Author Archives: kujourcivics

Former journalism students vote more frequently

Nationally representative data show that former student journalists vote more frequently in their late teens and early 20s than their peers with no journalism experience. The study, conducted by Peter Bobkowski and Patrick Miller of the University of Kansas, also suggests that the civic boost from journalism is especially pronounced for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

This is the first study to document a unique contribution of journalism education to adult civic engagement. Several prior studies showed that there is a relationship between participation in school activities, including journalism, and greater civic participation in adulthood. But those studies bundled journalism’s contribution with other activities. This study, in contrast, statistically controls for the contribution of other activities (and a series of other potential factors), to isolate a distinct relationship between journalism and voting.

This study also shows that journalism is related to voting to a similar degree that taking debate and participating in student government are related to voting. The data used in the study come from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, a nationally representative survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.

Forging Lifetime Citizenship: Statistics

graph1-futureeng-WEBThere were statistically significant differences in students’ future civic engagement between students who scored as follows on current civic-media efficacy:

– 3 and all values equal to and over 3.75
– 3.25 and all values equal to and over 3.75
– 3.5 and all values equal to and over 3.75
– 3.75 and 4.25, 4.75, and 5
– 4 and 4.25, 4.75, and 5
– 4.5 and 4.75, and 5

Efficacy Rises with Journalism Experience: Statistics

Journalism Experience Graph

There is a statistically significant difference in media-civic efficacy between first-year journalism students and students who take journalism for two or more years.

There is a statistically significant difference in media civic efficacy between journalism students who contribute to a news publication and those who do not contribute to a news publication.

Lighter Teacher Control: Statistics

Teacher Control Graph

There are statistically significant differences in media-civic efficacy between students whose teachers scored as follows on the teacher control questions:

– 1.25 and 1.75
– 1.5 and 1.75
– 1.25 and 2
– 1.5 and 2
– 1.25 and 2.25
– 1.5 and 2.25
– 1.25 and 2.5
– 1.5 and 2.5
– 1.25 and 2.75
– 1.5 and 2.75

Positive School Climates: Statistics

School Climates GraphThere was a statistically significant difference in media-civic efficacy between students in schools that scored below average on school climate and students in schools that scored above average on school climate.

Student survey

If you would like your students to take the civic-media efficacy survey, you can:

  • Direct them to take it using this link.
  • If you would like to paste the full link, it is: https://journalismku.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_2fyIWmJrcLr2xYp

To request the results of your students’ surveys, please email Peter Bobkowski (bobkowski@ku.edu). The survey asks each respondent for his/her name and school; we will use this information to batch your students’ responses and send them to you.

Positive School Climates Foster Civic Journalism

A positive climate means that teachers and students respect and listen to one another, that teachers set a high standard for their students, and that students feel supported by their teachers. Ten survey questions asked about these school qualities.

On average, students agreed slightly (4.4 on a 6-point scale) that their schools fostered positive climates. Journalists in schools with above-average climates expressed greater conviction in using the media for civic change, compared to journalists in schools with below-average climates.

See info on statistical differences here.

Support of First Amendment Empowers Students

Students rated their support for the freedom of expression with five questions about First Amendment rights: the rights to voice unpopular opinions, use offensive lyrics, deface the flag, criticize the government, and publish controversial content. They also indicated if they think First Amendment rights go too far.

Most students endorsed at least four of the five rights and disagreed that the First Amendment goes too far.

Student journalists who supported a greater number of free expression rights also were more likely than those who supported fewer rights to feel that they can use their student media for civic change.

See info on statistical differences here.

 

Lighter Teacher Control Yields Greater Student Confidence

Students are more confident in their own ability to use the media as a tool of civic change when their journalism teachers exercise less direct control over their news publications and websites.

To estimate the level of control, teachers reported how frequently they worried about their students publishing controversial content, discouraged their students from covering controversial topics, re-wrote articles their students had written, or prohibited their students from publishing an article.

On average, teachers indicated that they exerted little control over their students’ work. Teachers’ responses overall clustered between “never” (1) and “rarely” (2). Still, teachers who scored higher on control taught students who were less likely to use the media for civic change than teachers who scored lower.

See info on statistical differences here.