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- The New York Times has shrunk in size by half, while the number of news articles referencing research universities has remained constant. Thus, as a percentage of all stories in the paper, higher education has increased nearly linearly, to 13% of all articles and 21% of all front page articles today.
Total news volume dedicated to Research Extensive institutions increased from 6,000 to 8,000 news articles per year through 1990, declining to 1940 levels in recent years. The elevated news volumes in 1950-1951, 1956-1957, 1962-1963, 1966-1967, and 1970 are caused by errors in the Proquest "document type" metadata during those years which incorrectly labels wedding announcements, obituaries, and several other content types as news articles. Keyword searches were used to correct the labeling for as many entries as possible, but some elevated volume remains.
Figure 2 shows the total volume of front page coverage mentioning a research extensive institution. There appear to be three major phases: a linear increase from 1945-1970, a sharp decline through 1978, and a second linear increase through 1999. Front page references of research universities fell by nearly 40% in 2000, to levels not seen since 1983.
During this period, the total size of the New York Times has shrunk by nearly half in an almost linear decline. (The dip in 1978 is due to an 88-day machinists union strike that caused the New York Times to cease publication from August to November of that year.) (NBC, 1978) Given that references to research universities increased slightly despite such a dramatic decrease in the paper's total news volume suggests that the relationship of research universities with the Times' news coverage is heavily ingrained in the paper's approach to newsreporting. By 2005, nearly 13% of all news content in the New York Times mentioned the name of an American research university, while almost 21% of front page articles did.
Figure 1 - Total number of news articles per year in New York Times mentioning a research university
Figure 2 - Total number of front page articles per year in New York Times mentioning a research university
Figure 3 - Total number of articles per year in New York Times
Figure 4 - Percent all news articles per year in New York Times mentioning a research university
Figure 5 - Percent all front page articles per year in New York Times mentioning a research university
- New York City Newspaper Strike Ends. (1978, November 6). NBC Evening News. Accessed via Vanderbilt Television News Archive.