The News Media's Picture of Children: A Five-Year Update and A Focus on Diversity, 1999

Jul 01, 1999

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Today, about 40% of American households are raising children. Much of America depends on the news media to shape their perception about the conditions of children. How we as a nation perceive children and how we devise policies and laws that affect them depends largely on how the news media covers children’s issues.

Our children come in all shapes and sizes, many colors, and live in a wide range of conditions, from secure and sustained to homeless and hungry. How well does the news media do their job of covering children and children’s issues? How do the media’s words and pictures make the public aware of the conditions of all children and the solutions that can improve their lives?

The News Media’s Picture of Children: A Five-Year Update revisits the first major study of the national news media’s coverage of children and child-related topics which was completed by Children Now in 1994. Given the nation’s increasing ethnic and racial diversity, Children Now also commissioned Part II of this study entitled, A Focus on Diversity. Both studies examined the quantity and quality of TV and print stories whose primary focus was children in a selected representation of national media. For more details, please see Methodology.

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