This study sought to determine whether embedding journalists with military units during combat produces different newspaper news reports and, if so, the nature of such differences. In addition, this study investigated whether there are any differences in news stories reported during the initial invasion versus those reported more than a year later during the occupation/resistance, and whether there are differences in the tone or nature of newspaper news reports across major newspapers.

Reporter Status

Hypotheses 1 through 4 addressed differences between embedded and non-embedded news reports. To assess these predictions, a 2x2 MANCOVA was computed for journalist status (embed/non-embed) and timeline (invasion/occupation) on the dependent variables of: overall tone toward military, trust toward individual troops, episodic framing, authoritativeness of news reports, and on the emotions: anger, surprise, puzzlement, sadness, and fear. A covariate, day of coverage, was employed to determine whether these differences were greater over time. The omnibus results indicated significant differences for the covariate of day of coverage, Wilks’ ? F(9,412) = 4.32, p < .01. Subsequent univariate tests revealed significant differences on the dependent variables of overall tone of coverage, F(1,420) = 3.69, p < .05, eta2 = .01; and authoritativeness, F(1,420) = 11.35, p <.001, eta2 = .03.
The omnibus MANCOVA also revealed significant results for the independent variable of journalist status, Wilks’ ? F(9,412) = 10.67, p < .001. Univariate results for dependent variables will be examined below in the context of specific hypotheses.
Hypothesis 1 predicted that embedded newspaper news reports of combat operations are more positive about the military and convey greater trust toward military personnel. Subsequent univariate tests supported Hypothesis 1. The results revealed that, compared to non-embedded reports, embedded newspaper news reports were more positive toward the military, F(1,420) = 16.37, p<.001, eta2 =.04, and conveyed greater trust toward military personnel, F(1,420) = 30.81, p<.001, eta2 = .07. These means are displayed in Table 1.
Hypothesis 2 posited that embedded newspaper news reports of combat operations would contain more episodic framing. The univariate test revealed a significant main effect for reporter status on episodic framing, F(1,366) = 15.51, p<.001, eta2 .04. As Table 1 illustrates, embedded news stories depict more episodic frames, thus supporting Hypothesis 2.
Hypothesis 3 predicted that embedded newspaper stories would contain more emotion compared to non-embedded. No significant differences were found for any of the five emotions: anger, F(1,420) = .01, p= .92; surprise, F(1,420) = .00, p=.95; puzzlement, F(1,420) = .015, p=.70; sadness, F(1,420) = .27, p=.60; fear, F(1,420) = .03, p=.86. Differences in emotion were not significant; therefore Hypothesis 3 was not supported.
Hypothesis 4 predicted that, compared to non-embedded coverage, embedded newspaper news reports manifest greater use of authoritativeness. The univariate test revealed a significant effect for authoritativeness, F(1,420) = 13.72, p<.03, eta2 = .02. As Table 1 shows, embedded newspaper news reports were judged more authoritative than non-embedded reports, thus supporting Hypothesis 4.
There was no significant main effect comparing invasion and occupation phases, nor were there any significant interactions of reporter status and phase of the conflict.