An Historical Study of Newspapers and Public Opinion About Education
The aim of this thesis was to survey educational trends as reported in five daily newspapers from 1901 to 1905 and from 1978 to 1982. As a basis for evaluating those trends, writings from historians in the earlier period were used, while academic writings from Delta journals were used in the latter period. The role of the newspaper in reporting issues differs in two inter-related ways from academic and historic writings. First, newspapers must "serve" the public so as to achieve their second function, viability. This is achieved by a process of "gate keeping" whereby articles are selected for publishing suitability. A significant mismatch was found in the earlier period between issues identified by historians and those reported in the newspapers. In that period, the public and newspapers alike were too pre-occupied with "balancing the traditional principle against the geographical principle", which was further reinforced by local jealousies, to notice the important changes that were taking place. In the latter period, the issues were generally found to be shared by academic writings and newspaper articles alike. However, as with the earlier period, good investigative reporting on serious philosophical and ethical issues was omitted. In neither period of time did the public appear to be seriously interested in educational trends.