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Analysis The ability of a joint public affairs team to influence or frame the message conveyed to the public at the start of a military contingency can be examined using a system of content analysis. Essentially, this would entail studying the various news media reports – in both electronic broadcast and print formats – and dividing them into "positive" and "negative" categories. An item classified as positive would include a favorable portrayal of the mission and performance of the American armed forces. A negative report is one that includes an unflattering picture of the military and its operations, or questions the efficiency of the armed services.

Using a pre-test, post-test method, researchers can compare the amount of positive and negative items that appeared in the civilian press during the Persian Gulf War, when there was no joint public affairs team in operation, and the number of positive and negative reports in a future contingency, with the PA team on-site. If the results of the pre-and post-team analysis show a marked increase in the number of positive news – as the authors posit that they will – the difference can be attributed to the presence of the joint PA team. It can then be suggested that a strong showing by an aggressive and efficient group, deploying quickly on the scene, positively affects on the way the message of the contingency and the military’s role in it was framed and disseminated.

This page last updated on July 23, 1998.

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