Peterson, Jason Ashley
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Using symbol systems theory and McQuail’s concept of news learning, this thesis looks at the media of print newspaper and television and examines which form of media leads to higher levels of retention within various audiences. Symbol systems theory states that media contain systems of symbolic representation that, when working with a field of reference, allow those exposed to the system to retain or learn the information present. Rather than the messages contained in the media, it is the symbol system that is characteristic of each medium that incites learning. It is hypothesized that, when content is identical, the symbol systems involved with newspapers lead to higher levels of retention in an audience than do those symbol systems involved with a television news program. It is also hypothesized that individuals who are consistent and frequent readers of newspapers illustrate better overall knowledge of current events than those who prefer to get their news from television.