Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Journalism and Mass Communications


The demand for information about schools is increasing dramatically. War and cancer are the only subjects that claim greater public interest today," according to Leslie J. Stiles, professor of inter-disciplinary studies at Northwestern University. This opinion is shared by others in the field of educational public information, some of whom question the topical-coverage allocation and the display given to educational news by the press and by school officials The contrast between what parents want to know about schools and what is disseminated to them about schools has been described by researchers for nearly forty years. Yet, Stiles says, little progress is evident to show that persons responsible for school information and news have heeded the findings and recommendations of these studies. Virtually all of this research has dealt with the metropolitan daily newspaper and the larger population center, two units not typical of South Dakota. This state has 12 daily newspapers, but only one has a circulation which exceed 50,000. Furthermore six of the dailies have circulations of less than 8,000, and the average circulation of these six is slightly more than 3,500. Only seven per cent of the public-school superintendents of South Dakota work in schools situated in a community having a daily newspaper. Although a total of 18,535 students attend the public high schools of these 12 communities, a total of 31,624 students attend the public high schools in the South Dakota communities which have only weekly newspapers. Thus, those interested in school-to -home communications in South Dakota may well wonder if existing research reports have meaning in rural areas, and also may wonder what the pattern is for school-to-home communication in South Dakota. One might logically ask these questions: (1) Are the findings of studies in other areas applicable to South Dakota small to1tms? (2) Is the weekly newspaper in the small South Dakota community a potentially effective medium for school-to-home communications? (3) How are school-to-home communication patterns in South Dakota regarded by parents, weekly newspaper editors, school superintendents, and school newspaper advisers? (4) What is the nature of the demand for information; how does what is furnished compare with what is desired?

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Home and school -- South Dakota
Public relations -- South Dakota -- Schools



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University