Does specialization matter? How journalistic expertise explains differences in health-care coverage

Michael W. Wagner     School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA


Does journalists' level of specialization affect whether they view a topic as newsworthy? Does specialization affect the kind of story (hard news vs feature) journalists believe a topic merits? This chapter articulates a theory of journalism practice predicting that reporters who specialize in health-care journalism will evaluate potential health-care stories in fundamentally different ways than general assignment reporters. Analysis of an original web-based survey (N = 733) of journalists, 109 of whom ...

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