The data gathered from the pilot study showed that information was the
largest motivation for why the internal audience watches the global newscasts
(M = 3.17). The second most significant reason respondents watched
was for moral support (M = 2.87), followed by escape (M = 2.20).
There was a significant difference between goal-driven versus ritualized/habitual
viewing behaviors at the .05 level. Producers can use information
like this to better meet their audiences' needs. It is important
for them to know that the internal audience is generally goal-driven to
watch the global newscasts. The audience is motivated to watch for
moral support, escape, and especially for information. As the primary
purpose of the global newscasts is to inform and entertain the audience,
it appears at first glance that they are successful. However, as
the largest number of the respondents rated the newscasts as only fair
(42.4%), it is obvious that what the producer considers important information
may not completely match the audiences' needs, suggesting improvements
Greater differences appear when comparing overseas audiences to stateside audiences. Overseas audiences have greater information (M = 3.30) and moral support (M = 2.92) needs than stateside audiences (M = 3.08 and 2.83 respectively). Stateside viewers perceive a greater escape need (M = 2.33) than overseas audiences (M = 2.00) (Table C). Overseas audiences are slightly more goal-driven (M = 2.82) in their viewing than their stateside counterparts (M = 2.77). Whereas, stateside audiences are more likely to view out of ritual/habit (M = 2.92) than overseas audiences (M = 2.32) (Table D).
These findings support the authors' beliefs concerning differences in circumstances surrounding the internal audience in stateside and overseas locations. Overseas audiences are more isolated and have a greater need for information and moral support from a military newscast, so they are likely to watch the newscast with those goals in mind. Stateside audiences, on the other hand, have a wider variety of media choices and are surrounded by the American culture. Therefore, they are more likely to watch to escape from outside pressures or out of a habit that may have developed during an overseas tour. Producers can use this information to determine if the need exists to create different newscasts for those stationed overseas than for those stationed stateside.
A major limitation of this study is the sample used for the pilot survey. Given the use of the convenience sample and the small sample size, results may not be generalizable to the target audience. However, the authors predict that the pilot-test results intuitively make sense, and that a larger scale should yield similar results.
A major study should include a mix of all services, DoD civilian employees, family members, and military retirees. No foreign national employees at overseas locations or other external audience members should be considered as this survey is designed for the internal audience only. Researchers should attempt to achieve a balance of overseas and stateside respondents, as well as a balance of males and females. Special efforts should be made to include respondents from ships at sea.
The authors recommend that an online survey be designed for the larger study. It is also the authors' recommendation that all three global service newscasts promote the survey during a specific month of shows in which viewers are told the Internet location of the instrument. Viewers should be specifically told that their opinions are needed. Additionally, future researchers should send press releases to Public Affairs Offices at installations around the world for inclusion in the base newspapers during a specific month. By combining both approaches, future researchers should garner a good mix of current and past viewers. Responses from external audience members can easily be deleted by analyzing the demographic information obtained in each survey returned.
The authors posit that this research has a great deal of heuristic value. Once a full-scale test of the survey is conducted and the data analyzed, there are many other follow-on research projects that would be of great value. Future researchers could test why members of the internal audience don't watch global newscasts, or run a separate test to determine viewing motivations of the external audience or family members. Other possibilities would be to test individual factors such as gender, military branch, or last-time viewed to determine if any of them have significance on the uses and gratification gained from the newscasts.