal influences were frequently discussed as possible reasons for dropout. The most commonly mentioned solutions were school-based interventions. News segments that mentioned America's Promise Alliance were more likely to frame the issue as a crisis and to use statistics to illustrate that point. Solutions that were more likely to appear in America's Promise segments promoted community and cross-sector involvement, consistent with the messages promoted by the Dropout Prevention Campaign. The findings suggest that a media content analysis can be an effective framework for analyzing a prevention campaign.
Babinski, LM; Corra, AJ; Gifford, EJ
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