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Impact of Small Media

November 13, 2017

Small media has an out-sized influence on public discourse.



Media with muscle. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Small market journalists have a big impact, according to Harvard researcher Gary King writing in the journal Science. He worked with forty-eight small media outlets who prepared stories on issues like job growth or immigration. And when just three or four released their stories the same week, there was a big effect.

GARY KING (Harvard University):

We could see people tweeting about that specific article, writing in social media about the general area of the article, and then our ultimate goal was the effect of these articles on the broad national conversation in one of these broad public policy areas.


They saw a 62% increase in discussions on these topics nationally, and a two percent change in public opinion. King says the study highlights the importance of journalistic rigor and integrity in even the smallest markets. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

To hear an extended interview with Dr. King, check out the Science magazine podcast. The segment on his work begins at the 15 min, 25 sec mark.