News: Reaching out for Connectivity
Using a test market is an excellent way to measure the effectiveness of
a media product. Even though it may be expensive, the results of this
type of research can save greater amounts of money that would otherwise
be spent on ineffective marketing. (Quera, 1977). "While controversial,
no other device offers such practicality for gaining realistic information
(Quera, 1977, p.189). We recommend that to pilot test Hometown News that
we use a test market concept, by choosing two cities, one that uses Hometown
News products and one that does not, then testing each city to measure
whether their core objectives are met. Following this pilot test we could
expand the scope of this study.
According to Quera (1977), the cities selected should be relatively isolated
geographically and the population should reflect the racial and demographics
of the nation as a whole. For the Hometown News study, each tested city
should have similar media outlets. The only difference between the cities
should be their use of Hometown News print products. The results of the
study in each city could then be compared. Using a pair of test market
cities from a medium-sized media market and another pair from a small
media market could provide even more useful results. The effectiveness
of television products could not be used in this test market concept because
many of the Hometown News television spots air nationally, thus finding
a city that was not exposed to the product would be virtually impossible.
Method (External Survey)
A total of 250 participants will complete the survey at each site. They
will be chosen through random computer generation to complete the survey.
The participants will be between the ages of 18 and 25; gender, education,
income and ethnic background will be random through the computer generation.
Design and Independent Variables
Media use is the principle independent variable in this study. It will
be measured through three two-part ten point itemed questions assessing
people's exposure to and attention paid to given media outlets: a specific
newspaper, local television news, and local radio news in each of the
cities chosen as previously discussed. For each media outlet, the two-part
questions will ask: "To what extent do you use/rely on <media
outlet> as a source of information about local news", with the
answers ranging from "rarely use" to "frequently use"
over a ten-point spread; and "How much attention do you pay to <media
outlet> as a source of information about local news" with the
answers ranging from "little attention" to "close attention"
over a ten-point spread. The design of these questions has been proven
reliable through studies conducted by Chaffee & Schleuder in 1986
and more recently by Moy and Pfau as well as others in between (Moy &
Pfau, 2000, p. 65).
The study features three dependent variables: whether or not the public
is informed of military missions, their attitude toward the military and
their awareness of military missions. Awareness will be measured using
Likert-type seven-point scales asking questions such as, "To what
extent are you aware of the military's hometown news programs" with
response options ranging from "relatively aware" to "relatively
unaware" (Pfau, 2002). Other awareness questions can be added as
they relate to the military's activities at the time this survey is conducted.
To measure people's attitudes toward and perceptions of the military,
the survey is designed with a general attitude scale using six bipolar
adjective pairs developed by Burgoon, Cohen, Miller and Montgomery in
a 1978 study (Pfau, Park, Holbert, & Cho, 2001, p. 2385). The pairs
include the following: foolish/wise, unfavorable/favorable, wrong/right,
negative/positive, unacceptable/acceptable and bad/good (Moy & Pfau,
2000, 63). A 0-100 likelihood of supporting scale measured the probability
of the receiver supporting the military and its missions (Pfau, 1990,
Upon completion of the surveys, reliability ratings need to be computed
for each of the measures for the three variables. The amount of exposure
and level of attention the participants pay to the media outlets will
have an effect on the attitude toward and awareness of military missions.
To analyze how much information the participants are receiving, the researchers
will need to average each participant's scores for the two-part ten-itemed
questions for each media outlet. There should be one score for each media
outlet for each participant in the area of how informed they are. Once
the media measures are analyzed, researchers will need to analyze the
data on the participants' attitudes and awareness and draw their conclusions
from the data.
Method (Internal Survey)
Methods for administering the interview or internal survey will consist
of immediately providing subjects who conducted interviews (print, radio
or television) for any phase of the Hometown News Program with an easily
completed form to assess effects. Timeliness and ease of completion are
essential not to further burden participants, who may be conducting real-world
operations, and to further champion the cause of improving their morale.
This short survey could be administered, when the operational environment
permits, via a laptop computer. If operational conditions prohibit the
use of a laptop, a simple "hard card" form of the survey could
The survey consists of two Likert Scale questions evaluating two different
but related affects of participating in the program. The two Likert questions
ask about morale after the interview and how proud the interviewer will
be when/if the product airs/runs. Both questions range from greatly increased/very
proud to greatly decreased/much less proud with using 1-7-point measures.
Morale and amount of pride can be analyzed separately summing of each
numerical response and then dividing by the number of participants. To
analyze both together the sum of the numerical value of both questions
would be added, divided by the number of participants, then by two (2
The third question, administrative in nature, will ask if the interviewee
will list popular print, radio and television stations/newspapers that
he and his family watch or read regularly in his/her hometown. Responses
to this question could be analyzed and crossed referenced against existing
databases and media lists for accuracy and possible updates. Information
gathered from this question would require further validation because the
interviewee may have been in the military for several years and the local
market has changed since his departure.