How can professional journalists draw public attention to important news stories? A team of investigators from the University of California and the University of Miami have a word of advice. And the word is ‘Dogs’.
Their findings are published in PS: Political Science & Politics, (Volume 47, Issue 04, October 2014, pp 819-823) under the title ‘What’s a Dog Story Worth?’. Over a twelve year period, the team examined the national news agendas of ten regional newspapers in relation to that of The New York Times.
The study concludes that :
“For comparative purposes, our estimates suggest that a dog story on the last page of the NYT national news report proliferates at 2.2 times the rate a non-dog NYT article on the same page. By comparison, a story that makes the front page of the NYT is also covered by other papers at 2.2 times the rate that a story published on the last page of the NYT national news report. In other words, having a canine subject in a national news event produces coverage of the story that is almost as big as the effect of the difference between being NYT front page worthy and NYT back page worthy.”
The paper can be read in full via professor Matthew D. Atkinson’s website ThePriceOfTea.com